Revealed: Skills of a future-ready HRD

Are you a ‘deal broker’ or a ‘boundary spanner’? HRD chats to the Centre for Creative Leadership’s VP and MD for APAC, Dr Ronald Smith, about what a future-ready HRD should look like

The role of the HRD is transforming into more of a “deal broker” position, according to the APAC VP and MD of a global leadership firm with a Singapore base.

Reflecting on the Centre for Creative Leadership’s latest whitepaper - Creating a Dynamic and Sustainable Talent Ecosystem - Dr Roland Smith took a moment out of his busy schedule to chat to HRD Singapore about what a future-ready HRD needs to look like.

“Simply put - they need to be a strategic partner,” he said.

“There are some attributes that have been identified for the future HRD leader to be more successful: a set of communication skills, the ability to think strategically, and with business acumen.”

But looking after the ethics and integrity of those within the organisation is also fast becoming part of a HRDs job description, Dr Smith said.

“We assume people have high levels of ethics and integrity; but over time it seems like the HR person is often the reminder within the organisations, along with legal counsel, about what’s right and what’s ethical.”

CCL’s research has shown HR leaders also need to be what they coin as ‘boundary spanners’, “to be able to go between and together with other organisation units and functions to bring organisations together,” he said.

“I think it is becoming more and more important for an HR person to become a deal broker, to match needs of different organisations and individuals within organisations. I would almost call that a system integrator role.”

Another continual and ongoing issue for the HRD is balancing the interests of the company with the interests of employees.

“Regardless of what the job title is, employees kind of look to the HR function as the one that is looking out for the employee.

“So that’s always a dynamic situation, because of course the business wants the HR person to look out for the best interests of the business. The employees hope that the HR person is looking out for their best interests. So it’s a very important role in what I would say is providing a relationship with the organisation, and even increasing the level of trust between employees and organisations.”

Overall, he conceded, the role of an HRD was a “pretty comprehensive” one.

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