~ By Helen Sabell
An ever-changing business environment where companies endlessly adapt and compete demands that HR professionals and departments develop an expanded set of strengths and skills to respond efficiently to changes in legal regulations, technology and personal demands. HR professionals who evolve with these changes are most likely to progress in their careers.
To be among those who evolve and create a successful career in Human Resources is simple—assuming you do the right things, of course.
This may seem obvious, but it's sometimes easier said than done. Yes, the work-life balance and taking time off to rest are highly important. But you'll have time to do so once you've established yourself as a successful HR professional. It's a common thought that, if you want to get something done, ask a busy person to do it. Ultimately, you want to be recognised as a busy person who gets things done.
No one is interested in hearing why you couldn't achieve something. Make a conscious decision to stop making excuses. Take on all your responsibilities. Own all of the results you have become accustomed to. Become a better HR professional. Stop pointing the finger at others when things don't go as planned. Make it your responsibility to make a difference yourself, and become respected for it.
Of course, the quickest way to further your HR career is to say yes. However, by doing this, you risk others taking advantage of you. You have yourself to look out for. Your tasks and targets are your first priorities. Although taking on work to help others is great, only take on what you can handle. Burning yourself out helps no one—especially you. You also don't want to overcommit and disappoint your manager or coworkers when you cannot meet deadlines or complete tasks. Learn how to compromise honestly with others. Estimate how long tasks will take to avoid disappointment.
Nothing makes employees happier than the hope of a better opportunity and the opportunity to progress. It's your place to create better opportunities for employees. Your work environment will suddenly become a place where people want to work and progress.
In most work environments, including HR, everyone is focused on making themselves look good. However, if you can change this a little and focus on making others look good, too, this will impress. Try to give to others more than you get. This could be as simple as writing thank you cards and personally writing birthday cards for other employees. Never put others down, especially when they're not around. Beyond it just not being professional, it's also highly likely that whatever you say will be repeated.
There are many occasions in work life when it's not clear who's in charge. You can change this by taking initiative, but not necessarily taking control. Simply assess the situation to determine the leadership skills of those involved. Your main goal is to achieve what needs to be done and make others look good. Be helpful, ask questions when necessary and offer tasks on behalf of the team. Take notes, if not for the group, for yourself. Then remember to recap on the actions agreed upon by everyone.
Never settle with your achievements. Always continue to work on creating larger, more compelling personal goals. Accept what is currently working well within your career. Strive to add to it. Apply for positions above your current role. Chances are, these goals will take less time to achieve than you think. Even if you fail, you'll learn and get ahead faster the next time—and maybe even end up further ahead than you first expected.
Simple enough, right? The more you can apply these principles in your day-to-day career, the more likely you are to progress, roll with the ever-evolving changes and build a successful HR career.
What have you, our readers, done to evolve with changing environments as you build your career? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!
Helen Sabell works for the College for Adult Learning; she is passionate about adult and lifelong learning. She has designed, developed and authored many workplace leadership and training programmes, both in Australia and overseas. Helen also works with a select group of organisations consulting in people management & development, education and change.