How To Become a Successful HR Professional

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Written by Seun Oyediran

HR Professional

The HR profession is a gratifying one filled with numerous exciting challenges. Being an HR professional in the 21st century requires you to play critical roles at conference tables, make real business decisions, and ensure the company reaches new heights. So, an HR is no longer a mere tactician who seeks solely to maintain a company’s budgets. That said, the opportunities available to people who want to become HR professionals are unlimited. 

Have you always wanted to become a successful HR professional who takes different companies to great heights? If yes, then the thought of it might lead you to ponder what qualities successful HRs possess and how they live. So, if you want to be a successful HR professional, I’ll share with you some practical tips on how to go about it. 

Who is an HR Professional?

Before we proceed into the practical guide to becoming a successful HR professional, let’s first consider what it means to be a professional and delve into some of the must-have skills. More often than not, people opt to become HRs because they are a “people’s person” and enjoy helping others. While this is a strong passion, it is nowhere near an exhaustive list of all you need. 

Today, HR managers serve as a bridge between the corporate leaders and the employees. And they are indispensable when it comes to recruiting employees that will move the company forward. As mentioned earlier, an HR manager is no longer restricted to just the business’s administrative arm alone. Now, they plan alongside the company’s top executives. 

HR managers also ensure that the employees’ productivity is at a maximum. They ensure this by providing the right working conditions, suitable working environment, limiting employee turnover, increasing job satisfaction, and maintaining healthy relationships. Therefore, in addition to being a “people person,” there are many other skills you need to have. Here’s how you can become a successful HR professional!

  1. Thought Leadership

A thought leader is an informed opinion leader in a field of expertise. Thought leaders are the go-to people when people have problems in a field. Thought leaders are also trusted sources for innovative ideas that move and inspire people. They bring ideas to life and also show people how to replicate their success. And over time, thought leaders amass a group of friends, fans, and dedicated followers, spreading their influence and capability in an industry.

To become a thought leader, you need to clarify your area of expertise and focus on it. Consistent work in a given area of expertise helps you build your brand and establish credibility. So, go deep on a few topics rather than trying to do something on every topic. Also, you can steadily build your reputation as a thought leader by attending source interviews, charity events, and the like. 

Thought leadership requires that you keep learning about your industry and stay on top of what’s happening. Doing this will help you become a forward thinker who proffers solutions to real-world problems. You also have to listen to others because no one has all the answers. Boost your social media presence and online reputation on platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Work with other influencers, continue to network and keep at it until you become a trusted thought leader! 

  1. Professional Development and Certification

To become a successful HR professional, you must learn to develop yourself professionally so that you can stand out. If you do not learn and evolve, you can become old school fast. The profession is becoming more competitive! Getting professional certifications is also very important as this proves that you have acquired new skills or knowledge. You can obtain professional certifications in addition to or in place of advanced degrees. You can check out these 12 types of HR Certifications for different HR professionals levels and get to know the requirements and costs as well. Globally, the SHRM-CP is one of the preferred certifications for HR professionals, however, If you’re based in certain regions of the world, you may be required to be certified by the country’s prominent HR professional body. For example, in Nigeria, it is the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM). 

  1. Network Building with Other HR Professionals

Nobody is an island of knowledge. And this is also true for all HR professionals. To succeed in this profession, you have to build a strong network with other HR professionals. Connect with other HR professionals on business platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter and get to know them better. Doing this is in many ways beneficial to your profession because you’re steadily building an army of loyal friends and teams. You can collaborate with them on different ideas and get featured in their posts, talks, and the like.

In addition, getting to know other HR professionals will go a long way in keeping you updated on emerging trends and loopholes you should either avoid or capitalize on in the field. Do this and prepare to be light years ahead of your peers who don’t! 

  1. Keeping Up to Date with HR Technology Trends and HR Policies 

Keeping up with the technological trend and policies trend will go a long way in helping you become the successful HR you want to be! So, don’t hold back on the following strategies:

  • Listen to podcasts
  • Go to the source 
  • Attend local events
  • Take professional and development classes
  • Become obsessed with improving
  1. Empathy 

Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to like everybody to become a successful HR professional. However, you need to be able to show empathy and compassion. Compassion is a key ingredient in the recipe for becoming a successful HR. And since HRs regularly deal with employees and other people in the company, lack of empathy may be a stumbling block to progress. It would help if you showed people that you care about them, listen to them, and want to see them perform excellently at their duty.

  1. Multi-Tasking

In most companies, an ideal HR would have a lot of holes to fill. A professional HR may have to switch from recruiting and training to planning in a matter of seconds. You could be consoling an employee this minute and taking a performance report in the next. Your ability to transition smoothly will significantly impact your success as an HR.

  1. Recruiting Employees

For professional HRs, recruiting is more than just displaying the company’s vacancy for people to apply. It also means finding the appropriate candidate for the position. Depending on the company’s value and goals, finding a suitable applicant could be one of your worst nightmares. It would help if you had excellent interviewing and shortlisting skills. The ability to read people and to study both their verbal and non-verbal communication is essential. Therefore, work at becoming the best recruiter there is and take your company to greater heights!

  1. Talent Pipeline Development

As an HR, you should be concerned with developing a talent pipeline because you might need them sooner rather than later. What happens if a crucial space becomes vacant, but you have no replacement? You can’t wait for that to happen before you start searching for a replacement. So, talent pipeline development is a proactive approach to getting hired fast. Developing your talent pipeline will save you time and minimize losses to the company.

  1. Alignment of Culture, People, and Company Goal

People and companies have their individual goals. And if employees cannot align with their company goals, there will be an imbalance, and employees will not be unable to perform to the best of their ability. Your role as an HR is to ensure that you can marry the company’s culture and goals with that of its employees.

  1. Mentorship

Every great leader needs to mentor and be mentored. So, if you want to become a successful HR professional, you need to seek successful HRs as mentors. You can learn boatloads of things from them in a short time. It would also be best if you mentored upcoming HR professionals to keep your mind fresh. Each one, teach one!

Wrapping It All Up

You can become a successful HR if you have the right attitude and knowledge. Fire ahead, and don’t hold back! If you still have thoughts in your head about how to make good career decisions, you may want to read our article on how to decide on which career is best for you.

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