SHRM Identifies Five Core HR Competencies

June 23, 2003 ( - The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has released the Human Resource Competency Toolkit identifying five key competencies HR professionals need in order to impact business financial performance.

The Toolkit, developed in conjunction with the University of Michigan Business School and the Global Consulting Alliance, includes an online HR Competency Self-Assessment instrument and the guidebook Competencies for the New HR, in addition to the five competencies. Professors Wayne Brockbank and Dave Ulrich from the University of Michigan Business School with help from their Project Manager, Dave Yakonich, developed the Toolkit, according to a news release.

Based on the Human Resource Competency Study, the Toolkit is designed to provide a framework for developing the skills, knowledge, and behaviors that will allow HR professionals to add greater value to their organizations. The study found that, taking into account these five core competencies, HR practices, contributions and activities impact business performance – financial performance of the business over the last three years compared to major competitors – by approximately 10%.

Those competencies were:

  • Strategic Contribution – accounts for nearly half of HR’s total influence on business performance. Strategic Contribution further can be broken down into four sub-categories: culture management, fast change, involvement in business decision making and leveraging customer information to create unified and customer focused organizations.
  • Personal Credibility – the research finds it critical that HR have effective relationships with key people inside and outside the organization, delivering results and establishing a reliable track record. Included in this area are effective written and verbal communication skills.
  • HR Delivery – encompasses the HR activities that are traditionally associated with the HR function. There are six major factors within this domain: staffing, development, organizational structure, HR measurement, legal compliance and performance management.
  • Business Knowledge – to become key players in the organization, HR professionals must understand their organizations and the industries in which they work. Further, the knowledge must be applied to make strategic contributions.
  • HR Technology – HR professionals need to be able to use HR technology and Web-based channels to deliver services to employees.

The HR Competencies Study included over 7,100 respondents from 241 companies that were distributed globally across a variety of industries of all sizes. Data were gathered from three sources: HR professionals evaluating themselves; HR colleagues or associates evaluating the HR professional participating in the study; and non-HR associates. The HR Competency Toolkit is based on data from the non-HR associates.