HR is one of the driving forces of today's most successful businesses.

Corporate work colleagues
Corporate work colleagues

Companies with solid HR departments excel at keeping employees happy, building competitive business models, and establishing themselves as in-demand employers.

So what separates great HR leaders from bad ones?

great HR leaders share these five characteristics:

A woman in the office looking away
A woman in the office looking away

powerful coaching skills

An HR leader must be committed to developing and coaching employees across all departments and specialties to be effective. When an HR leader can act as a mentor and support system, the company benefits from increased morale and more precise expectations.

a focus on inclusive relationships

Businesses that break up into stringently defined "sections" with little or no communication are doomed. Because of this, HR leaders who focus on developing inclusive relationships help companies succeed.

Effective ways to do this include hosting team-building exercises and developing relationships between departments (via loose seating charts, for example, or virtual collaborative platforms that encourage departments to work together on a project). In addition to unifying an operation, these steps also create more innovative environments.

widespread knowledge

To be an advantage to a company, an HR leader needs to be well-versed in general and industry-specific knowledge of labour laws and compensation standards. A broad knowledge base allows the HR leader to create a fairer workplace and ensure the rights of all the company's employees are respected.

ability to lead by example

Great HR leaders show their employees what they expect by modelling it firsthand. For example, HR leaders who wanted to implement a new protocol could help employees learn the ropes by modelling the protocol themselves. In addition to inspiring respect, this approach to HR leadership also helps create a cohesive work environment in which company policy is clear and well understood.


Great HR leaders don't wait for problems to resolve themselves. Instead, they go after them proactively, saving a company time, effort and stress down the road. For example, a great HR manager would notice that an individual employee is 

causing tension in the workspace and seek to resolve the issue with the employee before complaints from other employees begin to surface. This would maintain morale in the workspace and head complex personnel issues off before they had a chance to develop.

Today, it's crucial for companies that want to succeed in their market to have a strong HR department. When HR leaders possess these five traits, they can better serve and improve a company and ensure employees' rights are protected across the board.

For further articles and advice on employer branding, strategic talent management, employment trends and employee engagement and retention, visit Randstad's knowledge centre workforce360 today.

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