The Upscale HR Pro and My Performance Review.

Jessica Lee Jessica Lee, Performance

My annual review is coming up and this year, I’m asking for a fat raise, a company car and an extra three weeks of vacation… or else, I’m quitting! Just kidding. Actually, in light of my upcoming review, I’ve been thinking about the past year, my role within the organization, and of course, the state of HR, because for me, it’s not just about the work I do within my company, but it’s also about the brand of HR and the state of our profession on the whole.

I’ve taken a step back to look at the year behind me in preparation for my self-review and am trying to doHr ulrich model a bit of introspection… there were bumps along the way and there were wins. And I can think about tangible products or outcomes during the past year, but one thing I’m struggling a bit with is how well I’ve done more generally as an HR pro (versus how I’ve done in my role and achieving the specific organizational outcomes). Does that make sense? I guess it’s a question of what does it mean to be a top shelf HR pro and how I stack up against that.

Sure, I’ve complained about HR not being sexy in the past and have suggested remedies that are more along the lines of industry/profession-wide game changing moves. But, at an individual level, what does it mean to be an upscale or sexy HR pro?

Jon Ingham over at the Strategic HCM Blog has been talking lately about competencies for HR pros and this gave me a bit of a boost during my reflection. Jon cites a model taken from the RBL Group/Dave Ulrich where competencies for the HR pro would include three levels:  

Rail: value for money – operational executor

Mid shelf: adding value – strategy architect, business ally, change/culture steward, talent manager

Top shelf: creating value – credible activist

This is a good start and speaks to the activities an upscale HR pro might be involved in, and Jon himself has some good competencies that he outlines too. But, in diving even a bit deeper and detailing some key traits for the top shelf HR pro, here are some of the things I think are important to consider:

Culture champion – You’re a true and authentic reflection of the organization’s values and culture

Skills and abilities are just a starting point – It’s not just about, “Can they do it?”… You make decisions and advise on action based on values and motivation.

Consultative approach – You’re okay with the fact that HR doesn’t rule the world (yet), but you help others to see your point of view and act accordingly through influence and by providing consultative advice. You don’t ram process or policy (or often, common sense!) down anyone’s throat.

These three traits are just a starting point for describing the HR activist who creates value. What else would you add to this list though? When you think about the upscale HR pro who clearly “gets it” and has a seat at the table, what is it that makes them good at what they do?

As for me? I’m not perfect, and I probably need to be reminded here and there about what it takes to truly be an HR activist – but hey, that’s exactly what I’m looking forward to discussing at my review… because nope, I don’t think we should kill the performance review just yet.