It's been an incredible year for HR professionals all across Asia - from tackling work-life integration by finding ways to reduce stress to using a compressed workweek arrangement to boost employee engagement, to using technology to achieve a paperless and digitalised talent acquisition process.

In the backdrop of these accomplishments, we're featuring a list of HR superpowers going in to 2020, and we're confident that you'll love to continue working on these (and many more!) to bring HR to the next level, onwards and upwards.

The guidelines below are compiled from Hibob's new whitepaper, A Great HR Leader as well as through Human Resources Online's editorial team.

1. Know the basics

According to Folkman Zenger’s 5-year global study of 360º feedback on HR leaders, one of the attributes other members of the organisation highly value in HR leaders is their knowledge of labour laws, hiring practices, C&B, anti-discrimination policy, medical and family leave, occupational health and safety.

Three ways to improve your knowledge of HR fundamentals:

1. Subscribe to trade publications and websites: Global publications and websites like Harvard Business Review and Bersin by Deloitte are a great way to stay connected to studies and academic theory as it applies to the modern workplace. Closer home (here comes a self plug), Human Resources Online is devoted completely towards bolstering your approach towards HR strategy across Asia, and here's how you can stay posted on our e-bulletin.

2. Attend events: You’re probably already promoting peer-to-peer learning opportunities within your organisation, so doing the same with your counterparts in other organisations can be a key way to hear of tactics and strategies, get help solving knotty problems, receive recommendations for vendors and products, and focus on new and emerging areas of thought. [Check out these 15 networking tips at events and our upcoming 2020 events]

3. Upskill via courses and seminars: Continuous learning is a hallmark of great HR careers, so look out for degrees, short courses, diplomas, lectures, and online learning opportunities to help fill in any gaps in your (and your team’s) knowledge. Do check out our range of HR Masterclasses.

2. Embrace data

With a strong foundation in digital tools and capture mechanisms, here are just some of the ways data can be used:
  1. Automate and improve hiring and onboarding [How digital HR transformed onboarding at Novant Health]
  2. Measure productivity at individual, team, and enterprise levels [Potential productivity boost from working at home and telecommuting]
  3. Setting up clear project goals and targets, as well as measuring them [How Jewel Paymentech helped employees prioritise what’s urgent and outcomes that matter]
  4. Predict and prevent employee churn at an individual level [Managing HR tech transformation in a rapidly-growing business]
Three ways to get data literate:

1. Understand the benefits of data: It’s worth spending some time reading case studies and reports on just how powerful big data can be to areas like engagement and retention, productivity, and performance. This may also mean learning from others. For example, accessing the expertise of a consultant or a data scientist to connect the theory to the practicalities of your organisation.

2. Use the right tools: The price of getting the wrong tool can be great – in cost, productivity, and engagement, so it’s essential that you undertake significant research in the selection of these tools by requesting demos, seeking a range of tenders, asking the sales associates as many questions possible, and trialing the product before buying.

3. Upskill your people: You’ll have to be the biggest advocate for data in order to gain buy-in and traction in your organisation. You’ll also need to create opportunities for your people to learn how to use any tools you introduce, designing training, or bringing in experts.

3. Be innovative and strategic

There are three main pillars of design thinking:
  • Empathy: Understanding the needs and problems of those you’re designing for.
  • Ideation: Generating a lot of ideas to solve the problems you’ve identified.
  • Experimentation: Testing those ideas with prototyping.
Three ways to innovate:

1. Learn from best practice: If your “customers” are employees, learn what it is that they want through surveys and conversations, which will assist with the empathy aspect of design thinking.

2. Collaborate with other departments: To brainstorm ways to solve the people issues faced by your organisation in the ideation phase, gather people from all areas and levels of the company.

3. Think culture: Culture is created and demonstrated by leaders, and as the people leader, the burden lies with you to define and bring to life a culture that keeps employees engaged and healthy.

4. Know the business

One of the ways HR professionals can thrive in the new work paradigm is to step away from the old model of HR-as-administrator. To earn a seat at the strategy table, HR leaders must understand how people resources affect the business as a whole.

How to get to know your business:

1. Secondment and embedding: As an HR leader, make it your business to get to know the rest of the business by spending time embedded within other teams and encouraging cross-functional cooperation and communication.

2. Familiarise yourself with industry movements: Thorough knowledge of market movements will help you be prepared and proactive when fluctuations inevitably affect your organisation.

3. Prove your ability to be a business partner: It’s not enough just to collect data, but great HR leaders must also analyse and interpret it for the benefit of other leaders in the business. For example, data might reveal that a team is failing; it’s the HR leader’s position as a people expert that enables them to understand why and solve the problem.