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.
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
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 builder
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
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 listener
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
Few 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.