If you are a senior HR professional, you may have started thinking about the next step in your career. Becoming a HR Director can often seem like the icing on top of a brilliant career cake, but are you really Director material? Being a HR Director can often be stressful and face-paced, but it can also be incredibly rewarding knowing that your actions could have a meaningful affect on the lives of workers.
“You can change the world when you work in HR.”
The HR Director has responsibility for the people strategy across the whole of an organisation which can include employee wellbeing, development, recruitment, reward, employee relations, engagement, diversity and inclusion and any change programmes that could arise – not a job for the faint of heart!
To be a successful HR Director, there are certain key skills and competencies that you must possess, including:
Stakeholder management skills – you must be able to build relationships across very diverse client groups
You must be commercially minded with strong emotional intelligence and ability to balance ‘business’ with ‘people’
Solid organisation skills
Rounded HR generalist experience across many different areas of HR
But what does a typical day in the office look like for a HR Director? To find out, we spoke to some HR Directors that we know to try and paint a picture of what an average day entails.
You wake up bright and early, ready to start your day and head into the office for a full day of problem-solving.
You arrive at the office, coffee in hand, and sit down at your desk to have a quick look at your emails, before making sure that you’re prepared for a board meeting with the company stakeholders. Whilst answering a few quick enquiries, you finish up your coffee and make a few notes on tasks to do later that day.
It’s now time to attend a board meeting to keep on top the business priorities and objectives in the short, medium and long term in order to develop an aligned people strategy. You also discuss people priorities and areas of focus with the other members of the board.
Board meeting over, you head back to your desk (stopping at the kitchen to make yourself a cup of tea on the way!) and begin preparing for an interview you will be conducting later that day with another member of your team, where you’re hoping to make a critical hire for your organisation. You also have time to make a couple of quick emails to your team, feeding back some of the outcomes of the board meeting that you attended, as well as getting caught up on the progress of some of their projects and providing support where needed.
Lunchtime! You nip out to grab a sandwich, and then settle down at a table with some other HR team members. Over lunch, you catch up with each other about how they are, and what’s happening in their lives. It’s important to remember to look out for your own team, too!
Back at your desk again, you quickly catch up on more emails – a colleague in the HR team needs some advice on a tricky situation, so you pick up the phone for a quick chat and to offer your support.
You have an hours’ coaching session with a member of your HR team. You’re helping them develop and hone their skills, as well as building their confidence in their abilities. This is essential to ensuring you have a well-rounded and developed HR team, but you also really enjoy helping your colleagues develop their skills.
Time for a quick tea break! Whilst brewing up, you quickly check in with your team to see if they need any help and to catch up with the latest progress on the various HR projects they're working on.
Time for a meeting with a senior manager to discuss their top performers, who could be on a succession plan, and what support and development they need. You come away from the meeting loving what you do – helping develop people is what you were born to do!
You dedicate the last hour of your day to reviewing feedback from a recent employee engagement survey and using the data to begin to map out actions for the company. Reviewing feedback can always be a mixed bag, but it’s a great feeling when you see the processes that you helped put in place making a real positive impact on the working lives of your organisations employees.
Calling it a day
By the time you get home, you are absolutely exhausted but content. Being a HR Director may be a tiring and demanding role, but the feeling you get from helping people with their career is unbeatable.
Time for dinner, a little relaxing, and then bed… before another jam-packed day in the office tomorrow!
Your Dream Career?
Does this sound exactly like the sort of challenge you are seeking? Don’t mind the prospect of long, full days filled with problem solving and developing teams? Then becoming a HR Director might just be your perfect career.
To understand if your experience fits the bill and to discuss opportunities give us a call on 0161 359 3789 (Manchester) or 0207 871 7665 (London). You can also send us your questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.