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Running head: HR COMPETENCIES

HR Competencies
Hayley Swartz
Spring 2016
HDFS 3110

HR COMPETENCIES

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is a highly recommended and
respected membership organization devoted to human resource management. Founded in 1948,
it has grown to be the worlds largest HR membership organization and is the leading provider of
resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance professional practice (SHRM,
2016). Upon asking for advice to prepare for entry into the human resource industry, three HR
professionals have recommended this organization as a source for additional skill development.
At some point, I would like to pay for a membership or explore the certifications they offer. For
now, I chose to read SHRMs leading publication entitled Defining HR Success: 9 Critical
Competencies for HR Professionals that outlines SHRMs organizational competency model.
The nine competencies can be broken down into four main categories: technical competencies,
interpersonal competencies, business competencies, and leadership competencies (Strobel,
Kurtessis, Cohen, & Alonso, 2015).
My purpose in reading this book is to identify what if means to be a successful HR
professional and to pinpoint specific steps I can take to develop each competency. I am aware
that this book cannot give me actual technical HR skillsthose are best learned by practice. It
did, however, illuminate what specific skills will be most beneficial to develop for my success
and identified the behavioral competencies required to effectively apply that knowledge in the
support of the organization I work for. In other words, as I enter into a human resource
professional role and begin to acquire technical knowledge, I will have learned through this book
how to most effectively apply that knowledge to maximize my success and the success of the
organization. Throughout the book, there are many suggestions provided for how to develop
each competency. I identified steps that make the most sense for me and for the stage of my
professional development.

HR COMPETENCIES

Naturally, the book describes HR Expertise as critical to job performance not only to
serve the needs of the talent within the organization but also to align the practices of HR
professionals to where the organization needs to go in the future (Strobel et al., 2015). This is
the first competency. The book recommends many suggestions for ways to develop HR
expertise. The ones that I identified as being most applicable to me include shadowing a seniorlevel executive, engaging in self-directed learning through books or seminars, and seeking out a
mentor who possesses expertise. I have already taken steps toward developing this competency
through my reading of this book and by meeting with my mentor Clint who has been in the
industry for over twenty years.
The second competency, Ethical Practice, is the ability to integrate core values, integrity,
and accountability throughout all organizational and business practices (Strobel et al., 2015).
Research suggests that HR professionals who are highly proficient in this competency build trust
and rapport among their subordinate, leadership, and colleagues. Once I enter into the work
force, I will make it my goal to seek out opportunities to build trust with coworkers through
honesty and take time to stay up to date on compliance practices.
Business Acumen is the third competency outlined by Strobel et al. (2015). As an HR
professional, I will be more successful if I develop a strategic workforce plan that plays a vital
role in the achievement of the organizations objectives and be able to visibly illustrate that the
HR function fully understands and supports the direct the organization wants to go (Strobel et al.,
2015). In order to do this, I must learn the business that I am in. Once I join a specific
organization, I will aim to study the companys financial statements to develop a comprehensive
understanding of what drives profitability in order to best support the organization.

HR COMPETENCIES

Fourth, I can enhance my HR departments effectiveness and the usefulness of HR


programs by monitoring HR success with data analytics such as human capital metricsmetrics
that describe the time to fill a position and the cost to hire (Strobel et al., 2015). SHRM calls this
Critical Evaluation, which involves critical thinking. In order to start developing this
competency, I need to develop knowledge of HR metrics and practice critical thinking by
learning to look at both the strengths and weaknesses of the HR department.
As a consultant, HR professionals can help their organizations address challenges related
to HR, such as staffing needs, training and development needs, employee performance issues,
and employee relations matters (Strobel et al., 2015). In order to develop competency in
Consultation, I can learn to ask questions during data gathering meetings and build credibility
through effective communication to increase my position as a knowledgeable, client-focused
partner.
According to Strobel et al. (2015), job success for the HR professional is largely a
function of ones ability to maintain productive interpersonal relationships and to help others do
the same, or to display competency at Relationship Management. In order to manage successful
business relationships, I attend networking events to build close relationships with colleagues
and clients. I will also volunteer to work closely with clients and make myself available for
questions.
Competency in Leadership and Navigation requires the HR professional to wear many
hats by contributing to both the HR department and to the overall organization (Strobel et al.,
2015, p. 65). In summery, this competency involves the ability to direct and contribute to
initiatives and processes within the organization at large. In order to begin developing

HR COMPETENCIES

Leadership and Navigation, I want to learn to develop goals that are specific, measurable,
attainable, relevant, and time-bound or SMART.
Being competent in Communication involves effectively describing policies and
practices, setting goals, communicating progress, and ultimately realizing an organizations
mission and vision (Strobel et al., 2015). I would like to practice carefully preparing e-mails in a
way that is concise as possible, welcome opportunities to discuss competing viewpoints, and
listen actively to the perspective of others.
The ninth and last competency outlined in this book is Global and Cultural Effectiveness.
As an HR professional, I must be able to effectively interact and maintain productive working
relationships with employees of a variety of cultural backgrounds (Strobel et al., 2015). In
addition to the cultural competency and humility discussed so often in class, I want to learn to
conduct business with an understanding and respect for the differences in rules, customs, laws,
regulations, and business operations between my own culture and others.
This book was useful in helping me to understand how to leverage the basic skills I learn
as I continue to develop as a professional in order to bring success to my career and the
organizations that employ me. However, perhaps the greatest benefit I learned from reading this
book is the never stop learning. Something I found interesting is how the book lays out
opportunities for professional development for each level of ones career. Suggestions for growth
are given for entry level, midcareer-level, and executive level positions for each competency.
Although I set attainable goals as an entry level professional, each chapter ends with suggestions
for HR managers suggesting to me that personal growth can and should be pursued at every level
of my career. Throughout my career, I can check myself against these competencies in order to
find areas in need of growth and develop strategic plans to continue striving to be the best HR

HR COMPETENCIES

professional I can be. For now, as a pre-professional, I will incorporate these competencies into
my goals during my internship and first job.

HR COMPETENCIES

References
About the Society for Human Resource Management. (2016). Retrieved from
https://www.shrm/org/about/pages/default.aspx
Strobel, K. R., Kurtessis, J. N., Cohen , D. J., & Alonso, A. (2015). Defining HR success:
9 critical competencies for HR professionals. Alexandria, VA: Society for Human
Resource Management.