The Future of HR, part 11: Top HR Teams

27th, January 2013
 
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by Tom Haak
 
in  Leadership, The Future of HR
 
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Teamplayer (1)

Next week is the last week of one of the members in my team. She will move (internally) to a bigger job in the UK. We have worked nearly six years together, and I will certainly miss her! For years basically the corporate HR team was the two of us, with a lot of support of the HR teams in the regions and our long-term partners outside the company. Luckily we were able to add two other HR professionals to the team, which I now consider a world-class HR team. What are, in my view, crucial elements for a top international HR team (in no particular order)?

  1. Trust
    Trust is the basis. The team members should trust each other. It helps if they like each other as well.
  2. Connections inside
    The ability to build good connections in the organization is crucial. Knowing the business, knowing the leaders, knowing the talent.
  3. Connections outside
    Connections outside are equally important. Where can we find reliable and innovative partners? What can we learn from other organizations? Where is talent we can maybe hire? How do we get the best interns?
  4. Professionalism
    Speaks for itself. Without a high level of professionalism it is difficult to be the best.
  5. Sense of humor
    A team that cannot laugh, especially about themselves, is utterly boring. And who wants to work in a boring team?
  6. Diversity
    It s more difficult, also for me, to build a diverse team. You tend to look for people you like, and sometimes you maybe hire people who are too much like you. Even is a small team diversity helps. Gender, education, international background, experience, view on HR, team role preferences: more diversity helps (if the values are not too diverse).
  7. Having a vision and a plan
    Where are we going? Where can we have the biggest impact? Where is our focus? These all help to improve the effectiveness of the team. A small team can have a high impact, if they distribute their energy in the right way.
  8. Not being picky
    There is always boring work too be done. There are always deadlines to be met at moments that are not convenient. In a high performance team this is no issue. Nobody is picky, everybody is willing to contribute, also in difficult times.
  9. Honesty and Openness
    Honesty and Openness go hand in hand. Easier said than done though. Constructive conflict is part of top teams. Do not go with the flow, but speak up when you do not agree.
  10. Stability
    Some stability in a team helps. It takes time to get to know each other. Fast job rotations do not help. Too stable is also not good, the difficulty is to find the right balance. Sometimes you wish (I wish…) that a team can go on forever, but this is hardly ever possible (nor beneficial).

There were others on my gross list. As the ability to challenge the status quo, pragmatism and result focus. But I will stick to 10. And ask my team tomorrow to rate ourselves on these aspects.

Dutch translation of this blog post here.

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About the Author: Tom Haak