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Oct 28, 2020

5 Competencies of Tomorrow’s HR Leaders

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Checkr Editorial

In order to thrive in the future, HR leaders must be able to understand and recommend new technology solutions, measure the operational efficiency of their processes, and increase productivity through innovative ideas.

On Thursday, October 22nd, Checkr and ClearCompany teamed up to discuss what HR leaders need to do now, in order to thrive in the future. Our group of HR experts included Angie Wideman-Powell, Human Resources Director at ClearCompany Talent Management; Lorraine McKay, Chief Officer, Talent Management Solutions at HRSG; Glen Murschel, Network Support & Senior Consultant at Allstate Roadside Assistance; Jennifer Mitchell, Vice President of Human Resources at KCF Technologies; and Margie Lee-Johnson, VP of People, Checkr. As a group, we talked through the top five competencies HR leaders of the future must possess, as well as the ways HR leaders can help their organizations as strategic business partners. Here’s what they had to say: 

1. Insights 

“Having and gaining insight into situations, problems and processes. Deconstructing problems and systematically investigating the various components. Having a complete picture of the context and overview of the whole problem.”

Angie kicked us off by talking about insights. 

She mentioned, “This helps us provide meaningful data to the people on our teams. The right data and information will help our teams make better decisions for our organizations. Start to try to identify the pain points within your organization and use data to back-up the solutions you propose.” As HR leaders, the ability to gain a complete picture of a problem before recommending solutions will become more and more important.  

Once an organization has built out a roadmap for digital transformation and process change, actually implementing plans comes with its own challenges. Lorraine recommended a two-part focus to bring about change in your company using meaningful insights. She said, “think about ‘simple’ & ‘staged’. Start with baby steps, learn from your success, and fine tune your changes. It is always easier to implement something new when people really want it because they have seen others be successful with the new process or change.”

2. Vision

 “The ability to step back from one’s daily routine, explore ideas for the future, regard the facts from a distance and see them in a broader context or in the longer term.”

Lorraine followed by speaking to the importance of vision.

“Vision is all about looking into the future, predicting problems that may arise, and then proposing ideas to solve for those problems,” said Lorraine. In HR, being able to get out of the day-to-day tasks, think about the big picture, and plan for the long-term will help organizations move from being reactive to proactive. 

Vision includes everything from people to organization to process and technology. Jen added, “Really focus on the non-technology aspects as well. Be sure to think through a vision what will help your employee experience and team communication in order to boost engagement when people are isolated and virtual right now.” 



“Really focus on the non-technology aspects as well. Be sure to think through a vision what will help your employee experience and team communication in order to boost engagement when people are isolated and virtual right now.” 

3. Flexible Behavior

 “The ability to change one’s behavioral style and/or views in order to attain a set goal.”

Glen talked about why Flexible Behavior is so important as an HR leader. 2020 has called for a lot of flexibility and adaptability so far. Glen said, “Be open to changes in employee situations. We cannot do a 9-5 workweek anymore— set schedules are out the window. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned that people need to be treated as individuals and then we as HR leaders need to be flexible and adaptable to individual needs.” 

When talking about how to help guide a company through HR digital transformation, stressed the importance of being both flexible and agile.  She mentioned, “Can you use the tools you currently have in place to be more efficient?  If not, start to identify exactly what you need to meet your goals. Look at what is available in the market, do your research, and use LinkedIn to ask others about what they use.”

4. Business Orientation

 “The ability to recognize opportunities for new services and products and to act accordingly, taking measured risks into account.”

Jen spoked about why HR leaders need to have a strong business orientation and move into strategic leadership roles.  

She said, “As HR leaders we have a tendency to get stuck in our HR bubble— and not think outside of HR. This is dramatically limiting.When we shift to having a business focus, you can start to put together an effective strategy for how HR can help other departments meet their goals.”

During the webinar, 33% of attendees responded that their HR department was viewed by the broader organization as “undervalued and underutilized.” Another 33% respond that their HR department was viewed as “necessary, but not strategic.” HR leaders must be able to recognize both opportunities and risks in order to elevate HR into a strategic business function. 

Lorraine added,“measuring HR is really hard. You need a lot of quality data related to people behavior—which is hard data to collect. Make sure you understand different types of metrics including efficiency, effectiveness, performance, and productivity.” These metrics will help HR leaders make decisions with greater business orientation.

5. Social Awareness

“Being aware of relevant social, political and professional trends and developments and using this information for the organization’s benefit.”

Our final speaker, Margie, focused on social awareness.

Margie said, “gen Z is moving up in our organizations. Gen Z makes up over 32% of the workforce today. 93% believe they’re empowered to shape their future and 77% of Gen Z-ers say a company's diversity would be a deciding factor when they look for jobs. To be an employer of choice, you must deliver experiences that match Gen Z’s preferences. We need to be tuned into not only what is happening within our organization—but also outside of our companies’ own four walls.” Being able to respond to employees with empathy and compassion based on not only what is happening in their lives on an individual level, but also on a global level is a necessary skill for HR leaders today and tomorrow. 

To learn more about the future of HR leadership and digital transformation in HR, be sure to watch the recording of the webinar here or let us know here if you would like to find out how to make your company’s hiring practices more efficient.



"Being able to respond to employees with empathy and compassion based on not only what is happening in their lives on an individual level, but also on a global level is a necessary skill for HR leaders today and tomorrow." 

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