What Does It Take To Be Successful in Human Resources [poll]

At their recent Annual Conference in Atlanta, SHRM introduced a new competency model for human resources professionals. It has 1 technical competency and 8 behavioral competencies. The technical competency is HR Technical Expertise and Practice, which is basically knowing your stuff about legislation, policy, procedure, etc.

The behavioral competencies are:

    1. Relationship Management – the ability to manage interactions with and between others
    2. Consultation – the art of providing guidance
    3. Organizational Leadership and Navigation – the ability to direct initiatives and processes
    4. Communication for Impact – the ability to effectively exchange information
    5. Global and Cultural Effectiveness – the art of managing human resources across borders
    6. Ethical Practice – the integration of core values, integrity and accountability
    7. Business Acumen – the ability to understand business functions and metrics
    8. Critical Evaluation – the skill of interpreting information (e.g. data, metrics, etc.) in order to make decisions

This isn’t the first time a competency model has been introduced for the human resource profession. The RBL Group (with Dave Ulrich) and the University of Michigan also released one. You can check it out here. While they aren’t exactly the same, I think both sets of competencies are similar. Just packaged a little differently.

I’m curious…where am I supposed to focus my energy? Some people would say “all of them”. But that just doesn’t seem realistic. Instead of focusing on 8 things, I believe it’s best to focus on one or two, become skilled at those then move on to others. But what competencies should I focus on first? Which one will have the greatest impact?

So tell me what you think.

I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this survey. Thanks for taking a moment to share your thoughts. I’ll be sure to send out the results in a couple weeks.


  1. says

    Successful HR is a blend of relationships, service & compliance. This ordering is intentional.
    60% leadership for relationships
    30% management for service
    10% technical for compliance.
    25% reality for all that is happening between the lines.

    I know, my numbers don’t add up.
    RMSmithJr.SPHR recently posted..Today I Will…..

  2. says

    Gr8 post.
    Won’t Effective communication & Managing Relationships be common , core , critical competencies for HR , as hygiene factor ? Ditto for – Global effectiveness for someone working in a global environment .
    I am wondering what would poll results be if these 2 were not an option in the list.
    Though Capability building may be unique to HR Professionals in OD, Talent, Learning. However , I see emphasis on ” Technology Integrator” increasing for across wide range of HR roles.

  3. Keith says

    Info I’ve seen indicates that HR professionals need to evolve into strategic business partners and take on more of a business consultant role. No more of the compliance driven generalist – but HR professionals of the future will come FROM the business. This will help with alignment, obtaining buy-in and focusing human capital efforts on business results. So I would agree with the poll showing Managing Relationships and Business Acumen as the 2 most important competencies – I would just say that EVERY position requires both these days.