Broaden your horizons with a new experience

In most sizeable organisations, HR is considered the centre of excellence for personal development and career planning. In a world where employers can no longer guarantee future opportunities for their staff, it is becoming increasingly difficult to fulfil individual expectations while meeting organisational goals. Many people now regard their careers as part of an overall aim to achieve work-life balance. Increasingly, employees are looking to ‘portfolio’ careers – taking on a number of roles to broaden their experience or job interests. But what might this mean for the careers of HR professionals themselves?

Those of you who are regular readers of Personnel Today will know that I have just joined the Immigration and Nationality Directorate as senior director of HR, having previously been HR director at Scottish Water. Twelve months ago, when I began to realise that most of our tough business efficiency goals and HR transformation goals would be successfully met, I began to reflect on what I wanted to do next.

As I started to explore all of the options, I reflected upon my own career, and how I had increasingly become a practised agent of change. Having worked for a number of organisations and therefore experienced very different app-roaches to business challenges, I realised that, of utmost importance, my skills were highly transferable. From then on, the question suddenly became far simpler: where would I like to put these capabilities to best use?

I chose government, as I believe that I can bring an array of skills and experience to the tough reform agenda facing public services.
Most importantly, however, is that this has been an opportunity for self-renewal for my career goals and objectives. It is truly refreshing to work in a wholly new environment and to engage with another enormous challenge and a genuinely worthwhile cause.

As I looked back on my career to date and the new challenges ahead, it occurred to me that if HR people are to successfully advise others on career development, then they need to experience real diversity themselves.

It may seem an extraordinary challenge, but I will set it nonetheless. If you are a seasoned HR professional and have yet to experience a brand new environment and culture outside of your own organisation, then seriously consider your options. You may well be able to benefit enormously both personally and professionally by successfully bringing your skills to bear in a new environment. I certainly have never looked back and have enjoyed (almost) every moment. Is it time that you reaped the rewards of a change as well?

By Paul Pagliari, senior HR director, Immigration and Nationality Directorate

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