What Senior HR Leaders Need to Know


Beginning in March 2009, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducted a poll among HR professionals in the United States, Canada, India, the Middle East and North Africa about the most important competencies—defined as knowledge, skills, abilities and other qualities—for senior HR leaders. SHRM partnered with the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA) to collect poll data in Canada through eight of its nine provincial associations. SHRM India, a wholly owned subsidiary of SHRM, organized data collection among HR professionals in India. Poll participants were presented with a list of 18 important competencies for senior HR leaders, as identified through recent SHRM qualitative research with HR leaders and members of the academic community. From this list, poll respondents were asked to identify the top five competencies for senior HR leaders in general, weigh in on how those competencies may change in importance five years into the future and share their opinions about the extent to which the top competencies can be cultivated. Further, respondents were asked about competencies needed for HR leadership roles within global organizations and during times of economic crisis. This executive summary presents an analysis of the 2009 HR Leadership Competencies Poll results and examines differences among countries in beliefs about the qualities required of the most successful senior HR leaders.