Ron Steele John Smith Human Resources Management 500 29 August Human Resources Continuing Professional Development This paper will examine the importance of continuing professional development for Human Resources (HR) professionals. HR is an area of constant and ongoing change. In order to keep pace with an organization’s often rapid changing and fast paced environment, it is essential to have continuing professional development for HR staff. My paper will begin with a short examination of certain HR concepts and an overall overview of the importance of skills, knowledge, and behaviors that encompass continuing professional development.
Next, I will identify both the needs and users of HR services. Part of this discussion will be in identifying methods of communication appropriate to different organizational levels. The other part of this section will discuss the elements of effective service delivery. In the third section, I will examine self-assessment and general reflection on the topic of continuing professional development in HR. Activity A One key area in continuing professional development (CPD) with HR is strategies, insights, and solutions.
Since HR is a critical support function of an organization, the HR staff needs to be properly educated on what items are of strongest importance in maintaining high level operations of the company. Different organizations will have different strategies, since the operation goals of companies vary from company to company and industry to industry. The ‘insights’ aspect of the 3-part model: ‘strategies, insights, and solutions’, are items that can be immediately addressed, and then refined in later stages with CPD.
If a client or key customer changes, then immediate attention should be given to ‘strategies, insights, and solutions’ (CIPD HR Profession Map). As defined by the U. S. Office of Personnel Management, Human Resources is becoming more collaborative. HR is now more involved in consulting and day to day management. However, there is still much room for improvement before HR can be collaborative at all levels of an organization. Goals for HR are and to find ways to offer creative solutions organization wide (U. S.
Office of Personnel Management, 3). A second key area in CPD with HR is ‘leading and managing the HR function’ (CIPD HR Profession Map). I will briefly examine eight behaviors that are required for effectiveness in this area. They are as follows: (1) personal credibility; (2) challenging existing ideas; (3) being a positive role model; (4) having natural curiosity; (5) decisive decision making; (6) skills at influencing and articulating one’s ideas; (7) determination to complete tasks; and (8) collaboration with coworkers and other departments (CIPD HR Profession Map).
Personal credibility is a first trait examined. Due to the nature of HR, it is important for the staff to uphold as best as possible the company mission statement and professionalism expected from individuals who often have to be involved with employee counseling and discipline. This includes assurance that formal HR policies, rules, and guidelines are upheld to a high standard. Without personal credibility, it would be quite difficult to enforce or implement new policies with regard to other employees in the organization.
A second trait is challenging existing ideas. This is becoming ever more important for HR professionals in today’s rapidly changing environment. Competitors are constantly evaluating weaknesses and opportunities to challenge a rival in the same industry. In order to keep pace with the competition, companies have to be willing to challenge established ways of doing things. This requires good team work and an understanding of the company as a whole, along with how each department works and interacts with other departments.
Continuing education and interaction can help to achieve this goal. A third trait is being a positive role model. This trait is somewhat related to the first trait of having credibility. Being a positive role model takes it a step further, and encourages others in the organization to not only meet goals, but to exceed goals. HR professionals are under obligation to uphold ideals that the company is expecting employees to meet.
If HR professionals were not positive role models, they would lose credibility along with being able to be a leader in organizational development. A fourth trait mentioned is having natural curiosity. This is a needed trait as it can assist the HR professional to uncover underutilized potential in a company. By being curious in a positive way, the HR professional can seek out new ways of improving the existing ways of doing things. A fifth trait mentioned is decisive decision making.
This is a trait that often becomes easier with experience in a company, yet it is important regardless for HR professionals to develop. This goal is achieved by upholding company policy and not being in a state of indecision or uncertainty with how policies are viewed and subsequently upheld. Frequent decision making is part of the job of HR professionals, and they must be self confident in this role. A sixth trait mentioned is that of ‘skills at influencing and articulating one’s ideas’.
Communication skills are necessary for HR professionals, as they will need to state with certainty and precision the meanings of procedures and policies, and the consequences of not following stated guidelines. Often, there will also be classroom style presentations, or new hire education. To perform these roles, it is necessary to be comfortable at self presentation and articulation. A seventh trait is that of determination to complete tasks. HR is only as effective as the procedures it can complete from start to finish.
