As HR professionals continue to work to be value-added strategic associates to the leaders they support, there are some key behaviors to keep in mind. These are the proven distinguishing behaviors amongst some of the most trusted HR advisors across a wide variety of businesses.

1. Continually build solid relationships.
Trusted HR Advisors primary focus is on how they effectively and successfully build relationships with those they support. They take time to get to know the employees and leaders face-to-face. They go on road trips, make the personal contacts and connections, and spend time in the actual environments where the employees work. This gives them a deep understanding of the business they are supporting and this is a behavior that builds relationships. As an HR Professional, the leaders and employees you support need to believe that you truly understand where they are coming from and are aware of their issues. They need to believe you are their partner and are there to help them succeed. This is most effectively achieved through face-to-face discussions. As much as is reasonably possible, make these connections early on and frequently and then continue to sustain the relationships moving forward by repeating these actions.

2. Let business leaders be leaders.
The job of a trusted HR advisor is not to lead for the leaders or run their businesses. Your job is to be their advisor, to partner with them, to establish guidelines for them, to build credibility so that they heed your advice, and to have faith that they know how to run their business. It is not your job to tell them what to do or how to run their business. Yes, they will make mistakes, and if you believe they are on the path to a mistake, then it is your job to alert them about that. But ultimately they get to decide if they want to make the mistake. Some HR professionals still believe that it's their job to tell business leaders what they can and cannot do instead of providing guidance and letting them make the decisions. Let them lead. Be there alongside them and be their partner, but by all means, let them do what they were hired and trained to do, even if it means they need to learn some hard lessons.

3. Exert impeccable influence.
In order to exert impeccable influence as a trusted advisor, you should know where to focus your energy and place your influence so that it is meaningful and has impact. In order to do this, you need to understand your business's objectives and top priorities. The general rule that has been successful for many trusted HR advisors is to know the top three priorities of your business and then work to exert appropriate influence in those areas. By doing this, you will not only get the appropriate attention from the workforce, but you will have meaningful impact. Simply base your top three HR priorities on those of the business and exert your influence in those areas.

4. Speak "Business" language
Trusted HR Advisors avoid “HR speak” as much as possible and, instead, speak the business language. Much of this translates to the need to understand your company’s financial statements. This really is not an option if you truly want to speak the language of business leaders. If you do not understand your company's financial statements and how your company makes money, then you cannot speak the language of the business leaders or provide adequate HR support. Unfortunately, many HR professionals regard understanding financial statements as an option rather than a requirement of their profession. After all, there are finance professionals to handle that part of the business. Although that is true, remember that you should be focused on what is important to the business leaders you support, and the financial standing of the business is often their most important concern. Therefore, it should also be one of your most important concerns and something that you can speak about fluently.

5. Create meaningful measurements
Trusted HR Advisors proactively measure performance and hold leaders accountable for the HR actions and programs they have agreed to undertake. This does not mean that they act as the parent or police officer but that they simply let leaders run their businesses while actively working the HR initiatives that support their businesses. How to effectively do this is by deciding exactly what your business leaders need to accomplish relative to HR programs. Remind them which HR programs support their business objectives and provide them with concise and realistic metrics for which they will be held accountable. The measurements you establish with your business leaders cannot be arbitrarily set. They must be precise measurements that will drive the results they need in their business. This is what makes metrics meaningful and doing this in a collaborative fashion with business leaders is what makes one a trusted HR advisor.

By consistently employing these five listed practices, HR professionals will begin to be viewed more and more as trusted advisors in the businesses where they work. They will be sought after for guidance and counsel and will continue to have a reserved seat at the decision making table.

Author's Bio: 

Andria Corso is an award winning career and leadership development coach and Strategic HR consultant with areas of expertise in career and leadership development, talent and succession management, and executive coaching. She is currently the owner of C3-Corso Coaching & Consulting, ( an Executive Coaching & HR Consulting firm that specializes in working with clients to reach their highest potential. Andria has over 15 years of HR leadership experience insider Fortune 100 companies, including 11 years inside Lockheed Martin Corporation. Andria specifically works with clients on career transitions, career advancement & career development so they can reach their highest potential. She is the author of From Gatekeeper to Trusted Advisor: Success Strategies for Today's HR Professional which was published in 2010.