Leading people

9 habits of highly successful HR and People leaders

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We’re all creatures of habit. However, how do we know we have the right habits to help us thrive as HR and People leaders?

With valuable nuggets from Facebook to Ford Motor Company, let’s take a look at the habits the most highly effective HR and People leaders practice day-to-day.

1. They don’t shy away from taking risks

When Facebook’s Head of HR Lori Goler was initially offered the role, she turned it down. “I didn’t think I had enough experience,” she says.

“Sheryl Sandberg then called me and said: ‘No man would ever turn down more responsibility because they don’t have the experience.’ It just struck me that is the ‘lean-in moment’. That’s the moment when you go for something you don’t think you can otherwise do.

“If you have the ambition, don’t hold yourself back. Lean in to it—look for ways you can learn and grow. Take those opportunities and risks in your career.”

Free research report: The changing face of HR

Seismic shifts in the way organisations operate, work, and manage their people are occurring. We surveyed 500+ HR leaders to discover how they are responding.

Uncover insights on how to stay ahead and transform HR from a process focused function to a people driven business.

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2. They always put their people first

Australian employees say work-life balance is what matters most to them, topping health, life satisfaction and safety.

Whether it’s avoiding burnout or boosting workplace productivity, creating a great work-life balance has significant benefits

Could a top-notch work-life balance even have a positive effect on the way managers lead their teams?

According to Stewart Friedman, absolutely. Professor at Wharton University and Worldwide Head of Leadership at Ford Motor Company, he will be sharing his experience at the 2019 Australian HR Institute (AHRI) national convention and exhibition, taking place in Brisbane from 16-19 September.

At Ford, Friedman led a program called ‘Total Leadership’, set out to improve leadership abilities by increasing peace and harmony in leaders’ lives.

In his session, you can find out how this proven method works, what it takes to create a better balance, and how you can use this approach for your personal development or to support managers within your organisation.

3. They embrace change

Like a plane making slight adjustments to its course in order to stay on track, HR and People leaders need to continually assess how their strategy can be revised and updated—and then push for that change.

“HR leaders need to be continually assessing information to determine whether to continue or alter the course of a project,” says Holly Burkett, Innovation and Performance Consultant at Evaluation Works.

“We also have a responsibility to step up and embrace our role as change agents.”

4. They keep up with technology

Successful HR and People leaders know that technology and innovation will accelerate exponentially. So, for HR and People teams, understanding their organisation’s technology strategy has never been so important.

Speaking at the AHRI national convention and exhibition, Stephen Scheeler, former Facebook CEO for Australia and New Zealand, current Senior Advisor to McKinsey and Company, and Founder of global advisory The Digital CEO, will explain how digital experience and skills will have a pivotal role in leadership going forward.

He’ll share how you can digitise your leadership style and help other leaders do the same.

5. They’re always listening

Too often leaders rise to the top and lose touch with what’s happening on the shop floor. They build a great team and then let things run themselves.

Angela Nguyen, Vice President, HR and Talent Management at Ad Exchange Group explains: “Listening is our biggest advantage. Effective HR leaders never rest on their laurels because they understand that business operations and innovation don’t wait around for the complacent.”

6. They stay grounded

“It’s easy in the midst of policies, procedures and initiatives to forget the ‘human’ element,” says Rohit Paul from Academy for Urban School Leadership.

“Early on in my career, I was surprised to find out that our director made every member of our team, regardless of title, log into the HR hotline and assist.

“Her agenda was simple: you learn the impact of the work you do when you connect with the people who are affected by it.”

7. They treat their staff well

Are you winning the war for talent?

Winning goes beyond just hiring the best people. It’s about offering them what they need so your organisation’s not just attracting but engaging and retaining top talent.

Flexible working is just one trend that sets companies apart in attracting the best. 80% of employees Sage polled placed importance and value on flexibility, so it’s no wonder 54% of people are willing to move jobs to work for a flexible employer.

However, less than half of non-shift working Australians feel they have a say in the hours they work. That’s significantly less than other countries, such as the UK where just 6% of employees still work 9-5.

Speaking at the AHRI national convention and exhibition, Robin Boomer, Senior Executive Advisor at global research and advisory firm Gartner, will explain the most effective ways to attract and keep top talent, including recent workforce trends and the role they play.

He’ll also reveal how you can prepare your organisation and HR team for technological and demographic changes.

8. They use data to inform decision making

Truly data-driven HR focuses analytics on the goal of adding value and driving performance across the organisation—all the time, not just every now and then, or on specific projects.

As HR and People leaders scale and build their teams to meet the demands of the business, they’ll increasingly need data insights at their fingertips to drive decision making.

9. They look to the future

Don’t get caught up in the idea the future is yet to come. As Dom Price will explain in his session at the AHRI national convention and exhibition, it’s already here.

The Head of Research and Development and Work Futurist at Atlassian will explain that the future of work will depend on overcoming present challenges like scaling and disruption.

Price will share the five ‘obsolete’ ways many of us work, with new approaches HR and People teams can take, all underpinned with real life examples. Price will also share some of the collaboration hacks he’s found over the years.

Free research report: The changing face of HR

Seismic shifts in the way organisations operate, work, and manage their people are occurring. We surveyed 500+ HR leaders to discover how they are responding.

Uncover insights on how to stay ahead and transform HR from a process focused function to a people driven business.

Download Report