What makes a great HR professional?

HR is a difficult job category to hire in. On paper, most HR CVs look the same. HR should be one of the most transferable functions, we might think people in financial services and retail are different but, fundamentally, are they really?

How do you know the difference between the good, the bad and the ambivalent?

In one word. IMPACT.

Easy to say, but difficult to work out sometimes. For example, if you put a training plan in place and then the sales team increased sales, who takes the credit? Did the HR person do this or was it the sales leadership team?

I am likely to go with the latter.

So, what are the measurables that people can talk about?

There are the normal ones that people raise such as:

  • Retention
  • Turnover
  • Exec hires
  • Market value of the organisation
  • Revenue and profits
  • Productivity, quality, service, satisfaction
  • Quality of the workforce

They should be absolute basics these days, if you don’t have a handle on them, then that’s a big RED flag…

What the exceptional HR people do is to cut through all this and relate the HR stuff to the business’s objectives.

Answer 1. You reduced turnover by 25%. Who cares!

Answer 2. You retained the sales director and their direct reports, by introducing an incentive programme that tied them in and ensured that they delivered. This team delivered X increased sales growth for the organisation. I would imagine most CEOs would be quite keen to hear this!

Other areas to consider relating impact towards are customer satisfaction, financial performance – top and bottom line, or driving a change agenda.


James Cumming is our MD and leads our Interim Transformation practice. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.

If you would like to find out more about re:find and how we can support you and your business, then please get in touch.