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HR Professionalism is fundamentally about you taking pride in the work you do and recognising you are a service provider (just in case you get an over-inflated sense of your own self-importance!).  We have explored in this series of blogs on HR Professionalism that knowledge, confidence and community are critical building blocks to developing HR excellence.

Assuming you have done your basic professional qualifications (e.g. CIPD, SHRM etc...) what we focus on at CourageousHR when developing HR Teams are a series of development interventions – some formal and some informal. 

The cornerstones of maturing excellence in HR Professionalism are:

  • Keeping up to date
  • Networking
  • Membership of Professional Associations
  • Internal HR Best Practice Communities

Fundamentally, successful HR Professionals know what is going on; they have the skill and judgment based on up-to-date professional knowledge to make sound decisions and to build powerful partnerships with the people that matter.

HR Professionalism requires knowledge about developments in specialist expertise combined with a good enough understanding of what is happening in their business and marketplace.  Our four step programme to keeping up to date covers:

Step 1 - Knowing what you know and what you still need to learn

This is about recognising that the world of business and HR is forever changing and therefore each of us needs to be consciously committed to an ongoing development plan:  So:

  • How much time do you spend with relevant READING in your field each week?
  • How would you describe the way you read this material e.g. scanning, studying etc...?
  • Which relevant journals, magazine, newsletters and / or websites do you regularly read?
  • Which relevant training packages e.g. workshops, have you used in the past year?
  • Which relevant HR Professional Expertise tools have you used in the past year?

Step 2- Continuous Professional Investment

Does continuing your HR Professional Expertise score low or high on your priority list?  Do you have a career plan and a strategy on how you will develop your HR Professionalism?

  • Neglecting to keep up to date with your HR Professional Expertise easily occurs as it is not a ‘crisis’ issue. Its effects are cumulative, insidious over time, with the error realised only several years later. 
  • Choose which methods of keeping up to date you will follow in the next 6 months.
  • Plan when, where, how you will do these chosen activities.  It is also a good idea to find a colleague or confidant with whom you can share your plan, discuss it and review progress from time to time.

Step 3 - Smart Networking

Identify who you consider to be your organisation’s ultimate HR Professional Expert

  • Arrange sometime to meet them for a coffee and a chat
  • Explore what it is that they do to keep up-to-date and what actions they have taken to become a recognised expert
  • Ask them if they can suggest ways you can improve your expertise, including possible of coaching

Step 4 - Active member of a HR Professional Associations

If you are not already a member of a relevant professional association, consider joining one

  • Find out what seminars, working groups, communities are open to you and consider signing-up

If you do all of this you are making a significant investment in ensuring you have a future as a great HR Professional.  However, by following this series of blogs on HR Professionalism you will hopefully also realise that it is not all down to you and for you – the changes that need to happen for HR to be credible and valuable to the business needs to occur across HR. 

So, if you are developing your professional confidence, expanding your HR knowledge and expertise then don’t keep it to yourself.  If you are finding that your HR boss is not actively seeking workplace development opportunities for the team then speak out.  Finally, when you see your HR Colleagues doing something new or different then encourage, support and give them constructive feedback.  You have a responsibility to others as well as yourself.

HR Professionalism is all about staying ahead of the game.  It is about your ability to develop and combine your HR knowledge, skills and expertise so that it is appropriate for the role you are doing.  You  when you have reached a level of excellence in HR Professionalism when you are able to use your expertise to insightfully determine and recommend to the business the most appropriate HR solutions as well as provide relevant advice and guidance on people and HR matters.

Take pride in what you do and how you do it as you are a member of a profession.

To find out how CourageousHR can support the development of your HR Function please email [email protected] to arrange a call to discuss your specific development needs.