Knowledge, Confidence and Competitiveness = Success in HR #HRTechConf

If you had to break it down to what makes a successful HR department what would you say were the key characteristics?  Having the right leaders in place within an organization is essential.  As an HR professional, I believe there are 3 things that HR leaders must possess to ensure you have a seat at the table and can make a difference within an organization.   HR departments often struggle to gain the respect of Senior Leadership and Management.   Without knowledge, confidence and competitiveness, it is my personal belief that your HR team won’t succeed.

3 key characteristics to be successful in hr


Let’s face it.  You have to know what you are doing.  You have to have the education.  You have to have the experience.  You can fake it for a while, but if you don’t really know what you are doing, it will show.  People will begin to lose confidence in you.  Once confidence is lost, then you will never have success at that company.

Getting your degree helps.  Having your SPHR helps.  Experience is essential.  As someone who has a Master’s Degree in HR, I know a degree means nothing without experience.   I had to start at the bottom.  You have to learn the ropes.  Companies do train people.  You will get your experience, but you have to sacrifice to move ahead in HR.  Simply having a degree will not guarantee any success without experience.

Once you get that knowledge and experience, no one can ever take that away from you.  An HR department with Knowledge is headed for success, one without is doomed.


So, you can have all of the knowledge and experience in the world, but you have to have confidence in your abilities to succeed.  You have to know and stand up for yourself.  If you don’t stand up for yourself, peers and management will walk all over you.  If you really know what is right and how to handle a situation, you say it with confidence.

Too many times I have seen organizations tip toe around and make the wrong decisions even though the HR professional knows the right thing to do.  HR doesn’t always have to be everyone’s friend.  HR is in place to make difficult decisions and stir the water.   HR is in place to help the organization.  HR is no place for cowards, just people that exude confidence.


In order to have a successful company, it has to be competitive with other organizations.  You have to be competitive with pay, competitive with benefits, competitive with work life balance.  HR needs to have the tools in place for their team to be successful.  Without the tools in place, a company will get run over by its competition.   The HR professionals have to be competitive in nature and believe that they are going to be successful.

You have to have recruiters that are willing to go the extra mile to drive in talent.  They must have a winning attitude.  They can’t take no for an answer and have a track record for bringing in difficult hires.  Without the right talent in your organization, your company will never be successful.

So, there you have it.   It is my firm belief that if you do not have these 3 key characteristics your companies  HR department has an uphill battle.  They seem so simple, but so often overlooked.

What characteristics do you believe an HR department needs?

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Will Thomson

Will Thomson lives in Austin, Texas, and works for Rosetta Stone as the global sales and marketing recruiter. He has been in recruitment and sales for 20 years. He has recruited some of the most sought-after talent around the globe, and is a regular blogger for the recruitment industry. Connect with Will.


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