How To Be a Good HR Professional

HR can be a rewarding environment where you get to help the people behind the employer, as well as the employer themselves.  It’s important to balance many things when you’re working in HR, so here is our list of the most important factors that will contribute to being a good HR professional.


1. Understand Workplace Dynamics

Understanding the big picture in terms of how your workforce is made up is critical for a number of reasons.  Understanding the importance of employee headcount vs budget, trends, locations, demographics, engagement levels, competency gaps, etc, will help you to make much more informed decisions and contribute much more effectively to key strategic focus areas that will drive the organisation’s business performance

2. Understand Employment Law

Both employees and employers have their own set of laws that act as protection for them in the workplace and they are not to be ignored. As an HR professional you are not expected to know every in and out of each piece employment law but you should have a basic working knowledge and be able to address concerns off the back of what you already know quickly and efficiently.n Employment laws are constantly being expanded and updated and many companies operate in “grey areas” or hide behind comparisons with other companies that break employment laws. It’s important that you stay up to date with new developments in employment law, and you have access to the right experts when you need them

e.g. Did you know that, in 2022, the government are now considering creating a right to flexible working for an employee from their very first day on the job?

e.g. The Modern Slavery Act is expected to be reformed this year, which will of course impact the levels of scrutiny under which minimum wage is placed.

3. Create a Balance In The Workplace

Many HR professionals spend so much time on day-to-day admin and tasks, as well as putting out metaphorical fires left and right, that there is no time left in the week for strategy.  Sometimes, this is just the way a business is run and HR gets reluctantly dragged into everything. However, long-term planning can really help to put a dent in common workplace problems that keep cropping up.

As an HR professional, it’s important that you feel confident enough to go to your employer and raise any problem that could be solved with better planning and strategising. For example, if you find that more and more employees are getting stuck in traffic and delaying the start of their workday, create a strategy around flexible hours that can be put in place automatically, and not as a reaction to repeat lateness. In the long run this type of strategy will save the employee the stress of sitting in traffic and knowing they’re losing both work time and pay, but also save colleagues that hassle of waiting, and your employer the worry about where their employee has got to.

When thinking about the future, go deep. Think about the what, why, how, when, and where, and be sure to find the answers to all of these questions.

4. Be a Great Communicator

Working in HR is not easy, even if you’re the director of your company. You’ll deal with onboarding newcomers, exit interviews, sickness, wage complaints, bullying and harassment reports, and much more. You’ll often have to have difficult conversations with both the boss and the employees who have come to HR. It’s crucial that you become skilled at having these tough discussions and that you’re always striving to improve your communication skills. Indeed, says that of the many benefits there are of improved communication, healthy workplace culture and mitigated conflict are on the list!

Employees who feel that they can talk to you without fear of judgement or misinterpretation will simply trust you more and feel more comfortable to come to you for support in the future.  A key component of success is having influence, and we don’t mean influence on Instagram! Being influential means people look up to you and your behaviour, and feel positively towards you and are comfortable letting you take the reins. Being confident in communication as well as versatile allows you to be sensitive and empathetic, as well as direct and instructive when needed. This also gives you the ability to effectively challenge senior management when put in that position, and push back appropriately when expectations are unreasonable or job roles are clearly experiencing ‘scope creep’!

5. Create Effective Policies

Policies may not be the most exciting part of the job but they’re there for a reason – to protect the team and the business, to improve efficiency and to mitigate risk. Ensuring policies are regularly reviewed and updated as required (as in the case of those changing laws we referenced earlier) can help keep your company out of hot water, and keep your employees happy. Never overlook policies – they are the building blocks of a successful business.

6. Create a People Strategy

This is probably the most forgotten part of most HR roles, partly because of the ‘perceived lack of time’ point made earlier, and also frankly because not enough HR directors and managers think strategically.

Great businesses don’t just operate hand to mouth and particularly not where their people are concerned, but sadly so many just do not have any people strategy at all. 

A people strategy is there to support the achievement of the overall organisational business plan.  It should show all the workforce dynamics in point 1 and focus on people resourcing, plus it should answer the key questions around how the business intends to maximise engagement & performance, minimise unnecessary churn, maximise people potential through people investment, and how the organisation will fill the progression and succession gaps and grow through internal and external recruitment.

It should have appropriate KPIs and review points, and be a key part of the overall organisational plan.

7. Invest In Targeted Learning and Development

The most effective HR managers prioritise employee development and the ability to maximise performance.  This means creating and improving the right mechanisms to understand competency and confidence gaps as well as strengths, and then tailor learning interventions at both macro and micro level that will be the most effective and get the best return on investment.

It also means ensuring that L&D or training investment is properly managed and measured.  PDW Group’s now famous ‘most training doesn’t work’ strapline is well known in business circles and the reasons for this are far reaching.

Targeting your L&D spend properly can go a long way to reducing the wasted investment in this area.

PDW Group have pioneered truly unique business training courses and solutions to make sure that training is effective. We are a leading provider of behavioural workshops and have developed a solution that is unique in the marketplace. Click here today to make an enquiry and start building a brighter future for your team.

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