10 skills for HR leaders to transform in 2023 and beyond

In just the past two-plus years, from the pandemic and geopolitical wars to an evolving workforce and talent shortage, change is happening … and it’s inevitable.

“When we think about transformation, one of the things that’s so important is we are all transformation agents, whether we like it or not,” Jason Averbook, CEO and founder of Leapgen, said Friday during his closing keynote at the HR Technology Conference & Expo.

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But transformation isn’t just an HRIS or aspect of technology alone, he warned, adding it’s important everyone in an HR leadership team understands what transformation is. “Transformation is not an HR tech thing. Transformation is a business thing,” he said.

And although transformation requires HR and company leaders to reach deployment—and maintain transformation beyond deployment—Averbook shares the particular skills HR teams will want to have for a successful change in 2023 and beyond.

  1. Change

This means being a promoter, leader and advocate for new behaviors, Averbook shared. “You need a change agent [on your team],” he said

  1. Design

This capacity focuses on creating innovation in strategy.

  1. Listening

This requires understanding and respect. “You’re leaving HR, going out into the business and listening for what you need,” he said. “If you don’t have a listener, you’re going to design things the same way forever.”

  1. Data

This person put the information you’ve collected into context, he said, which provides you value and allows you to make informed recommendations. “We have more data in the people function than we now what to do. But it sits there.”

  1. Agility

Your team needs to be responsive to shifts and able to change “on a dime when business changes,” he said.

  1. Adaptability

This skill makes sure your team is about unlearning and being able to think differently and change. “We in HR need to be abatable,” he said. “HR is one of the oldest professions in the world. If we don’t unlearn some of our ways, we keep taking our old practices … forward.”

  1. Storytelling

HR should be equipped to drive understanding, he said.  “All the stuff we do, we have to tell stories in a language that’s not the same language we do it in,” he added. “We have to do it quick, in 30 seconds in front of a CEO or CFO. We might make sense, but what do they speak? Cents.”

  1. Innovative

This is the boundary pusher. “We all have to be innovative. We all have to take information and use it, but at the right time,” he said.

  1. Collaboration

Purpose and inclusion need to be at the heart of HR’s work, he said. “The main job is to break silos,” he said. “We in HR have to stop working north-south, and we have to start working east-west.”

  1. Vision

This skill sees both the pulse of now and also sees around corners; visionary individuals are open-minded and bold, he said. “That’s realizing if they’re in a recession what we used to do in the sunny time we might have to change in a cloudy time and care about people’s financials.”

Nick Otto
Nick Otto is HRE’s senior digital editor. He is a professional communicator with more than a decade of demonstrated accomplishments in newspaper and trade publishing. He has spent the past five years covering the employee benefits space and holds bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida. He can be reached at notto@lrp.com or follow him on twitter @Ottografs.

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