Mon, Dec 20, 2010
There’s a pretty good chance that if you’ve read an HR or recruiting blog, you’ve read something by Lance Haun. A prolific (and profound) writer, his byline’s nearly as ubiquitous on talent management blogs as the terms “thought leadership” or “influence.”
Beyond the buzzwords, by any definition, it’s clear that Lance epitomizes both concepts, his name on a very short list of our industry’s most influential thinkers and writers. That’s why when we saw Lance’s latest project, we wanted to get a little more insight on what it takes to be an “HR Star” from someone who’s been there.
1. Tell us a little about your HR Stars project. What inspired you to undertake this?
Rypple approached me and wanted to sponsor a content series on my blog, Rehaul.com. We went back and forth on this idea about highlighting people who are out there in HR making a difference and being visible too (particularly on social media). We got some nominations and put together a list from those to highlight. Over the last few months, I did a series of e-mail and/or phone interviews to put together the features on these people highlighting their rise into HR, what makes them stars and highlighting their work.
Hearing how everyone got into HR is probably my favorite part. Nobody takes the same path. And hearing interesting tidbits about day-to-day HR still doesn’t get old.
2. What does it take to be an “HR Star?”
One thing that has really stuck out to me about everyone we’ve featured has been the amount of time these people spend volunteering, writing, producing resources and being mentors for other HR professionals. They think outside the box and aren’t afraid to stand up and speak out about issues.
Most of the people we’ve highlighted are practitioners too so these people not only do it well on a day-to-day basis but also carry a progressive message about the potential of great human resources practices.
3. What advice do you have for HR professionals who are looking to build their influence and thought leadership imprint?
Another thing I found while talking with these people is that none of them asked permission to become influential. There’s no secret handshake and you don’t have to get permission from existing influencers to participate. You can start a blog like I did, start a local networking group like Steve Browne or create a new conference like Ben Eubanks, Trish McFarlane and Steve Boese.
All of these people gave their time, energy, and creativity before they got anything in return. People see that you’re doing something special and they want to be a part of it. The recognition and the following that many of these people have (or are working on) is part of that formula too.
4. In your opinion, how have star players in our industry evolved over the last few years? What will the HR Star of the future look like?
Honestly, I think the biggest change has been real time recognition. In the past, people who performed well in HR were rewarded at the end of their careers. Now you see that HR star talent is recognized in near real time. If you do something great in the fifth year of your career, that’s what should be recognized as well as if you had done it in your 30th year.
It is hard to sense if it is because of the economy or just business culture changes but even in the past decade, HR folks have become less siloed. HR people who can proficiently navigate through the organization, get optimal results and then share their work and themselves with a larger group (whether that be in real life, on social media or whatever other new technology comes up).
5. What can companies do to attract and develop their own HR stars? Are there any specific best practices you’ve seen emerge?
I think there are some pretty key steps there. Identifying HR stars was always the hardest step but it seems to be getting easier now. When looking at attraction, most of these people are looking for interesting projects, brainstretching problems to solve and freedom to collaborate across both the organization and the contacts they’ve made. When looking at an in-house star you may have, they’ll be looking to build a network as well as thought leadership so giving them a voice in the organization, the industry and in HR is going to help build them a bunch.
With the HR stars I’ve talked to so far, their organizations have either actively encouraged them to be active on social media or got out of their way for the most part. That indicates a certain flexibility to the kind of time it takes to be actively engaged with their community and is really the only way to get business value out of social media, networking and other in-person connections.
Please note that this post is not part of the HR Stars Series, but hopefully after reading it, you’ll want to check it out on Lance’s blog at www.rehaul.com.