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Jamie Lawrence is an award-winning journalist and NYT Bestselling author with over 15 years' experience in digital content creation. He is currently Managing Editor of online publications HRZone and TrainingZone, both long-time established communities dedicated to excellence in people management and learning respectively. Jamie has his eyes firmly fixed on the intersection of technology and society.

It’s 2016 – and we’re almost at the end of January. Every year we tend to talk about making HR more visible and we typically focus on the initiatives that will encourage this. But in this blog I’m looking at the mindsets HR directors need to adopt in 2016 to encourage HR to up its profile in the business.

SOLH (Strong Opinions Loosely Held)

We’ve been saying HR needs to be bold for a while, but what does this mean in practice? For many HR directors, it’s about switching to the rigour of an evidence-based approach and avoiding the fear that lack of knowledge brings. There’s lots of research out there on fundamental topics: engagement, reward, recognition.

Plus, it’s easier to access than ever before. By understanding expected outcomes from various initiatives, HR can have the confidence to hold strong opinions about the right thing to do in a situation. But these strong opinions shouldn’t just be kept to yourself, because that’s not a way to raise the profile of HR. Instead, you need Mindset #2.

Courageous Opinion Giver

Part of being bold is not being afraid to voice opinion but lack of confidence can hinder a person’s desire to speak up. Holding strong opinions based on evidence and research can encourage openness and allow HR leaders to develop their voice in the business and be seen as a source of potential solutions.

That’s not to say you must always give the right solutions – but confident leaders understand that offering solutions to commercial problems is the key to greater boardroom recognition.

Limelight Embracer

“HR tends to be visible only when things are going wrong.”

I can’t remember who said this to me this year, but it’s historically accurate. The challenge for HR is to become more visible when things are going right, so that business leaders think of the function when the graphs are going up.

For the individual HR director, this is about owning the successes of people initiatives and ensuring that metrics are in place so that ROI and value can be shown when times are going well. This is how you can show business leaders the value that HR adds.