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How to Measure a Great HR Leadership Role: Bigger is Not Always Better

Source | LinkedIn : By Oscar Fuchs

So you’re an HR Leader. You’ve made it to the top. Congratulations. But sometimes you ask yourself, is this as good as it gets? Could I be in a better role elsewhere?

Or you’re about to be offered an HR Leadership position. It sounds great, everything you’ve always wished for. But what are the pitfalls you need to watch out for when reaching your final decision?

Having worked on several hundred HR Leadership positions and with several thousand HR leaders across the world over the last decade, my colleagues and I at ChapmanCG have seen many different definitions for what makes a good HR role. For some individuals, the key focus is in a particular industry, the company’s brand image and its products; for others it will be about the size and complexity of the role; and there are those who place a higher value on the salary and role’s status.

All of these are viable, there is no single formula to what makes an HR leader satisfied in their role. But if I look at the career ups and downs of the most accomplished HR leaders whom I’ve followed across the years, there are three common factors to what constitutes a great HR leadership role. And these are: Impact, Autonomy andVisibility.

Don’t think Scale, think Impact

The received wisdom is that size matters when it comes to HR leadership positions. More size and scale means more resources, which in turn means that your role wields more influence. So if you’re the head of HR in a large company, why not aim to be an HR leader in an even larger and more complex one?

Think again. Scale and complexity do not always make for a happy HR leader, since both aspects can make it much harder to see the tangible results of your efforts. Great HR ideas formulated at the top of an organisation can be diluted in the tiers of middle management, before being quite ‘lost in translation’ at the front line of the business. And increasingly we are seeing HR heads lead by means of persuasion and business instinct rather than solely through the blunt weapon of a large and well-resourced HR team.

You should always keep in mind the size of the business and the size of your HR team, they will obviously have an effect on the day-to-day management of your role. But don’t let these factors alone convince you that ‘bigger is better’. Use your reasoning skills to evaluate the positioning and expectations of the HR function, and use your emotional intelligence to assess your chemistry with business leaders and other key stakeholders. These are the factors that will translate into an environment where your HR skills and ideas can thrive. And that’s impact.

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