What makes great HR Leaders stand apart from the herd?

best HR leaders

In today’s volatile and constantly evolving business ecosystem, retaining top performers and best talents has become mandatory for businesses to survive in the cutthroat market. This is why HR is fast becoming a center stage when it comes to empowering, retaining and managing the most valuable assets i.e. employees for businesses all across the globe. They know employees are not just an asset, but are a resource.

So what does this infer for today’s breed of HR millennials? Unfortunately, HR today is stuck in a paradigm shift. The job of HR has become more challenging than before, since it requires more diligence and efforts to be put in.

Today, HRs are not only required to have a firm grip on conventional human resource expertise, but the game requires one to have an entirely new set of proficiencies and expertise. In fact, now you ought to juggle between traditional as well as new avenues and this may include but is not limited to hiring, compensation, payroll, employee engagement/empowerment, retention, leadership development, communications et al. They require being agile and quick when it comes to embracing change.

Thus, you see that the role of HR professionals today calls for taking up increased and stringent accountabilities along with more focus on strategic moves than toiling on conventional HR practices alone.

The question now is how do you achieve that and become a successful HR leader? Being an HR professional where do you require devoting your efforts and time? What all skill sets, habits and qualities do you require to master to emerge as a great and successful HR leader?

Here is a rundown on few notable traits and habits of stellar HR leaders that would help you become like them in time.

1. They work in tandem with Business Goals

Conventional HR practices are often about the one-size-works-for-all approach backed with standard procedures and processes that the managers ought to abide by. Successful HR leaders on the other hand know that HR operations do not exist in a vacuum and require going beyond the usual.

If employees are the most valuable assets for a company, then it becomes mandatory to align techniques for retention, development and acquisition with the company’s core goals. Moreover, as every business has different objectives thus, it becomes crucial to tailor HR practices to meet those specific business goals.

The best HR leaders know this and thereby, work consistently to ensure that HR strategies stay aligned with core business goals or objectives. Consistent communication with stakeholders and business leaders (CXOs) is the key here. It all boils down to hunting and recruiting the right talents, retaining them and working consistently to create the right culture for the business.

2. Great HR Leaders Embrace Transparency

The life of an HR involves dealing and handling sensitive information on a regular basis thus, discretion becomes a quintessential factor. This is the reason HR personnel need to embrace transparency.

In today’s modern era where millennials make up for the largest chunk of a company’s workforce, transparency has become a staple for many businesses. Therefore, communication ought to be straightforward and honest, because disconnect might lead to disaster and disengagement. In case of disconnect, the company’s culture is at stake here.

Similarly, HR personnel cannot hide information from potential candidates. This is because job rating websites and professional and personal social networks are increasingly turning famous allowing people to expose a company’s internal culture.

This is why great HR leaders embrace transparency when recruiting in order to avoid losing out top talents and candidates due to lack of credibility. For this, they work towards creating a positive work culture that can be shared proudly without any hesitation.

Great HR leaders know the importance of honest communications for a business to maintain its credibility and attract as well as retain the best talents out there.

3. They know that employees are a company’s asset and not just a resource

A great HR leader knows the difference between “human resources” and “human capital”, both these terms signify different ideas.

The term “human resources” denotes that talent is a fixed and finite commodity that can be allocated similar to other resources in a company. Whereas, the term “human capital” on the other hand denotes that talent is a virtue on which one invests and it can be nurtured. In fact, human capital is more inclined towards training and developing individual talents.

True HR professionals understand the significance of development and training. They also ensure to coordinate with higher management to devise and execute talent development programs that help to hone the skills of top talents.

4. They value the importance of engagement and culture

Office culture doesn’t spring up overnight, because it requires diligence, strategy and proper execution. In fact, a company’s culture has direct impact on each of its operation. This includes everything right from internal office etiquettes, habits, mindsets, employee behaviors to problem solving approach, all of these affect a company’s image, product or brand. Great HR leaders are aware of this and thus, toil consistently to ensure that they set the right office culture for the company.

5. They never give up learning

Best HR professionals are best leaders and they never give up when it comes to honing their proficiencies and advancing their expertise. They fully understand the fact that knowledge and wisdom are not fixed attributes thus, they continue learning and acquiring new skills on a regular basis. Most importantly, the do not fret from failing and perceive failures as opportunities to grow. The rapidly evolving business ecosystem and burgeoning competition requires HR personnel to have such a mindset.


Though as an HR professional, you already hold expertise in dealing with people. However, today’s business ecosystem demands more than that. You ought to devise and execute HR strategies that support your company’s business objectives/goals.

Super successful HR leaders know the importance of being growth-minded, transparent, knowledgeable and strategic. This calls for focus and a never-ending desire to learn and grow. Got any other proven habits of successful HR managers? Feel free to share them in the comments.

Author bio:                                                             

Anwar Shaikh is a tech blogger and writes about business solutions such as CRM, ERP and payroll software India. A self-made and reared-up writer, Anwar writes for Pocket HCM, a leading provider of HR management solutions to small and mid-sized businesses all across India. You can find more about them on Facebook and Twitter.

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