Ways To Become Successful in the HR Industry

Give one way to become successful in the HR industry?

To help you achieve success in the HR industry, we asked CHROs and business leaders this question for their best insights. From having an X-factor to being tech savvy, there are several ways to develop yourself and channel your professional skills into success in the HR industry.

Here are nine ways to become successful in the HR industry:

  • Have an X-factor
  • Know How to Work With Data and Analytics
  • Master Corporate Communications and People Skills
  • Be Passionate About Employee Well-Being and Success
  • Understand the Business and Communicate Well
  • Lead Beyond Your Scope
  • Be Proactive and Take Learning into Your Own Hands
  • Develop a Thick Skin and Communicate Effectively
  • Be Tech Savvy


Have an X-factor

Success comes from being known for something…from providing a tangible value above and beyond what the average person can offer. Let’s face it. The corporate landscape is littered with solid HR professionals. So, what differentiates one from the next?  Well, it’s not the same. 

To succeed, you need an X-factor – a little something extra that makes you the [fill-in-the-blank] guy or gal. So don’t just be another HR pro. Be the HR data whiz.

The business partner who really knows project management. Or the generalist who can get very specific on communication strategy.  If you want to stand out, you first have to stand up.

Tim Toterhi, Plotline Leadership


Know How to Work With Data and Analytics

An HR practitioner that incorporates a quantitative element into their efforts will be more successful in the HR industry. Numbers aren’t typically a natural skill set for HR talent, so those that make the effort to master data will stand out from their peers. You don’t have to be the one to pull the numbers (hire someone who can help there!) but you do need to proactively look for and share numerical evidence for your HR strategies and efforts. Making sure you include data will make a positive impact on your career!

Logan Mallory, Motivosity


Master Corporate Communications and People Skills

Take a course in Corporate Communications. So much of business has to do with mitigation, whether that’s with a dissatisfied customer, a disgruntled employee, a data breach or a PR problem.

Knowing the right verbiage to use when both speaking and writing, and being able to teach others accordingly will help you in your HR career.

So much of the HR industry is people-facing, and some additional experience in Corporate Communications will help you be a better people person.

Eric Elggren, Andar


Be Passionate About Employee Well-Being and Success

Developing an interest in what is best for the employees in your team is vital. You want their best interests at heart and know when you need to step in or when to tell them to calm down or rethink a particular situation. So understanding them personally and how they like to work professionally will help you become a successful HR leader.

Tracey Beveridge, Personnel Checks


Understand the Business and Communicate Well 

Many people think that becoming successful in the HR industry is a difficult task, but there are actually a few simple steps that can help you achieve this goal. First and foremost, it is important to have a strong business background and be able to understand complex issues. Also, it’s essential to be able to communicate well and be comfortable working with different personalities.

Travis Lindemoen, nexus IT group


Lead Beyond Your Scope

All successful HR leaders nowadays are students of their industry. HR leaders should understand the corporate budget, its strategic plan, the barriers to success all leaders in the organization have, and the opportunities that leadership is hoping to capitalize off of.

Note that none of these attributes will be taught in an HR certification program.

Nonetheless – in order for HR leaders to be influential leaders for the business, they must assure that the HR strategy and the corporate strategy align seamlessly and that every employee knows how their role contributes to both.

Patrick Proctor, Hanna Andersson

Be Proactive and Take Learning into Your Own Hands

Take full advantage of all free resources within your workplace, whether that is free courses, classes or webinars you can go and attend; go and do that extra research because it won’t only help you grow as a more knowledgeable and reliable HR rep, but you will learn attributes and lessons that you will be able to take with you into your future. Being proactive and taking learning into your own hands will set you up positively in your company, and all that hard work may catch your managers’ attention, meaning extra bonuses and maybe a promotion.

Wendy Makinson, Joloda Hydraroll


Develop a Thick Skin and Communicate Effectively

Develop a thick skin. It isn’t long before every HR department becomes the punching bag of the company. Successful careers in HR are made up of skilled crisis negotiators who are used to receiving criticism from all sides. Being able to retain one’s composure and communicate effectively all while being in the line of fire is the key to long term success in the HR industry.

Patrick Robinson, Paskho


Be Tech Savvy

As a strategic HR partner, keeping pace with technology is absolutely essential to success.  It is impossible to anticipate future talent needs without understanding the impact AI and automation will have in each department.

Michele Kalas, Mattress Firm


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