Grabbing development opportunities, spicing up HR and the French system of professional patronage. Advice by Neil Winter
Q: "I have a senior HR role in the financial services sector. After five years I feel I have a good fit with my organisation. However, it is becoming clear to me that a move to a senior position outside HR is the best way for me to progress my career (the current position I am being considered for is head of a customer services unit). I am concerned this may somehow backfire. What should I do?"
A: Go for it! For anyone who is looking for development to the most senior HR positions in an organisation, this sort of opportunity is heaven sent and, in most cases, should you turn it down, unlikely to be repeated. The answer, from a career development perspective, is to accept the assignment. Clearly, the concern many HR professionals will feel in addressing this sort of challenge is facing the unknown - 'how will I match up to the challenges of a completely new area of responsibility?'
I suggest you put these concerns to the back of your mind. If you have been earmarked as someone who can rise to these new responsibilities, your supporters in the firm realise your capability. In order to make the most of your new assignment, set yourself some targets regarding what you want to achieve and the areas of skill you want to develop through this opportunity.
If your targets are about learning the business and approaching challenges from the mindset of manager with operational responsibility, be sure to articulate this in a personal learning log. Then approach each and every challenge in the assignment with the intention of achieving your learning targets.
HR professionals who have 'line' experience have a tremendous advantage when it comes to credibility with their colleagues and the executive team. They have a perspective that is difficult to capture for those of us who never break out of the HR silo. So, grab the opportunity with both hands.
Q: "How can I spice up a dull set of HR responsibilities?" is a question frequently asked - especially in the era of the shared services orthodoxy.
A: There is no doubt about it, the shared services approach to HR can make your work feel dull and superficial. As soon as a meaty issue comes along you have to brief an expert and pass on the baton. How do you avoid the 'post-bo