Human Resources

What the Data Tells Us About the Contemporary HR Director

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The modern HR director is a tech-savvy millennial, fluent in social media and touch screen mobile devices and ready to fill some big, Gen X shoes.

A jack of all trades, she probably didn’t always know what she wanted to do, but stumbled into the field of HR when she realized she was a people person who enjoyed solving others’ problems most. There’s a 50-50 chance he stays away from politics, choosing to walk to the beat of his own hybrid views influenced by millions of online voices. With a strong sense of independence, the modern HR director is 74 percent likely to be single until age 32 and might fully dedicate himself to work in the absence of a spouse.

Related: Is It Time to Outsource Human Resources?

Upon waking, he probably has a handful of mobile devices within reach, if only his smartphone, which he will probably check 110 times that day.

Gen X and Baby Boomers beware. Soon, the HR department will be handed down to this new generation of hiring managers. As long as companies choose the right millennials for the job, it can bring positive change to people management. Here are a few tips for choosing the right modern HR director:

1. Scope out her social media. How does she present herself online? Does she have many connections on LinkedIn? Does she have any endorsements, recommendations, or social proof of her skills? How does she use social media and communicate to others? If her Facebook is laden with obscene language and drunken selfies, consider looking at other candidates.

2. Determine his level of motivation and engagement. Make sure he’s not going to be another one of the 67 percent of millennials disengaged on the job. Check the candidate’s work history for any promotions or opportunities for career advancement that may have led to accepting a new position. Ask about hobbies outside of work. Motivated candidates show a thirst for learning and self-development or community participation.

3. Ask how she measures performance. First, make sure the way she plans to measure and track performance aligns with company needs. Performance is dynamic and sometimes hard to quantify. If she suggests a human capital management software, it’s a good sign. Many of these programs integrate all functions of HR into one and allow managers to provide feedback as often as needed through documented reports.

Related: Why We Replaced (In)Human Resources with 'Employee Experience'

4. Access his leadership ability. Great leaders are inquisitive, forward-thinking people who aren’t afraid to stand out. Is he bold enough to ask questions? Does he like to help others? Ask the candidate how his friends would describe him. If he mentions organizing events or initiating after-work hangouts, he’s probably a natural leader which is a vital quality in an HR director.

Here’s how the modern HR director can help businesses grow:

She speaks “millennial” and probably a little “Gen Z.” A millennial herself, she “gets” the people she manages. She’ll be able to relate to Gen Y and Z, and therefore communicate more effectively when hiring and managing talent. She’ll handle the requests of Gen Z like, “Can I telecommute once a week?” without a blink, and may organize make-your-own sushi socials. Her people management tactics will go a long way in retaining talent, which means less money lost from labor turnover.

He’ll be an opinion leader. Sure, he’ll be a member of multiple LinkedIn groups where he scrolls through updates and articles, keeping his eye out for great talent, but he’ll also likely be an opinion leader, publishing articles on industry trends. His insights will gain a following of talented professionals who’d jump at the chance to work for him.

She’ll be a modern networker. Networking is a continuous process, and she’ll constantly be on a peripheral scan for talent in all her social networks both in person and online. When her company has an open position, she’ll be ready to fill it with one of her Twitter followers she has in mind. No more struggling with prolonged job vacancies. She knows how to use all the right social media channels to recruit top talent.

He has an entrepreneurial mindset. Growing up in the Millennial generation, at one time he may have thought like the 67 percent of millennials who want to start a business. Like 92 percent of millennials, he believes entrepreneurial education is important in the new job market. Equipped with the knowledge and motivation it would take to run a business, he will take ownership of the HR department and drive it to success.

The modern HR director will influence all areas of employee engagement, recognition, performance management, hiring and more -- with a new tech-driven spin. She might be on her phone a lot, but she also might automate and integrate many of these HR functions, knowing how to harness the power of technology to achieve ultimate efficiency. Choose the right one, and watch business grow.

Related: The Importance of an HR Policies & Practices Strategy