What it takes to be a global HR professional

guest column:Emmanuel Zvada

I ALWAYS say that winning the workplace must be the first priority so that you can win the marketplace. To be an effective global human resources (HR) leader it is important to comprehend the broad operations and processes that drive commerce and create growth of economies.

HR should make positive contributions to economies, not only to companies. We are living in a world of unceasing change, and it’s important that HR has a place in that. HR’s new role, along with culture and happiness, is future-proofing businesses.

Gaining global experience used to mean accepting an overseas work assignment or taking frequent trips to places abroad.

These days, even HR professionals at companies with no overseas offices, often can claim some global experience in their roles.

Following are the recommendations of the leadership style you need to get the HR global status.

To be a successful human resource leader, it is not only critical to understand the basic principles of business best practices, it is also important to be proactive and strategically develop your leadership style to match the changes in the global world.

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HR leaders need global experience. The best HR people come from global backgrounds and leading by example is one way to accomplish this, and it means more than simply walking the talk. It also includes such ideas as integrity, acting and following through.

Think strategically and act accordingly

Leadership involves much more than laying down the law and expecting people to follow. Strategic HR is managing HR in a way that supports the company’s long-term business goals and outcomes.

In essence, you go way beyond the administrative duties HR has been known for and apply HR principles and practices to overall business strategy.

Nowadays, HR professionals are expected to be key partners who help drive their organisation’s overall business strategies.

To do so, HR professionals need to think strategically, connecting a robust HR function with an in-depth knowledge of their organisation’s core business issues and aspiration.

Think global, but act local

With globalisation, increased complexity and risk, especially when it comes to workforce management and implementing practices, HR professionals need to act locally, but thinking globally.

Businesses that expand to new geographies must rethink how they build and manage a cohesive, high-performing workforce that spans cultures, countries and regions. HR people with the skills to manage a global workforce are in high demand as organisations increasingly pursue growth overseas.

Businesses are looking to HR to support this expansion into emerging markets and to attract and grow the talent that will help them capitalise on new opportunities.

Data-driven HR decision-makers

Data-driven decision-making in HR is a leading way for HR practitioners to continually add more value to the business as well as gaining global competency.

Global HR should drive their organisation’s workforce strategy from a combined platform of meaningful data and analytics.

Making use of data analytics will provide critical guidance for all your talent management decisions, reinforcing the relationships among finance, operations, and all business units in your organisation, and deliver the desired business results. Predictive data analytics help HR professionals enhance their hiring and management strategies.

Role modelling and walking the talk

Some of the most positively rated characteristics for global HR leaders is their willingness to “walk the talk,” to be role models and to honour commitments and promises. HR leaders are frequently put into the position of ensuring that others in the organisation do the right thing and follow established procedures.

The leadership must know the exact look of their walk and its precise link to the values of their talk, before they attempt to influence their followers. Additionally, they need to know which behaviour change mechanisms are likely to have the most positive impact on organisation culture/s.

HR as agents of change

Today’s HR leadership is exchanging information and ideas, experiment with work-related technologies and exploring new ways of working.

They are actually leading the effort to create and nurture the organisational culture of innovation, experimentation and open-mindedness that will be needed to drive outcomes in social enterprises.

Taking proactive steps to plan for transition helps overcome obstacles and drive new behaviours, including how intended users perform tasks using workforce management technology.

Change management initiatives are critical for preparing and aligning your global organisation for successful strategy execution.

HR as mentors/coaches

Coaching in the business world is a much more subtle affair, encouraging talents to shine through nurturing and attention. In general, HR leaders are truly concerned about developing others. This sets them apart from leaders in other functions who did not score highly on this skill.

They were also rated positively on providing coaching, acting as a mentor and giving feedback in a helpful way.

As “people specialists”, HR is ideally placed to help line managers and staff to offer direct help and assistance with their personal development. Coaching is a skill in itself and HR practitioners should acquire it. This is one reason why you might consider bringing in external professionals to coach staff members. Or, you could organise for managers to become coaches in specific areas. Either way, a coach should always be trained.

Managing cultural openness and religious tolerance

Managing religious diversity in the workplace, however, can be challenging from a human resources point of view, but it is critical. Cultural differences can create awkwardness and confusion, but it is vital that they are discussed if they are to be managed properly. Normally we do not talk about cultural differences on our organisations because HR practitioners worry that they might offend people or make them uncomfortable, but it is a key quality when you want to be a global HR leader. An organisation’s ability to recognise, embrace and function in a religious and spiritually diverse world is critical to its sustainability.

Adaptive HR leadership is required.

As companies evolve to respond to disruption, leaders need to elevate the quality of their leadership. The challenges businesses face is adaptive: Leaders need to change themselves and their organisations. We are facing problems that we can’t solve with our current thinking. Adaptive and practical leadership adapts to changing environments to effectively respond to recurring problems.

Organisations need to build innovation into their DNA. This means they need to get comfortable updating what they do and how they do it to meet evolving strategic goals and remaining competitive among others.

To acquire global HR status, innovation must be your top priority so that you can as well transform organisations.

Effective innovation requires creating clear accountability, assigning people, measuring results and allocating financial resources.

You cannot be a global HR practitioner if you cannot contribute to the growth of your economy through productivity from the organisation you are running.

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