New projects have to be evaluated at different times, but always with the goal to complete a task. Given the organization, HR is often very fast paced, and it is necessary to be organized and have the ability to list and prioritize what needs completed on a daily basis. An eight trait mentioned is that of collaboration with coworkers and other departments. Interaction with other departments of a company is something HR is usually presented with on a daily basis. Building good working relationships with individuals in other departments is necessary to work well together to complete organization wide strategic goals.
A third area of the CIPD HR Profession Map is ‘performance and reward’. (CIPD HR Profession Map). In all organizations, it is necessary to recognize outstanding employee performance in meeting predefined operational goals, and then reward employees accordingly. Performance should be tracked consistently for all employees. Reliability of the performance measuring is important, even if some judgment skills come into play. Rewards can take various forms and should be cost effective.
Any form of reward and recognition is appreciated, but rewards should be well thought out and of definite value to the receiver. Rewards should be enough to ensure that others will realize that their efforts will be properly rewarded if achieved. Activity B Three key users of HR services in an organization can include: (1) employees; (2) operation managers; and (3) support departments such as a payroll department. Employees could have needs such as conflict resolution with operations management, or special needs time off requests.
Operations managers could have needs such as conflict resolution issues with lower level employees, or scheduling and new hire demand requirements. A support department, such as payroll, could have needs such as requirements for accurate and timely information, along with cooperation with other departments in clarification of payroll discrepancies. It is necessary for HR to prioritize and resolve any inter department discrepancies as well.
For example, both employees and operations managers will request some kind of third party intervention with conflicts arising in the workplace, and sometimes it could be over real or perceived injustices as seen by an employee. A way that the HR professional could prioritize such a conflict is by first getting the facts from each side. The HR professional should ensure that each side knows that the company guidelines as written will be fairly enforced, and the HR professional is there first to mediate; yet will intervene with final interpretation where needed.
Keeping the standards of a company is the HR professional’s role, and with that role, the past history of the individuals, along with the appropriate employee files should be analyzed. The employee’s record of employee conduct would be simply one indicator as to where a problem could lie at. Also, if the supervisor has been well-established as a fair and long-term manager over time with a good track record, that also should be given proper weight in regards employee to manager conflict resolution.
Certainly managers are not without fault, and past evaluations of managers could indicate whether an employee has an issue they are dealing with where they have legitimate concerns of a manager’s known weakness. Being fair to both parties and withholding judgment until the case is fully researched is a sound idea. This will help to correct the current issue at hand, along with steering off future troubles down the road in case a similar issue would rise again with another employee.
Communication is a vital skill for HR professionals. There are different means HR professionals might consider appropriate in addressing various levels of staff. Three levels of staff that HR would interact with are: (1) employees; (2) first level managers; and (3) upper level operations managers. In inteteracting with any member of the organization, it is essential to be clear, direct, tactful, and discreet in information communicated. In interacting with employees, one of the first things to determine is if the issue could first be best resolved with either a first level manager or an upper level operations manager before HR would get involved.
If the matter is appropriate for HR to intervene, such as in a dispute between employee and manger, then an arrangement should be made where all involved parties can discuss the matter in person. Employees should be given a chance to discuss legitimate concerns with confidentiality always in tact. The HR professional can then discuss their perceptions with the manger in order to make sure the fairest solution is rendered.
In interacting with lower level managers, the type of communication should be more focused as to what issues are priorities, as laid out already by the strategic upper level management role. Some decisions will be out of the HR department’s decision making, but intervention is possible depending on what is being attempted to be resolved. In interacting with top level operations management, the HR professional would be communicating on higher level strategies in helping support the business.
Priority should be given to meeting the goals as required by top management and a good level of open communication and collaboration needs to occur at this level. Next, I will briefly describe components of effective service delivery. Building and maintaining good relationships is at the top of the list. HR professionals must work at listening to the customer’s or manager’s needs and then provide assurance that it will be resolved. Trust in HR’s ability to make sure issues are completed will earn the respect and trust of the managers, which is a requirement for good working relationships.
Next, handling and resolving complaints is something dealt with on a regular basis. These issues should be dealt with in a timely manner and records kept of progress as final agreements are reached. A third issue is dealing with difficult customers. Service delivery in this regard is geared toward professionalism and adhering to company policy.
Not letting one’s own emotions override the issue getting resolved is important. Next, timely service delivery is needed. HR is a support function and deadlines of other departments must be respected. If any issues are foreseen in this regard, it is best to address it as soon as feasible. Finally, budget implications and continuous improvement are yet two other areas of an HR professional. Budgets must be adhered to and any issues with it should be addressed to a senior level management member.
