An HR leader’s job has changed a lot over the years and is increasingly in demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), human resources managers’ job market is expected to grow and evolve by 7% through 2028, slightly quicker than the national average for other occupations. This fast growth has possibly resulted from the demand for productive and skilled workers by competitive businesses.
An effective HR leader is hallmarked by their ability to implement sound policies that result in a healthy and engaged workplace. As an HR leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that the organization’s workforce operates as smoothly as possible.
In fact, becoming an HR leader is more like becoming an all-rounder in the office.
After all, you would have to adopt strategic thinking, be a good communicator, understand technology to the core, know the numbers, and on top of it all, you have to remain flexible at all times to manage the crisis. Entrusted with retaining a motivated workforce, HR leaders need to address their problems as soon as possible.
However, when companies don’t find the right HR match, they also onboard consultancy firms that are known for providing similar services. The advantages of partnering up with an HR consultancy firm can fill up a long list, including cost-saving, implementation of HR tech, employee benefits management, and goals-oriented resources hiring, and more. But, you can fill up that space for a company by becoming an influential HR leader.
While an HR leader’s specific tasks may vary depending on the company’s size and industry, all HR leaders have common attributes that help them ease decision-making and boost morale throughout the company. Here’s how you can implement three such attributes to step up your performance in a leadership role.
HR leaders need to be proactive, strategic and build up a certain level of respect within the company. An effective HR leader works towards building a good relationship with the company’s employees, department heads, and business connections.
As the connecting force between the senior management and the employees, HR leaders need to hold – and when need be, exercise – their influence to allow for seamless operations. They must use the principle of authority to establish credibility and get people to follow their lead.
Employees usually tend to listen and agree with a person they can trust and interact with on a somewhat daily basis. An HR leader needs to reach that level of familiarity with people in the company to influence their actions. Once you develop a relationship based on mutual trust, you will find more employees willing to listen to what you have to say.
Having conversations with the employees outside of the workplace allows them to express their concerns in a relaxed environment. Frequently interacting with employees and staff would help HR leaders to build trust within the workforce. It would then be easier for them to influence business decisions. Likewise, business leaders would be more willing to take on HR leaders’ recommendations into consideration if they observe that they are actively engaged with the workforce and aware of their issues.
Therefore, a great HR leader needs to pursue good relations to ensure the employees’ trust and support.
To influence the company, HR leaders would have to be capable enough to treat people with respect, be ethically correct, and tend to the employees’ concerns as soon as possible.
Strategically, a good HR leader can make connections through extroverted company members and trust-building exercises. In some cases, hosting casual work events can help build better relationships among the employees.
Apart from good relations, an HR leader needs to be capable enough to hold their ground and tackle any obstacles they may face with implementing organizational policies. A well-researched and thorough understanding of the argument helps the decision-makers realize the various factors involved, further allowing you to build a better workplace environment.
An HR leader needs to develop solutions to workflow gaps and persuade the company leaders to implement them. As a link between the employers and employees, it is also your job to make sure employees carry out their requests well and vice versa. In doing so, it would be beneficial to know how to be persuasive.
To master the skill of persuasion, an HR leader needs to know the following techniques:
- Personal And Relatable: This strategy outlines the inclusivity of the audience and catching attention through personal examples. It will help explain how some ideas might make their lives easier and help the company flourish. Talking about ‘we’ and not ‘you’ helps capture attention and promotes a sense of belonging.
- Data And Evidence: Usually, backing up your research data with facts and reliable results helps the HR leader’s argument. For example, how calming music has proven to increase productivity, etc.
- Visual And Memorable: The idea needs to be presented in a very eye-friendly manner to visually attractive and easy to follow. The presentation’s main idea should be repeated at least twice, especially at the end, to make it stand out and be memorable.
- Body Language: Making sure you are confident makes a big difference. With proper attire, posture, and friendly behavior, you can communicate professionalism and tip the scales in your favor.
- Choice And Scarcity: Reminding the audience that they are free to decide on certain subjects usually increases the chances of saying yes. The‘but you are free’ (BYAF) technique doubles the chances of someone saying ‘yes’ to a request. Additionally, scarcity means offers that can be availed for a limited amount of time. Scarcity is a good argument as you can use it to persuade employees to help themselves to a performance bonus, for example.
Culminating good relations is essential for an HR leader, but so is having the ability to negotiate. An HR leader needs negotiating skills to deal with managers, employees, suppliers and training agencies, etc. Negotiating a good deal should not involve a personal outcome but should only be in the company’s interest.
While negotiating, confidence is vital. HR leaders should radiate confidence and strength in their dealings. This will make the other party deal with the HR leader more seriously and reduce their chances of taking advantage.
Negotiations tend to go well when the opposite party feels informed. Therefore, carefully listening to their demands helps with reaching a middle ground. An HR leader must always remain calm and collected since employees rely on them to solve their problems and queries.
Additionally, planning alternatives and backups is essential and will help HR leaders if the opposite party does not meet the expected demands.
An intelligent HR leader would plan a ‘Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement’ (BATNA). If the initial negotiation does not bear results, an HR leader should be ready to move on to BATNA. BATNA often leans towards mutual gain where both parties would be more susceptible to agreement.
For example, when employees request a pay raise, the HR manager could offer paid vacations instead.
In Huntington National Bank’s case, the sales team was given a paid trip to the World Series as a bonus. This makes the employees feel they are being rewarded and helps save the company payroll costs.
In times of negotiation, the HR leader’s social skills are put to the test. You need to know the nature of human capital within your company as it will help you figure out the overall tone of the people you work with, which will essentially help you communicate better. It can be perceived as a problem-solving process, where the company can achieve no solution without comprehending the situation. It is advisable to explain to the opposing party ‘why’ you are putting forward a proposal and how it will benefit them.