11/28/2011 02.45 EDT
In the executive search world, I often hear several “ideal profiles” when companies are looking for new human resources leaders; however, most companies have one thing in common: they want a solid human resources generalist who “knows their stuff” across a variety of functional areas.
In addition to broad-based human resources skills, talent management, leadership development and sometimes executive compensation expertise are critical. While the most frequently discussed traits in the ideal description include business-oriented, passionate, trusted advisor, emotionally intelligent and high-energy, the importance of these competencies vary based on the business – is the company global or domestic? Growth-oriented or contracting? Publicly or privately-held?
Some questions you may want to ask to help clarify the ideal human resources profile for your company may include:
Depending on the answers to these questions, the profile of the human resources leader may be different from company to company. However, although each senior HR candidate may have their own unique nuances, almost all companies are interested in identifying talented human resources leaders who possess core functional expertise, business focus and “softer skills.” While this may not sound like a tall order, finding executives with the appropriate functional qualifications, interpersonal skills and leadership style is very difficult – especially human resources leaders who have a strong business focus.
If you have human resources leaders matching this description, you should keep them close, as they are most likely on the radar screen of the retained executive search community. How should you go about this? Engage them. Give them challenging assignments. Recognize them for their contributions. Reward them. If you do that, it may prevent you from having to replace them. You might even thank me for it.