The key competency for 2014? Rolling up your sleeves!

Published: 21 July 2014

In the world of search, we are used to taking briefs, understanding competency, skill and experience requirements, and finding people to meet the criteria. These change depending on the role, organisation and who is hiring.

Over the last five years in my world, HR, there have been common themes that clients have been looking for: commerciality, the ability to influence at all levels, strong stakeholder management etc. Over the last year however, top of every list might not even be a competency, it is more a behaviour or attitude. We are now always being asked to find people who will "roll up their sleeves and deliver".

So what does this mean? And why is it so sought after?

Most organisations are now lean, layers of management have been stripped out as well as support staff and as a result, roles are now broader with people required to go up and down from the strategic to the operational. One minute a Director will be speaking with the board, the next they will be getting in to the details, delivering operationally. Because of this, organisations need someone who has a willingness to get their hands dirty, not talk strategy from an Ivory Tower. This does not take away from the strategic responsibility and expectation to provide a commercial view, contributing to the direction of the business, but 2014 is very much about doing things, not talking about them.

In many ways, HR functions are re-focusing on getting the basics right; ensuring a sound employee self-service is operating, allowing the business to access HR solutions on their own, freeing up time for the function to go out in to the business, adding value through talent management, succession planning and leadership development.

Under-pinning this and ensuring credibility to the function is strong, accurate and timely delivery of some of the HR basics and HR Technology is clearly making this easier and employees are engaging with programs such as Workday more than they did with SAP.

If you are thinking of making a move yourself this year and are crafting your CV, of course ensure you include your strategic capabilities, however also let your next potential employer know that you are willing to get your hands dirty and deliver operationally, not just talk about theoretical HR and "best-practice" and you might find yourself in great demand.

Tim Baker is a Consultant within the HR Practice at Berwick Partners

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