Imagine your business as a chess board and all the departments in your company represent a single chess piece. As CEO, you’d be the queen – the most powerful player on the board and the guiding piece behind any game. So which department is the second most important piece? That would be your HR team acting as the bishop, particularly when they act as pairs. Your HR team has a two fold purpose. First, they act as gate keepers to your company, controlling who gets in and. Second, they take on the role on a subtle management role that guides other players to position themselves in the most strategic location. The great HR team will not only get you the best talent, but they’ll work to create a synergy within your existing pool of employees – one that (like a bishop) thinks of long-range capabilities.

The Eight Traits of Winning HR Department
In order to be a trusted resource for your employees, a winning HR team should have several areas of interest, including (1) leadership & executive coaching, (2) leadership development programs, (3) training and development, (4) facilitation, (5) performance management, (6) recruitment & executive search, (7) outplacement & career consulting, and (8) critical incident management. The first five traits are not only all cyclical in nature, but also often the most overlooked in HR teams.

Leadership and executive coaching is about working with employees looking for long-term career growth. Here the goal is to have a conversation to identify an employee’s interests, assess potential gaps, and identify specific action steps. Coaching results in individuals making better use of their personal and professional strengths, modifying limiting behavior, and making more appropriate and fulfilling decisions. Once an employee has been coached, HR can best identify well-suited training and development programs for the individuals, which are also of an incentive to the employee communicating an employer’s long-term interest in them. In this area that HR can also come back and help guide performance management, a process that is now less invasive since an employee has been worked with. Performance management is far more preferable than the yearly review which is really nothing short of a yearly audit.

Once those fundamental employee-specific needs are met, HR can move forward with facilitation – which is gauged at increasing total group productivity, enhancing communication, stimulating creativity, and boosting morale. Smaller more budget constrained HR departments might do well with relying on HR consultants for greater needs that include analysis, recommendations, assistance with organizational changes, implementing major initiatives, or targeting an existing niche issue.

Profile of an HR Team Member
HR is stereotyped as being somewhere between a drone and a suit, depending on how established your company is. In either case, these people are neither respected nor trusted – and usually for good reason since they’re not really there for your best interest. At least, that’s the picture the company may have inadvertently painted, reaffirmed, or left unchallenged. Here’s what an HR team member should look like. They should be veterans in the above 8 points. They should be counselors who understand people and can appreciate the art of communication. They should be people who get that HR isn’t about a one-off interaction, but about consistently maintained relationships that are nurtured so you get a employee cultivated to his or her maximum potential. When conducting your own HR employee search, you might do well to go through an agency that can get you a veteran in this field. Next, discuss your goals with your new head of HR and let them lead the way in building a team that’s made up of career counseling, psychology, crisis management, and education to name a few.