What Makes a Really Great HR Professional


I’m the first one to pick on HR ladies when they suck; however, I take it very seriously when I’m asked to define a great HR person.

I was asked to do that, last week, and here is my list.

  • Great HR people are logical. Just because something could happen doesn’t mean that it will happen.
  • Great HR people have a vision for an employer. During this recession, I worked with leaders who held up two scenarios as the only possible options for saving a company: cut costs or cut people. Sometimes those were the only two options but sometimes we looked at alternative ways of saving the business. Amazing HR people are learners. They are connected. And they can offer up new ideas because they are fluent in the worlds of work, money, power and politics.
  • Great HR people don’t covet the role of authority figure. It’s really easy to work in HR and assume a level of importance or objectivity when analyzing and dealing with issues. The best HR people fight for truth and have no time for easy answers and institutional biases — including their own.
  • Great HR people don’t waste time worrying about a slippery slope. Stop worrying that if you do this for someone, you’ll have to do that for another person. No you don’t.
  • Great HR people know what they know and know when to call a lawyer. Some of my best friends are employment lawyers who saved my butt.

I don’t have a list of competencies that make for a great HR professional — but Sue Meisinger does. Go check out her list and do a shot of tequila every time you hear the words ‘credible activist’ as they relate to Human Resources.

That’s what I do, which is why I am not credible.

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