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HR Shouldn’t Forget About Their Own Careers

Sometimes you spend so much time thinking about others that you forget about yourself.

It is a cliché that HR is a people business, but, as an HR professional, a hugely important part of investing in your people is also investing in yourself and your career. A selfless devotion to others characterises many HR people, but it is often the case that you can help others more if you help yourself first.

So many HR people talk at interview of transformational experiences at conferences or TED talks, yet when I ask how often they themselves have such experiences, they mumble “well, once or twice a year, if I have time.” Yet, they then go on to talk about how they have influenced hundreds and maybe thousands of their colleagues by using these insights in their business. I have always thought that one of the best investments that any business can make is in the development of their HR teams – simply because they touch everyone else.

When it comes time for the personal development budgets, sales, operations and marketing are up there, but developing the HR team is always lower on the list. There is something seriously wrong here…. The ROI of a motivated and continually developing HR Manager is phenomenal.

The problem is that HR don’t generally want to push out the budgetary begging bowl.

Part of the issue is that the impact of a fantastic HR team isn’t so easy to measure. There are a whole series of articles on this subject, but the simple fact is that they can’t be measured as easy as their sales or operations colleagues (for example). They know that developing themselves in certain ways would make a huge difference to their colleagues, but far too often they stop short of making the business case for it.

I would like to say with this blog – HR, please keep pushing the business for development. For your sake and for the sake of your colleagues, when you develop, they will benefit. When you push the limits of your knowledge, ideas follow swiftly behind – some will work, some won’t, but either way you will learn from the experience. Or, alternatively, you could simply do things as they have always been done.

I had an interview with a successful senior HR Executive the other day. I asked him whether he had any regrets in his career. His reply made me think about writing this blog:

“I wish that I had pushed myself harder in my early career.”

You can, of course, float along professionally – you will still learn from the experiences that you naturally encounter. Alternatively, you can get out a paddle and follow your unique passions, developing in every possible way that you can, in a direction that excites you.

If you take this second approach, you can be sure that your colleagues will thank you for it.

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