I have worked in HR since I graduated nine years ago. I have completed my CIPD studies and have a Masters degree. Although my career has steadily developed, I'm beginning to feel that my lack of 'real' business experience outside HR may be slowing my progress. Any suggestions?
Victoria Wall, managing director, Victoria Wall Associates
Having gained nine years experience, you will be regarded as an HR expert by your colleagues and line management; however the more 'business' knowledge you can demonstrate, the more opportunities will open up to you. Lack of experience will not slow your progress, if you make every effort to gain real business knowledge of the industry sector in which you work.
Ensure you are up to date with new developments within your organisation and industry sector, read trade rather than just HR press, and if possible attend internal meetings and training courses as an observer. Good business acumen shown by knowledge of the 'bottom line' and by understanding the sector you are working in will raise your credibility internally and develop your career to the next stage.
Grant Taylor, consultant, Macmillan Davies Hodes
It would be interesting to find out why you feel your progress is slow and how you are measuring your progress. It could be you are ready for your next move up the ladder and feel you lack experience at a business rather than departmental level. With your good academic background you now need practical experience at the next level, and to gain this you need to add a 'business perspective' to everything you do.
You need to consider how you may be able to add value to the bottom line of the business from an HR perspective and then be proactive in taking your ideas to the senior management team.
By doing this you may find yourself included more readily in strategy planning and business level decision-making. If you are unsure about how you may achieve this, you need a mentor to learn from. Attach yourself to someone you can learn from by for example, asking to shadow the HR director in some of their work, or consider moving on to somewhere where you will have more involvement at this level if that is not possible where you are now.
Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy
While you may read about the HR impact on the business in this and other magazines, the reality is