Throughout the last decade it has become painfully apparent that while most CEOs recognize there is a drastic talent optimization problem, they have absolutely no idea how to fix it, nor time to take it on alone. Most CEOs address people and workforce issues like a hot potato — they want it off their plate immediately. This is where the 21st century HR professional steps in.
Today’s budding HR professionals have a whole new set of concerns that set them apart from previous generations. The human resources departments that remain from the 20th century are ill-equipped to manage the scaling concerns of the 21st century enterprise.
In the early days of business and industry, human resources emerged as the answer to increasingly challenging and demanding labor problems. But what fundamentally worked in the pre-Information Age is grossly ineffective for optimizing the workforce of today’s Wisdom Age.
Knowing the business
Today’s human resources teams must grow beyond what HR requires. They must develop themselves and their teams into savvy business professionals who leverage talent, optimize people at work and deliver tangible returns on their ‘people program’ investments.
Whether you are a seasoned professional on the ageing side of a successful career, or a newcomer entering the field, it is imperative that you gain the knowledge to address today’s workforce challenges head-on and strategize winning solutions that reduce or remove these constraints from adversely impacting the business.
By learning these four imperative skills, you position your business to compete in today’s hiring landscape.
1. Develop an executive summary
The first skill you will need to develop is the ability to write an executive summary. You must evaluate the major workforce challenges to your specific business faces and outline your plan to rectify them. If you do not establish a stout plan to address these issues your business almost certainly will face an uncertain future.
How do workforce gaps and frequent turnover impact the customer experience, employee partnership, innovation, and the businesses’ bottom line? As a businessperson specializing in hiring, you need to know how to communicate both written and verbally, in a way that can be heard.
2. Learn the importance of utilizing data
The second skill you need to develop is the ability to resonate with, speak into and listen from data. Big data rules today’s world, and understanding it and how to make it work for you is imperative to your success. Sorting critical data from superfluous data is another key to getting your point across and keeping your audience’s attention.
In order to catch the ear of people who can solve a problem from a strategic and financial point of view, you need to speak to them in a financial and strategic manner. This means you need to be able to read a profit and loss statement. You need to understand the total cost of labor and staffing in your company.
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Most decision makers in business have a strong preference to evaluate propositions through three-to-four salient points grounded in accurate, relevant data. To speak with someone who understands and responds to data, you must elevate your ability to think from data and make recommendations that speak to improve the data.
3. Cultivate confidence
The third skill you need to continue to develop and nurture is your confidence. Standing for stronger people-optimization in the workplace and human systems transformation is a pretty big stake in the ground. If not you, who?
Someone needs to keep people accountable to the commitments around the workforce. Most managers in most organizations fall astray from their talent optimization commitments as soon as the pressure of another commitment overshadows it. Without someone standing for — and in some cases fighting for — doing the right thing and making people and talent a company-wide focus, your competitive advantage initiatives fall out of existence. It takes confidence and stamina to create sustainable change; it takes a continual, unwavering commitment, sometimes in the face of no agreement — and that takes confidence.
4. Find comfort in the questions
The fourth skill you need to improve is your ability to be comfortable in not having all of the answers. Curiosity is a major strength of people who succeed in the new HR world. Having all the answers and knowing how things are going to or not going to turn out is a trait that no longer serves the business professional of the 21st century. In today’s world, curiosity, agility and creativity are how you win.
Fostering a workplace of collaboration and innovation begins with you. You need to be the change you want to see. Facing problems with an eye on understanding the systemic impacts on the business and the people in it opens you up to hear from people you might not otherwise hear from. Inviting ideas and solutions from your team gives you a much wider perspective and develops your balanced decision-making skills, which are a requirement for a 21st century business professional.
While on the surface it might not be obvious, the keen HR professional is the key to the successful evolution of optimizing people at work. Every business, in every industry needs someone in HR focusing on the future of people and talent optimization. From reducing unwanted employee turnover and filling the leadership gap, to hiring better and transferring today’s knowledge to tomorrow’s workers, the right HR pro doing the right things affects every single strategic lever in a company. The effective attraction, engagement, and optimization of high-quality people in any organization, may be as — or more important — than your services or products themselves. Therefore, the right HR pro is just as important as the right coder or right sales rep — choose and develop your 21st century HR team wisely.