I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal (online) entitled Landing the Boss’s Job. This article by Dennis Nishi offers some good advice on how to set yourself up for promotion. As I was reading this I had the thought that his advice for promotion was also a very good list on how to be a successful human resources professional. So let’s see what you think.
- “Go outside of your work group and talk to peers of your boss, who can offer you a companywide perspective on the management chain.” I would change this from “peers of your boss” to “members of management at various levels.”
- “Seek cooperative managers who would be willing to mentor you or at least offer advice.” Get experienced managers or employees to teach you about the business operations. Not just from an HR perspective but from the operations perspective. By understanding operations you will have a much better idea of how you may be able to support them.
- ” Immerse yourself in industry trends so you can casually converse fluently about company issues and make thoughtful contributions during meetings.” This is critical. To be seen as a true business partner you have to understand not only your company but also your industry. Understand what is coming so that you can offer solutions, or at least alternative options, to problems that may be coming. How will these changes affect people?
- “Over all, pursue activities that increase your visibility within the company, such as volunteering for a charity the company supports. You may get noticed by board members or at least remembered by senior managers who may be tapped to make employment recommendations.” Positive visability is always a good thing.
- “Inquire about your strengths and weaknesses so you can fill knowledge gaps with some professional development. Also request additional work that helps you build experience and allows you to manage projects from beginning to end.” Doing a personal SWOT analysis can lead to professional improvement that will pay big dividends.
- “Observe the interactions between your boss and other employees and ask to collaborate on tasks so you can gain an inside view of the job.” This will give you an opportunity for involvement and will get you out of your office and into “face-to-face” interactions. This is where the “rubber meets the road” and is a core competency of HR.
So there you have some keys to being successful in HR. It is not an exhaustive list. You also need to be well versed in the employment law, company policy and HR in general, but this list will help make you a better HR professional.