At HRLife we have a strapline that we thought long and hard over. It’s ‘People People’.
Now, we didn’t pick it because you only have to remember one word!
No, we chose it, one – because it represents the most common answer we get when we talk to candidates about why they love HR. ‘People people’ are drawn to the profession. It’s not surprising, because after all, HR is the business of people, isn’t it? And two, because we feel it sums us up! We spend our days surrounded by candidates, clients and suppliers. Our strength is our network of people, which we have been building for years, and our ability to identify the right talent for the right businesses.
So, how important is it to be a ‘people person’ in HR in 2024?
Well, the days of HR being more of a personnel function are thankfully long gone, and HR is now often the commercial partner with their finger on the pulse of the business. Virtually every brief we take will allude to finding an individual who is approachable, can communicate effectively and has excellent interpersonal skills…… a ‘people person’!
We can’t deny that the use of Artificial Intelligence within businesses is on the rise and that it is helping to streamline HR processes and reduce human input, however, having an HR function that exhibits ‘people people’ characteristics is surely always going to be necessary?
So, what characteristics might be attributed to a ‘people person’…. Well, a few suggestions might be; approachable, a good communicator, a good listener, a strong influencer, empathetic and so forth. Therefore, is it not imperative to have ‘people people’ in HR – after all they’re often the ‘go-to’ people responsible for engaging the workforce, communicating and embedding new ways of working and who is going to come to someone who is not open and approachable and able to empathise and listen patiently? Can you really HEAR a business case or an appraisal or a person at an interview unless you actively listen and question with genuine interest and empathy? There are countless facets of Human Resources where being a ‘people person’ is, surely, an absolute must!
So, can you become a better ‘people person’?
Some might argue that you’re either a people person or you’re not! Such individuals tend to be sociable, gregarious, outgoing and just enjoy the company of other people. That’s down to your personality. You’re either like that, or you’re not – right?
But ‘people people’ also tend to be great communicators. They can diffuse difficult situations, and look for solutions, particularly when it comes to relationships. These are skills that can be learned. You can be introverted, but still communicate brilliantly! Now, whilst we’re sure, that for some individuals this ability to relate to others and be considered a ‘people person’ is intrinsic, we also believe that there are many traits that can be honed in order to become a better ‘people person’. For instance, listening is most definitely a skill that we can all work on and become better at! The better able we are to listen, the more able we become to retain details about people and conversations for the future. Here’s another – getting better at asking others thoughtful questions and showing genuine interest is an area where many of us can put practice in and get better outputs in our conversations and relationships!
And a final thought to leave you with in an attempt to improve our ‘people person’ skills, lies in putting more conscious thought into our verbal and non-verbal techniques. If we take time to gauge our tone, and levels of enthusiasm, mirroring others’ body language how much more might we be able to put people at ease and build our relationships to another level?
So, fellow ‘people people’, we think we can all agree how important it is to be a ‘people person’ in our business but let’s not take it for granted!
As with anything, there is always room for improvement and ways we can get there!