Throughout our “15 minutes with…” blog series, we’ve been asking everyone for their tips on personal development in HR. And boy, did they deliver!
As we start another new year, now’s the perfect time to consider how you will advance your HR career in the 12 months ahead, so here’s the advice offered by four of our expert contributors.
- Pick a problem you're passionate about and make it your mission to solve it. You'll never go hungry.
- Diversify your skill set. Steve Jobs talked about how he took a calligraphy class and how that helped him develop some of the fonts for the initial Apple products. Continue to add to your tool belt and pick the tools that will give you more heft when you come to executing your mission in terms of solving the problem you picked.
- Be a “go-giver”, not a “go-getter”. That means you actively seeking out opportunities where you can help people. I don't think it's Pollyanna-ish to say that has its own rewards in and of itself, but what it does offer is the learning opportunities that you get from interacting with people you wouldn't normally interact with.
4. Learn: Go to conferences, attend workshops, courses and webinars outside of HR too. It's vital we understand many areas of a business and not just HR.
5. Contribute: Whether it's writing, podcasting, vlogging, or anything in between, figure out what medium resonates with you most and start sharing your opinion with the community. This is great for your personal brand, it's fun, and you will learn so much being part of the conversation instead of just an observer.
6. Build relationships: Our business is people driven. Go geek out with other professionals and lean into the conversations you have - talk about your challenges, learnings, and trends.
7. Leave your role for a year (or more) and join the sales or technology teams. You'll realize how quickly the fat in the process is cut in order to close a deal, generate revenue or ship a finished product. You'll come back with a much greater appreciation for your role and be empowered to change HR to do the same.
8. Seek out knowledge that is completely outside of your domain. Take the opportunity to speak with knowledgeable people and learn from them. Take an online course on how to develop a basic web page; you'll learn about development methods along the way. Learn the theory behind Blockchain and what it means to business. The knowledge is there, just go get it. The more depth you have, the greater your capacity to understand other points of view and align with your business partners in a more meaningful way.
9. Data, data & more data. Collect, analyze and use data to tell your story. Clean and uncompromised data should be the first thing on anyone’s list of business priorities. It helps to formulate ideas, create solutions and provides unbiased feedback. Data is like the magnifying mirror that exposes every flaw. It can be hard to look at but once you accept the truth, only then can you work to improve yourself and/or your function.
10. An interesting one that I've been focusing for myself on recently is vulnerability. Leading with vulnerability and being able to say what you know and what you don't know, reaching out to teams to find out what they think about what’s going on and being willing to address what you hear, as well as keeping an eye on what you're bringing to the conversation.
11. Learn how to really listen in interviews and not just ask the classic interview questions. Really try to get to know somebody. Because skills can be taught. Obviously, you don't want to hire somebody that is totally inappropriate but you want to hire someone that's going to fit in with the team, bring a diverse perspective, the right energy, and the right skills - then you can grow that person.
Heading into 2019 with just a handful of these personal development tips will set you up nicely for a great year ahead. Successful career development always happens from the inside out, make your progress your priority and take the time to smash your own goals in 2019.
To check out the insights and inspiration shared by all of our “15 minutes with…” contributors this year, head over to the Q&A series page on our website. And if you’d like to take some of your own expertise and “pay it forward”, get in touch - we’d love to feature you on the blog in 2019!