Competencies Required for Mid Career HR Professionals & How to Earn them?

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If you’d like to make your mark in HR, there’s no better time than today.

After the recent HR nightmares at Uber and Thinx, the importance of HR competencies have magnified. 

Even if it’s challenging to step back from your HR responsibilities and think about how you can get ahead in your career; it’s a prudent move.

And here’s your opportunity.

In this guide, we will talk about four core competencies you need to develop if you want to grow in your HR career.

Four Competencies Required for Mid Career HR Professionals

If you read through all four, the third one will surprise you. Here are the four core competencies to master your HR career –

#1: Advanced Communication Skill

When you step onto a higher role in HR, your communication skill also needs to reach a notch higher. 

Here’s why.

As a Junior HR, fluency in communication and a direct approach toward the employees may have worked. 

But when you step up, you’re reaching for a leadership position where many would look at you and emulate.

When you know that your team is looking at you as a role model, you should develop to critical factors in communication –

  1. Empathy
  2. Emphatic Listening

Empathy isn’t sympathy. It’s putting yourself in the shoes of the employees & management and think on their behalf. And then making a decision that is a win-win for both management & employees.

And listening is one of the most ignored elements in communication. Listen to understand and not to reply. Practice not interrupting when someone’s talking and absorb the information and then respond.

These two will not only make you a good leader but will also bring more clarity about the role of HR in the organization.

2# Be proactive

Yes, we know that it’s one of the seven habits of highly effective people. And it’s also one of the most important competencies you should develop if you want to step up in your HR career.

But how would you do it?

Here are the three things you should do –Learn from your mistakes: Since we all live in our own bubbles, it’s difficult to point our mistakes. Have a notebook handy and note down if something could have done better. Ask your peers who would genuinely offer you feedback. And pick one mistake and work on it. And repeat the same with other mistakes as well.

  1. Create an anonymous feedback box: When you ask for feedback directly, your employees may fear blurting out the truth. When you create an anonymous feedback box, you will get the real scenario.
  2. Gain leadership support: Talk to the management about why you would like to take proactive actions. And make sure that you have the authority to make a decision as and when the situation demands.

#3: Get certified

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The most important place to train lives between your two ears. If you don’t develop yourself, it will be difficult for you to step up in your HR career.

You can choose a credible certification from an institution that not only teaches you the theory but also shows various aspects of HR practically.

Here are a few certifications you may consider signing up for. You can either pick one or go for all. 

Read more about how you can get into an HR job

#4: Learn from other industries

When you are in an HR role for a long time, it’s difficult to look beyond HR.

You need to break the bubble and get ahead.

Go out of the HR periphery and learn from different industries. 

And read voraciously.

Seek a mentor outside of HR and learn from their experience.

Being an HR leader means you let yourself become a bridge between the employees and the management.

On one hand, you need to take care of your employees so that the turnover ratio is less. On the other hand, you should work to achieve the strategic objective of the top management.

And it often becomes tricky.

Learning from a completely new perspective will help you juggle multiple balls well without the fear of dropping any of them.

In the final analysis

To build these core competencies, you should have these four traits –

  1. You should be a continuous learner
  2. You will go out of your way and learn from your mistakes
  3. You will be open to new ideas and be willing to implement them if they benefit the organization
  4. You will also stop making assumptions about your role and do whatever the situation demands

Develop these four traits and you will easily build the above core competencies. 

While it may not be a smooth ride to a mid or senior HR role, it’s well worth the effort.