It is Time for Rising Talent to Shine
The world continues to go through turbulent times with many businesses looking to regain lost ground post-pandemic. The vast majority have evolved, transformed, and looked disruptively at HR operating models, structures, priorities, and values. HR has never before played such a pivotal role in shaping the future success of the bottom line. Now is the time for aspiring HR leaders to truly shine through.
It has been fascinating to speak with HR professionals across emerging and developed markets over the past 12-18 months. They have told us the common challenges they are facing and how different teams and individuals have reacted. Here are the common themes that you should consider if you’re looking to get ahead in the industry:
A proactive approach to innovation is critical for businesses looking to push the boundaries on what is possible—especially when it comes to visible “hot buttons” such as hybrid working, digital transformation, talent attraction, career development, total rewards, culture building, and nurturing a DE&I ethos. HR leaders who speak to their networks and gain true insights from peers and competitors, taking time to think outside of the box, will come to the fore and shine as transformers of the HR function.
Now is the time to create meaningful people strategies aligned to business growth and development. This means understanding market trends, business needs and revenue lines; being able to streamline processes; and knowing how to avoid bureaucracy and policy-centricity. It also means business leaders must be on-board with any changes HR plans to make, which requires robust stakeholder management skills. We are increasingly seeing that successful HR leaders are those who can harness their strategic business partnering skills to deliver for their internal customers and stakeholders.
As more HR Operations centres are successfully launched or transformed, more time is available for HR Business Partners to embrace business goals, develop innovative strategies and plans, and work as trusted advisors. Excellent change management and communications skills are indispensable in facilitating rapid forward progress.
The alignment of HR strategy with business needs can be enhanced by understanding how HR technologies can drive greater business value. Digitally savvy HR leaders are using technology to enable employees to manage their personal and professional lives efficiently, improving their overall employee experience. HR leaders must be curious about how new technologies work to achieve this. For example, which of your processes are already digitised or automated? What tools and systems are being used? To what extent do they meet the needs of your business? These are all questions today’s HR leaders need to be able to answer.
It is good to show breadth in your background. HR Leaders who have broad experience managing challenging assignments—particularly in roles involving transformational change and managing conflict—will be in good shape from a career-track perspective. Taking on the “tough stuff” is the best way for an HR professional to demonstrate real value to the business!
Ideally, this broad experience should incorporate a wide range of HR disciplines, industries, and geographies. International experience is usually a necessity for anyone aspiring to a top HR role in a global company, especially in businesses where future growth will likely come from emerging markets. Similarly, if your experience is limited to large public companies, you may benefit from experiencing life at a start-up or a fast-growing private equity portfolio company. Roles that “tick more than one box” will inevitably accelerate an individual’s career progress.
Patience is a Virtue
We’re seeing more aspiring HR leaders move frequently in their careers, given the dynamic nature of the market. This can be positive as it facilitates a wider range of experiences. However, those who can demonstrate deeper tenure, see through change and transformation in different organisational situations, or deal with significant changes in leadership, will exhibit resilience, loyalty, and adaptability. These are highly prized in any HR professional, especially in the current climate.
We’re also hearing that the assimilation time into new organisations is becoming more protracted, particularly in hybrid workplaces. It’s important to take time to build the right relationships and a deep understanding of the business and its culture before expecting to influence it. Those who can stay patient with career-building in an increasingly impatient world may see the benefits in the long run.
It is a pivotal time for business generally, but particularly for HR and people agendas. Business leaders are increasingly looking for support from their people strategists amid some major macroeconomic challenges. Consequently, it is a time for rising talent to shine. A healthy mix of curiosity, commercial savviness, and an ability to identify practical technological solutions could be the starting point for some turbo-charged career progression.