Get access to the exclusive HR Resources you need to succeed in 2018.
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 14 cities across the U.S. this fall.
Gain the skills you need to rise to the next level in your career. Jon us at SHRM's Leadership Development Forum, October 2-3 in Boston.
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
However, more think it’s possible to cultivate effective communication than the ability to see the big picture and how their organization’s decisions and activities interconnect.
And strategic thinking, effective communication and the ability to lead change were considered the top three competencies senior HR leaders need during an economic downturn.
The findings are from a Senior HR Leadership Competencies Poll that the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducted with more than 2,000 SHRM members and other HR professionals in 2009. Respondents were from Canada, India, the Middle East, North Africa and the United States.
The results are reported in What Senior HR Leaders Need to Know: Perspectives from the United States, Canada, India, the Middle East and North Africa, released March 8, 2010.
“HR leaders have stepped up to unprecedented challenges in recent years as the world economy shifted and slid into recession in many countries,” Amanda Benedict, SHRM survey research analyst, writes in the report. “As the economy prepares for recovery, HR leaders will be expected to acquire new competencies to lead business re-growth while implementing lessons learned from lean times.”
Respondents were given a list of 18 competencies—defined as a combination of knowledge, skills, abilities and other qualities—and were asked to:
While strategic thinking and effective communication surfaced as the top two overall competencies senior HR leaders need, the other top three competencies identified varied by country:
HR professionals also differed by country and region as to whether the competencies they ranked as most crucial can be cultivated.
Ninety-five percent of the U.S. HR professionals surveyed, for example, thought that HR knowledge can be cultivated, but 61 percent think integrity is impossible to cultivate.
“This may suggest,” Benedict writes in the report, “U.S. HR professionals think that senior HR leaders must possess certain qualities that are integral to their character.”
HR professionals in Canada tended to think that their top five ranked competencies were possible to cultivate, especially the ability to lead change (53 percent “very possible”) and deliver effective communication (48 percent “very possible”).
HR professionals in India, the Middle East and North Africa tended to agree that their top-ranked competencies could be taught or learned. For example, 82 percent of those in India said it is very possible to cultivate business knowledge as an HR competency; 88 percent of those in the Middle East and North Africa thought so.
The ability to think strategically is a competency that will increase in importance for HR in the next five years, HR professionals in all regions agreed. Additionally, one-half or more of the respondents who selected “effective communication” as a top competency overall thought that it would increase in importance five years into the future.
Among the countries/regions for which “leading change” ranked within the top five overall competencies, one-half to three-quarters of respondents thought this competency would be of increased importance in five years. Some of the lowest importance projections were for competencies related to attributes such as “integrity” and “credibility.”
For HR professionals working in global organizations, respondents in all the countries and regions surveyed agreed on four of the five competencies that they think are most needed—global intelligence and global mind-set, cross-cultural intelligence, strategic thinking and effective communication.
“In a global economy, it is important to gain an understanding of the expectations of HR leaders in broader world areas, particularly those that are key components of the world economy,” Benedict says in the report.
“As the workplace becomes increasingly globalized, senior HR leaders must develop the competencies required of advanced HR roles in other countries and regions of the world,” she noted.
Benedict observed that despite substantial overlap of views on what competencies are most important for senior HR leaders, “the business community and HR professionals worldwide may be coming to a global consensus about standards for senior-level leaders of the HR profession.”
Kathy Gurchiek is associate editor for HR News. She can be reached at email@example.com.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
SHRM Member Discounts Program
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies