What Is Your HR Super Power? Here Are The Seven In Most Demand By Today’s Business Leaders.

by Alan Collins

I confess being a big fan of superhero movies.

I love the special effects and the thrilling stories that keep you on the edge of your seat.

But what really fascinates me most are the unique super powers the heroes use to fight the bad guys.

Superman can fly into action.
Spider Man can crawl up walls.
Batman has all the latest technology to save the day.
Wonder Woman has her magic lasso if the truth needs to come out.

Interesting, the phrase “super power” is increasingly being used at HR conferences and in the career management circles.

I’m hearing it tossed around more and more as people refer to their skills, talents and competencies as their super power.

While I hate buzzwords in general.  I like this one.  Maybe because I believe HR pros are the real super heroes in today’s organizations.

But all HR super powers aren’t created equal.

SHRM recently updated one of their ongoing studies.  This one focused on identifying the seven most important HR capabilities and skills that will be in MOST DEMAND by business leaders today and for the next 10 years.   In other words, the seven most in-demand “super powers” needed by today’s HR professionals to excel in the future.

Do you have one or more of them?

Well, let’s see.  Here they are.

#1:  The super power of IMPROVING EMPLOYEE RETENTION. 

If your HR super power is in this area, then according to the SHRM study, you are in the most demand by today business leaders.  Turnover among key people is out of control in many places and highly disruptive to today’s organizations.  And the HR pros who will thrive most are those that can help organizations hang on to their best people at all levels of the organization — from the C-suite to the frontline.  According to the SHRM’s study, 59% of all large organizations listed this as their #1 most important concern, an increase of 8% from 2010’s figures.

#2:  The super power of GROWING & DEVELOPING LEADERS.  

Do you have a proven track record of results in this area?  Then, claim this as one of your HR super powers.  Investing and developing future leaders was nearly as big of a concern in the SHRM study as employee retention, with 52% of respondents mentioning this on their list of challenges (a significant jump from the 29% who cited this in 2010).

#3:  The super power of IMPROVING ENGAGEMENT.  

HR pros with super powers in building productive and engaged cultures remained at #3 in the SHRM study.  But the number of organizations that pointed to this as one of their major priorities decreased from 44% to 36%.  Nevertheless, if you have proven experience in helping to develop work environments that improve collaboration, engagement and commitment, that’s a great way to get and keep a seat at the table.

#4:  The super power of FINDING & ATTRACTING TALENT.

It seems finding talent has taken a bit of a back burner to retaining key players.  While not the number one concern, HR leaders with this super power are still in demand in many sectors.  Especially in high-tech and in new start-ups that are rapidly expanding their rosters of employees and need hard-to-find specialized talent in certain parts of the world.


Creating smooth and efficient HR processes that make for a positive employee experiences at work came in at 20% in the SHRM study.  Some of the elements that comprise this area include:  innovative recognition and reward programs: time-saving training programs; state of the art benefits and compensation programs; and annual reviews that inspire, not demotivate.  If your super power is establishing programs/systems like these that employees love and can run like clockwork — then you have bright future.


Helping managers drive and improve employee performance will always be a crucial super power needed by HR professionals.  More than 80% of SHRM survey respondents classified their performance management system negatively (less than 20% were positive).  They complained about it being  overly bureacratic, needing improvement and hindering their manager’s ability to get the most from their teams.  Clearly there’s an opportunity here.

#7:  The super power of LEADING & DRIVING CHANGE.

Most organizations are undergoing some type of “transformation.” And change management skills represent a key super power needed in within many HR departments.  Furthermore, only 15% of business leaders in the SHRM study stated that they were happy with the change management talent within their organizations.  If you have can flex a super power in this area, you can fill many organizational voids.

Those are the seven most in-demand HR super powers according to SHRM.

Now, here’s the bottom line on all this.  

If you have one or more of these powers, cherish them.

Improve them.

Look for opportunities to utilize them more.

Share them.

Train others in them.

Give presentations about them.

You are sitting on a career goldmine.

More than ever, organizations need your HR super powers to conquer bad managers, villainous work practices and to battle the immense business challenges they’re facing.

So make sure your powers are properly utilized, valued and recognized.

If they’re not, then seek out brand new challenges elsewhere and unleash your powers there…

…Just like the real superheroes in the movies do.



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Want to become an HR super hero in your organization?  Then check out:  WINNING BIG IN HR: 100+ Powerful Strategies For Accomplishing Great Results Faster & Getting Your Clients To Rave About You As A Human Resources Professional!   For more detailed information about this book, go HERE.

About the author: Alan Collins is Founder of Success in HR, Inc. and the author of a variety of best selling books for HR professionals including WINNING BIG IN HR.  He was formerly Vice President – Human Resources at PepsiCo where he led HR initiatives for their Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Tropicana businesses.

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