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Are you looking after your own career?

Posted on from Hays

Barney Ely, director at Hays Human Resources, explains why continued learning is crucial for your HR career development.

1. HR – business critical

The current economic climate has really put into sharp focus HR’s contribution to business success. As businesses have downsized and try to hold on to and attract talent, they have turned to HR professionals to come up with innovative solutions to business issues. 

2. Make yourself indispensable

As an HR professional, you have a real opportunity to make your mark and reinforce your position as a strategic partner as well as a leader of a strongly process-driven function.

Therefore it’s crucial for you to demonstrate your broader commercial awareness and business acumen. Continued learning and career development is key to making yourself invaluable wherever you work, and the HR function is no exception.

3. Enhance your technical expertise

To meet these new commercial challenges, you need to be very planned and precise in building and developing your own skills.

Now more than ever, HR professionals need a mix of traditional HR skills, such as talent management and employment law, which you can enhance through various formal routes such as chartered membership of the CIPD or business-based academic study. Your employer might either fund these academic routes or you might have to pay for this yourself.

4. Vary your exposure

The responsibility to develop and learn rests largely with you to take ownership of your career. It’s crucial to gain experience from a range of different sectors, or international exposure in emerging as well as traditional markets, so that different cultures and growth cycles are part of your development.

Keep a lookout for roles advertised internally, or you could consider volunteering for suitable projects that will give you broader experience and exposure to other areas of the business. Here, you will develop a more commercial outlook and use your HR skills and know-how in potentially different way.

5. Connect with your peers

The HR profession as a whole is very proactive when it comes to networking, sharing experiences and knowledge and you should tap into this.

Mentoring is a great way for you to learn and develop; consider a mentor outside your sector or even outside HR. For example, partnering with a mentor from a finance or legal discipline will give you a wider understanding of business challenges and commercial insight.

6. Keep ahead of the game

You should be just as disciplined about your own career development as you are with the rest of the business. Ensure you’re building on both your technical and commercial skills each year – otherwise you may find yourself left behind.

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