Aspiring HR Directors must commit to ongoing learning, says new research

by L&D18 Mar 2016
The typical HRD is someone that’s highly experienced and well-educated, with stakeholder engagement skills and a commitment to learning, a new report indicates.

The report by Hays Human Resources is titled DNA of an HRD and involved looking at responses from 461 HRDs in Australia and New Zealand.
“Over two-thirds have not always worked in HR and many argue this wider business experience gives them the commercial acumen they need to succeed once they do enter HR,” said Eliza Kirkby, Regional Director of Hays Human Resources
“They then typically gain additional HR qualifications, and are focused on their ongoing learning and development.”
Indeed, there is no one pathway to HRD, but to reach your goal you must commit to learning, said Trish Butler, General Manager Human Resources of Global Wealth, Group Innovation and Group Marketing at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ).
“Study, put yourself in new situations and take on challenges,” she said.
“Everyone gets to HRD in different ways, but they do it by accumulating knowledge and networks.”
The report also found that 66% like to stay up-to-date with industry and legislative changes and that 68% have recently attended a networking event to meet other HRDs.
Interestingly, HRDs are mixed when it comes to the qualifications HR practitioners should ideally attain.
Some argue that if you want to understand the science behind the discipline then learning psychology is a priority.
For instance, Ian Cormack, HR Director at Woolworths Food Group, has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology), Graduate Diploma in Organisational Psychology and a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration.
He claims in the report that a lot of HR people underutilise psychology.
“It’s like being a finance person without an accounting degree,” he said.
“HR is an intuitive discipline and so everyone has an opinion. If you study or read about psychology you come to understand the underlying science and body of knowledge that supports your discipline and why we do what we do in terms of remuneration, bonuses, diversity and communication.
“Then you’ve got research, not just opinion, behind the positions you take.”