I have been an HR practitioner for nearly two decades and for the most part of these years, I have been privileged to facilitate hundreds of knowledge sharing/training sessions.
In the course of these sessions, one question keeps recurring; participants have always wanted to know what they can do to truly differentiate themselves in the HR profession. They are curious about how they can accelerate their career by becoming a top professional in the field. My answer to these questions has always been the same – Learn to wear “four hats” and you will become literarily unstoppable.
In the context of HR Professionals, wearing four hats implies approaching the job from four different perspectives to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Below are the four hats I wear and I recommend that you wear consistently to enable you approach your work strategically as an HR professional, and in a way that will add greater value to your organisation:
- Hat of a Customer of the Business: In business, the CEO of CEOs is the customer. Customers have the power to prosper or bankrupt a business by simply deciding to spend their money somewhere else. Therefore, as an HR professional, if there is only one principle you should live by, it is this – Craft all your HR agendas with the customer’s interest in mind. The only way to do this is to be acutely aware of customers’ needs and motivations.
- Hat of a CEO: Wearing the hat of a CEO implies that you understand the business as deeply as the CEO does. And with this understanding comes the ability to know the concerns that keep your CEO up at night. Thinking like the CEO is a powerful way to be effective as an HR practitioner, because then you will have an overview of everything impacting your organisation and you will be able to make sensible business decisions.
- Hat of a Consultant: Every business has one sore spot or another, and this is why consultants are ever in demand in the corporate world. Who is a Consultant? A consultant is a problem-solver. As an HR practitioner, understand that even the greatest CEO may not always have all the answers. If they are to lead with maximal effectiveness, they need someone to help them diagnose deeply rooted organisational problems and craft an effective solution. This is where your developed competency as a consultant becomes invaluable.
- Hat of a Strategic HR Professional: In the rapidly changing world of HRM, being an HR practitioner is not the same thing as being a strategic HR practitioner. The word ‘strategic’ makes all the difference. While being an HR professional can mean anything from being a generalist to being a recruitment specialist; being tagged a strategic HR professional means that all your HR agendas, processes and practices are deliberately designed to deliver these three values to the organisation:
- Employee competence
- Customers’ satisfaction
- Investors’ profitability
There you have it! These are the four hats that have been pivotal to my success as an HR professional.
Wearing these four hats will require a lot more from you. It will require you to stretch yourself in many ways. And stretching means leaving your comfort zone, which is never an attractive prospect. However, as an HR practitioner who is interested in becoming better, you must reinvent yourself so that you can stay relevant, valued, and strategic in the organization of the future.
To make it easier for you to comprehend how to wear the four hats, I’ll spend the next four days dissecting each of the hats.
The ideas I will be sharing with you are not untested. They have been tried and they are trustworthy. So I urge you to strive to understand them, experiment with them, and adopt them where applicable.
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