Years ago, I worked for an outplacement consulting firm. Part of the company’s role was to help individuals who were laid off find new opportunities. Today’s reader note reminded me that while some people were very upset about losing their jobs, others used the situation to pivot to a career they’ve been wanting to do for a while.
Hi Sharlyn! I know you must be crazy busy, so I appreciate you taking the time to read this. I recently got laid off and it’s the kick in the butt I needed to pivot my career after accidentally ending up in project management…and then staying in it for another 6 years. It’s something I’m good at but am not fulfilled by.
I have always been very interested in HR and had the opportunity to run some workplace culture initiatives in the past that I enjoyed quite a bit. I’m looking to choose between a couple of avenues I could go down career-wise and am hoping I might be able to get your expert opinion. What skills would you say helped you be as successful as you were in HR? Thank you in advance for any insight you can offer!
Instead of talking about my skills, I think this is an opportunity to talk about the skills that HR pros should be working on for the future. Honestly, there are lots of skills lists available via an internet search. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has a competency model. I’ve put together a few articles as well. This is one that I think is particularly valuable – 6 Ways to Improve Your Business Acumen in 2020.
I wanted to offer more than the typical HR skills list. So, if you’re trying to pivot to HR or looking to make a move in the near future, here’s my list of HR skills that you should be working on right now.
People Analytics. It’s not enough to know metrics anymore. HR professionals need to understand people analytics and how to manage a people analytics project. You don’t need to be a data scientist, but you should know enough to be able to comfortably hire one.
Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work. EdX and MIT are offering a MOOC (massive open online course) on Shaping the Work of the Future. HR pros need to know when to buy, build, and borrow talent. They also need to know when to use bots (and AI) instead of hiring someone. The course is free.
Performance Management. Every organization – regardless of industry – cares about performance. It’s how they accomplish their goals. HR professionals will want to design performance management systems that help the company and employees improve performance. Oh, and they also need to be systems that everyone finds valuable and are willing to use.
Consulting. If there’s one skill that I feel has helped me over the years, it’s consultation. This one is also part of SHRM’s competency model. Whether you’re internal or external HR, it’s important to know the principles of being a good consultant. Check out Peter Block’s “Flawless Consulting” for insights.
Wellbeing and wellness. This one goes hand-in-hand with performance management. If organizations want a high performing workforce, they need to create the right environment. HR has the opportunity to set the stage through the development of wellbeing initiatives.
This list doesn’t mean that HR isn’t going to be responsible for directing recruitment, training and other employee activities. It also doesn’t mean HR won’t be relied upon for compliance matters. I really tried to think of a handful of things that I believe CEOs will want their HR departments to know in the future.
Given everything that’s going on right now, this is an opportunity for companies and HR to reshape expectations. HR pros have to ask themselves to what extent they want to drive the change.
P.S. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is offering a $200 discount on their seminars (except certification prep) using the promotion code YourFuture20. The seminars include topics such as creating a talent acquisition strategy, behavioral interviewing techniques, learning and development plans, as well as understanding people analytics. This discount code isn’t going to last forever, so if you’re looking for an opportunity to learn some new skills and earn recertification credits…now might be the time.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Las Vegas, NV17