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5 Top qualities of a great HR leader in aiding business recovery

The events of the past 18 months or so have been extraordinary for businesses. Even for some of the UK’s best-known brands, Brexit and/or Covid have had crushing effects, with data from the London School of Economics suggesting that 900,000 businesses were at risk of failing in Q1, 2021. The impact of Brexit was always going to be a game changer for many but add into the mix the unpredictable disruptions caused by the Covid19 pandemic, and it is not surprising that countless organisations have found themselves dealing with anything but ‘business as usual.’

But regardless of how hard your business has been hit by the events of recent times, it seems now is the period for planning recovery, improvement, and expansion as we tentatively but optimistically look forward to better times.

For an effective business recovery plan, you will need input from talent from across your business, and you will almost certainly require the involvement of HR. So, if you are looking for a HR professional to join your team and be a major player in your business recovery strategy, we have put together five top qualities to look out for in a HR leader.

1. The ability to communicate with and engage employees

Whilst a given for any HR professional the importance of communication during business recovery is particularly high.

In the wake of Covid and Brexit, employees have been left demotivated and in need of reassurance. So, when looking for a HR leader to join your company, ensure they are just that…a leader, who can engage, motivate, encourage, and inspire your staff.

One of the biggest challenges is communicating effectively across lots of different channels, and engaging employees who are now used to working remotely. Search for someone with the personality, drive and technological skills who can work closely with your marketing department to put first-class internal and external communication plans in place

2. Exceptional organisation

A vital part of your business recovery plan is to have proposals in place for any further potential emergencies. HR leaders are the perfect people to champion policies and procedures and will have all the legal and ethical know-how to do this effectively.

Seek out HR candidates who you are confident can create contingency plans to prepare you for any eventuality. You will further want to ensure they can assist you in implementing guidelines for managing remote working (or any other working models) that mean you can continue to operate in any circumstance.

3. A good business acumen

Long gone are the days when HR deal with on/offboarding, grievances and training alone. Nowadays, businesses need their HR leaders to be business savvy.

To add real value and play an active role in developing your business recovery plan, HR leaders need to understand all aspects of your business. They should be strategic, with a good all-round commercial knowledge so that they can be clear on how HR can best support your company’s growth. Look out for individuals who not only have HR expertise, but can demonstrate an understanding of finance, marketing, sales, and overall business strategy.

4. Strong analytical skills

Another key quality in a HR leader is the ability to manage and analyse big data. Your ‘people data’ - also sometimes referred to as workforce or HR analytics - is information gathered from HR systems, salary surveys and other departments within your business. It is essential for providing important insight that will aid business recovery.

Look to appoint a HR leader with experience in analysing workplace trends and HR initiative or policy outcomes so that you can quickly highlight what works for your company.

5. Confidence in making decisions

While outstanding interpersonal skills and empathy are a must, you also need to be confident that your HR leader can be assertive in making difficult decisions.

Choose a HR professional who can prioritise your business needs when making essential strategic decisions. This particularly applies when looking at staff redundancies that may be necessary. Although UK unemployment peaked at 14.5 in 1000 between September and November 2020, as of August 2021 employment is on the up again and you will need to trust that the HR leader you appoint can be decisive and prioritise the needs of your business when managing your workforce.

With many of our clients currently sharing they are ‘repairing operations’ or ‘planning for growth’, we are working nationally with HR specialists who have the skills and experience to drive businesses forward through developing and implementing critical business recovery plans. If you are ready to get your business back on track after a testing couple of years, we can introduce you to talented HR individuals who can help. Contact us today to start your road to recovery.

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