Trying to circumvent the budget as laid out without proper authorization is not an appropriate option. Continuous improvement is a last item that cannot be overlooked. Service delivery is a set of best practices, yet by identifying areas that have been ‘sticking points’ at various times, there can be time devoted to improvement. The goal of course is a smooth flowing process that does not have obvious time delays or other matters that go a long time unattended to. Activity C Part 1 What do you consider were the 3 most important things (planned or unplanned) that you learned last year? 1) One important thing I personally learned last year is the need for time management and even better prioritizing of my schedule.
I found myself under unneeded stress at various times. By organizing priorities and then completing them in a certain prearranged timeframe, it helped me manage my time better and avoided having anything fall through the cracks. 2) A second important item that I learned in the last year was the importance of clarity.
Normally this is not a problem issue, but it is easy to underestimate how easily misunderstandings can occur. I found that by being very direct along with looking for some positive feedback from who I was talking to, it helped to make sure that my points were understood. 3) A third item that I learned this past year involved the importance of continuing self-evaluation. It is simple to not address items that could be dealt with better.
I am all for self-improvement both professionally and personally. If I pick up on a weak area or an item that another staff member does not understand, I try to evaluate if I am using the best approach. Looking to see how others perform in strong areas does help me improve. Q2 Please summaries the value you have added to your organization/clients/customers over the last 12 months through your professional development? I feel that I have added good value to the organization’s clients and customers.
I take pride in doing a job well done. I work best when left with a general framework of items to do, and then I prioritize at that point and reassure that I will meet any deadline. I feel I have gained both increased respect and trust to do a job well. I do strive for continuing self-improvement, and I hope to do even better in the future. Q3 What have been the tangible outcomes of your professional development over the last 12 months and what aspects of your work have changed as a result?
Please give a brief explanation of why you’ve chosen to comment on these specific activities? The tangible outcomes of my professional development include the positive verbal feedback I receive on projects. In addition, my decision making overall has increased in quickness and improved my self-confidence. Part of this could be due to experience, but part of it is a strong work ethic. I chose to comment on these areas since I take pride in my work and primarily work to see a satisfied customer, instead of simply working to get something out of the way. Q4 Who else has gained from your professional development and how?
I am confident to say that everyone I deal with in completing my assigned tasks has seen some definite benefit. In other words, if I improve what is under my control, then the benefits are seen my not only myself, but any I interact with. Part 2 Moving Forward Q1 How do you identify your learning and professional development needs?
I identify my learning needs by primarily self-evaluation. I try to not ignore any constructive criticism of work that I perform, and am more than willing to correct what is under my control. I feel that the feedback I receive gives me strong indications on how well I am doing. Regardless, I try to sense what comes easiest and what is more challenging for me. The challenging items are what I prioritize for further improvements. Q2 What are the three main areas or topics you wish to develop in the next 12 months and how will you achieve these?
1. One area I would like to develop in the next 12 months is exceeding goals. I enjoy my position and want to progress career wise. I feel the best way to do this is to set high goals and keep advancement a priority. 2. A second area I would like to develop is in continuing recognition of others when I benefit from getting assistance or help with any project.
I think making sure that recognition is given to people who go out of their way to help is important. 3. A third area that I would like to develop is in employee rapport and engagement. By having a workplace that is both positive and uplifting, I know it benefits everyone. I would like to set a positive rapport with people whenever circumstances permit. Q3 What are the key differences that you plan to make to your role /organization /clients /customers in the next 12 months?
Key differences lie with me taking responsibility to be proactive. I think CPD training that I receive makes me aware of new things I sometimes do not think on everyday. I plan to continue to go the extra mile if called on and remember to make periodic self-evaluations more frequently given the information I now have. Q4 When will you next review your professional development needs? I plan to review my professional development needs regularly and ideally on a weekly basis.
Being aware of what the ideals are can help me avoid being caught in any unproductive routine or avoid unnecessary pitfalls. I do feel that having this knowledge will help me continue to have a positive track of improvement. Works Cited CIPD HR Profession Map. http: //www. cipd. co. uk/hr-profession-map/explore-the-map. htm Web. 2010. accessed 29 August 2010. U. S. Office of Personnel Management. Strategic Human Resources Management: Aligning with the Mission.