The HR Department of The New Millennium
4 skills you need to compete in the new hiring landscape
by Amy Cash

Throughout the last decade, it has become painfully apparent that, while most CEOs recognize there is a drastic talent optimization problem, they have absolutely no idea how to fix it, nor do they have time to take it on by themselves. Many CEOs address workforce issues like a hot potato—they want it off their plate immediately. This is where the 21st-century human resources (HR) professional steps in to help. Today’s budding HR professionals have a whole new set of concerns that set them apart from previous generations. The HR departments that remain from the twentieth century are ill-equipped to manage the scaling concerns of the 21st-century enterprise.

In the early days of business and industry, human resources emerged as the answer to increasingly challenging and demanding labor relations problems. But what fundamentally worked in the pre-information age is grossly ineffective for optimizing the workforce of today’s wisdom age.

Today’s human resources professionals must grow beyond what HR requires. They must develop themselves and their teams into savvy business professionals who leverage talent, optimize people at work and deliver tangible returns on their “people program” investments.

Whether you are a seasoned professional on the aging side of a successful career or a newcomer entering the field, it is imperative that you gain the knowledge to address today’s workforce challenges head-on and strategize winning solutions that reduce or remove these constraints from adversely impacting the business. By gaining the following four skills, you better position your business to compete in today’s hiring landscape.

1. Develop an Executive Summary

The first skill you will need to develop is the ability to write an executive summary. You must evaluate the major workforce challenges to your specific business faces and outline your plan to rectify them. If you do not establish a stout plan to address these issues, your business will likely face an uncertain future. How do workforce gaps and frequent turnover impact the customer experience, employee partnership, innovation and the company’s bottom line? As a businessperson specializing in hiring, you need to know how to communicate well, written and verbally, and in a way that can be heard.

2. Learn the Importance of Big Data

The second skill you need to develop is the ability to resonate with, speak into and deduce conclusions from data. Big data rules today’s world, and understanding how to make it work for you and your company is imperative to your success. Sorting critical data from superfluous data is another key to getting your point across and keeping your audience’s attention.

In order to catch the attention of people who can solve a problem from a strategic and financial point of view, you need to speak to them in both a financial and strategic manner. This means you need to be able to read a profit-and-loss statement. You must understand the total cost of labor and staffing in your company.

Most decision makers in business have a strong preference to evaluate propositions through three to four salient points grounded in accurate, relevant data. To speak with someone who understands and responds to data, you must elevate your ability to think from data, and make recommendations that speak to improve the data.

3. Cultivate Confidence

The third skill you need to continue to develop and nurture is your confidence.

Standing for stronger people optimization in the workplace and human systems transformation is a pretty big stake in the ground. If not you, then who? Someone needs to keep people present and accountable for the commitments around the workforce.

Many managers in organizations in all industries fall astray from their talent optimization commitments as soon as the pressure of another commitment overshadows it. Without someone standing up for—and in some cases fighting for—doing the right thing and making people and talent a companywide focus, your competitive advantage initiatives fall out of existence.

It takes stamina to create sustainable change. It takes a continual, unwavering commitment, sometimes in the face of adversity—and that takes confidence.

4. Find Comfort in the Questions

The fourth skill you need to improve is your ability to be comfortable in not having all the answers. Curiosity is a major strength of people who succeed in the new HR world.

Having all the answers and knowing how things are going to, or not going to, turn out is a trait that no longer serves the business professional of the 21st century. In today’s world, curiosity, agility and creativity are the keys to success.

Fostering a workplace of collaboration and innovation begins with you. Facing problems with an eye on understanding the systemic impacts on the business and the people in it opens you up to hearing from employees you might not otherwise interact with on a normal basis.

Inviting ideas and solutions from your team gives you a much wider perspective and develops your balanced, decision-making skills, which is a requirement for a 21st-century business professional.

While on the surface it might not be obvious, the keen HR professional is the key to the successful evolution of optimizing people at work.

Every business, in every industry, needs someone in HR focusing on the future of people and talent optimization.

From reducing unwanted employee turnover and filling the leadership gap to hiring better and transferring today’s knowledge to tomorrow’s workers, the right HR pro doing the right things affects every strategic level in a company.

The effective attraction, engagement and optimization of high-quality people in any organization may be as important as your services or products themselves.

Therefore, the right HR pro is just as important as the right coder or the right sales representative. Choose and develop your 21st-century HR team wisely.