Managing Human Resources: What Do You Want to Be Known For?

by Lauren Girardin on December 15, 2016

As an HR professional, your personal brand is one of your most important assets. It’s a mix of who you are, what you’re known for, and how well you’ve proved what you can do. It’s partly the persona you craft and partly the reputation you earn.

Having the right personal brand qualities can help you be recognized for the talents that make you into the great human resources professional you are—or want to become. It demonstrates your credibility to people inside and outside your organization, even if they’ve never had a chance to work with you. It signals the areas over which you deserve to have authority, and also clarifies how you as a human resources professional are an asset at your organization.

TWEET: Having the right personal brand qualities can help you be recognized for the talents that make you into the great HR professional you are.

What personal brand characteristics can help you be a more successful public sector HR professional? What do you want staff and leaders at your organization to say about you? How should you strive to brand yourself?

1. Truth teller 
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Executive coach and behavioral researcher David Noer recommends that HR professionals be known as “truth tellers.” In his book Keeping Your Career on Track, Noer defines a truth teller as “someone you trust with the visibility and willingness to tell you the  truth about the impact of your behavior on others.” When you brand yourself as an HR truth teller, people count on you to help them understand how their words, actions, decisions, and even body language affects other people. You give people objective insight about their own behavior so they can become their best selves.

2. Team builderthumbnail-2.png

When your personal brand includes being a team builder, you are known for your talent for bringing people together as a cohesive, collaborative unit. You’re respected for nurturing each individual’s needs and talents, without letting them neglect their place on the team. You align people and their individual priorities so they work toward the same shared goals. Others understand that you’re not just cultivating camaraderie, you’re building people’s skills in conflict resolution, communication, leadership, and more.

3. Solutions catalyst
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It’s good to be a problem solver when needed, but HR will get bogged down if you spend all your time solving other people’s problems for them. Brand yourself as a solutions catalyst by encouraging people to stop fixating on the problem and start thinking of smart solutions. You have a reputation as someone who is facilitator of innovative ideas, rather than a savior of people stuck in victim mode. You’re recognized for helping people find a way to shift their attitude and actions toward tackling the obstacles that keep them from achieving their goals.

4. Empathetic listenerthumbnail-4.png

Human resources cannot succeed without great interpersonal communications, and great communication starts with listening. When empathetic listener is part of your personal brand, people believe you care about their thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. Staff entrusts you with information that gives you deeper insights into the true strengths and weaknesses of your organization. You’re sought out for your ability to reduce tension, guide people toward greater self-awareness and accountability, and help people work through their issues.

5. Creative strategist

thumbnail-5.pngFew HR professionals want to be branded as merely a paper pusher responsible for hiring, firing, payroll, and benefits. When you’re known as a creative strategist, colleagues count on you to come up with plans that support employee growth in ways that also advance and even accelerate the success of the organization. You go beyond one-size-fits-all human resources practices to devise inspired approaches that motivate staff and leadership alike.

What’s your personal brand?

These are just some of the personal brand qualities that can help you be a more successful public sector HR professional. Your personal brand is unique to you. Take time to assess what can support your success in your current job and move you along the career path you want—and then start shaping your personal brand.

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Lauren Girardin

Lauren Girardin is a marketing and communications consultant, writer, and speaker based in San Francisco. She helps organizations engage their communities and tell their stories. Her website is laurengirardin.com and you can connect with her on Twitter at @girardinl.