The world is not going to get rid of HR anytime soon, but the field is changing in many drastic ways. Technology always has HR reps questioning their role at a company, outside market forces can always lead to new developments which diversify your skillset, and companies are always looking to speed up hiring and HR process. As someone who works in HR, you need to keep up with these changes. And if you follow our advice and integrate four key changes into your work life, you should be more than capable of leading the way in HR at your company.
Always Be Open to Change
After a certain point in their careers, anyone can get set in their ways. They know how to do their job, have settled into rhythms of performing that job, and produce adequate performance. Why change a good thing? Because there are always ways to improve how well you work, in both formal and informal ways.
Here HR Practitioners can take a cue from leaders, 76% of which are looking for more formal learning in the workplace. Though most training still takes place on the job, HR is a fast-moving industry, and if you only stick to “doing your job,” you’ll eventually fall behind. Talk to your managers about implementing more formal workplace learning, accept invitations to seminars on topics that interest you, and always be learning to changing your processes. No budget for travel or conferences? Then start an innovation book club at work or with like-minded individuals in your community.
Tweet This: Grow as an HR practitioner with these professional development tips.
Be a Positive Force
HR is often seen as one of the departments consistently holding businesses back. Other people at your company might think your department has too much red tape or enforces too many unimportant rules. A bigger issue, however, is that only 8% of HR leaders believe their teams have the skills to tackle all of the challenges of the workplace. If you want to grow as an HR rep, you need to fight back against both of these preconceptions.
The red tape can be tricky and will always be there, but your job is to explain why it’s there, and why it’s necessary. When employees understand why the forms they’re signing are important, they still may not love you, but they’ll end up knowing more about your situation, which will hopefully serve to let them know you’re on their side. Try explaining in person, via email or through other fun ways (try social or the company intranet) why you’re asking for specific help. Make it a team effort.
Continue Networking After Getting the Job
When you hear the word “network,” it’s almost always followed by “for a job.” But networking can do more than help find a job — it can help you get better at your current one. Lily Zhang (@lzhng), a career Specialist at MIT, details how simple conversations can help illuminate the way forward for both participants.
"Ask people you meet or sit down with about their recent challenges and accomplishments or about trends they’re seeing in their work. In particular, if something big has recently happened in your industry, see what your conversation partner thinks of the impact it might have on the field as a whole. You’ll get a much broader perspective if you expand the conversation beyond your own friends and officemates."
Discussing recent developments in the field with colleagues will keep you ahead of the curve and will improve your ability to do your job on a regular basis.
Take Reviews Seriously
While it’s great to discuss the industry with friends to see what new solutions you can implement in the future, your annual review can give you insight into what you could be doing to improve right now. Somewhere between 60 and 90% of employees (and managers) dislike performance reviews, but they can be key assets in growing as an HR representative.
Direct feedback can reveal what areas of your job you may have ignored recently, which ones you don’t need to refine for the time being, and what new opportunities you can take advantage of with the help of your boss. Not all annual performance reviews are pleasant, but most of them are valuable.
Being on the forefront of change is rarely easy, but always satisfying. By being open to change, fighting back against old practices and misconceptions, learning from your peers, and taking direct feedback to heart, you should see positive results in the near future, and continue shaping the way people hire, the way you always have.
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