From the President

By Susan Meisinger Jun 1, 2007

HR Magazine, June 2007Latest Competency Study Defines New HR Roles

The 2007 HR Competency Study lays out the very model of the modern HR professional.

Just when you thought you had the five basic HR competencies down pat, along comes the 2007 Human Resource Competency Study, which once again raises the skills threshold for the human resource profession. According to the study, it is no longer sufficient for HR professionals to master Strategic Contribution, Personal Credibility, HR Delivery, Business Knowledge and HR Technology; they must also become experts at “credible activism”—a role that requires HR to perform with attitude.

Longtime Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) associate Dave Ulrich, partner and co-founder of The RBL Group, one of several organizations that worked on the study, says HR professionals “must have a point of view and take a position.” Reminiscent of former SHRM Board Chair Johnny Taylor’s call for “courageous” HR, isn’t it?

The study, which was designed to identify major competencies that HR professionals need and to track the major trends in the HR management field, gathered data from respondents in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. It was conducted by The RBL Group and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in cooperation with SHRM, IAE Universidad Austral in Argentina, the Irish Management Institute,

Tsinghua University in China, the Australia Human Resource Institute and the National HRD Network in India. In addition to wearing the Credible Activist hat, the study identified five additional roles that HR professionals must master:

  • Cultural Steward. Involves implementing strategy, projects or initiatives that help turn knowledge into action.
  • Talent Manager/Organizational Designer. Focuses on how talent enters, moves up, across or out of the organization, and on the processes that shape how the organization works.
  • Strategy Architect. Requires a vision of how the organization can succeed in the future, and demands an active part in establishing overall strategy to deliver that vision.
  • Business Ally. Requires knowing the environment your organization operates in, how it makes money, who its customers are and why they buy its products or services, plus understanding the basics of functions such as finance and marketing.
  • Operational Executor. Includes creating, adapting and implementing policies that ensure that employees’ basic needs—such as compensation, relocation and training—are delivered efficiently.

Whew! Credible Activist, Cultural Steward, Talent Manager/Organizational Designer, Strategy Architect, Business Ally and Operational Executor—all at the same time! It sounds daunting, but HR professionals who are key contributors to the success of their organizations will embrace the challenge.

As Dave Ulrich puts it: “It’s no longer enough for human resource professionals to just want to contribute to the bottom line. They need to know how to do this and have the ability to use what they know.” For more information about the HR Competency Study, see “New Competencies for HR.”


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