1. Briefly explain how the CIPD HR Profession Map defines the HR profession, including the professional areas, the bands and the behaviours.
The HR profession Map captures what successful and effective HR people do and deliver across every aspect and specialism of the profession, and sets out the required activities, behaviour and knowledge.
It covers 10 professional areas and 8 behaviours, set out in 4 bands of competence. The Map covers every level of the HR profession: Band 1 being the start of your HR career through to Band 4 for the most senior leaders.
The bands set out what you need to do and what you need to know for each area of the HR profession.
As per the CIPD Website, the bands cover the following areas:
Band 1: Supports colleagues with administration and processes. Effectively manages information and date and is customer orientated. Band 2: Advises on and/or manages HR related issues relating to an individual or at team. Has a clear understanding of the evaluation process and the solutions available. Band 3: Leads a professional area acting as a consultant or partner, addresses key HR challenges at an organisational level for the medium and long term. Band 4: Leads and manages a professional area(s) and/or the organisation. Responsible for developing and delivering organisational and HR strategy.
The two professional areas, Insight, Strategy and Solutions and Leading HR sit at the heart of the profession and are applicable to all HR professionals, regardless of role, location or stage of their HR career.
There are 8 behaviours that identify in detail how professionals need to carry out their activities and make a contribution to organisational success.
The behaviours are:
• Curious • Decisive thinker • Skilled influencer • Personally credible • Collaborative • Driven to deliver • Courage to challenge • Role Model
CIPD website refers to the HR Map as:
“This is a powerful and simple to use personal development tool for professionals operating at all levels in HR. Not only is it free for members to use, we’ve also carefully designed it to ensure that many of the suggested actions to help professionals progress are low-cost or no-cost – which will be particularly welcome at a time when the recession is ensuring resources for development are tight. Professionals can use the tool to develop in their roles and pursue their career plans. We hope the insights it delivers will quickly become a firm fixture in the performance and development reviews of HR professionals in organisations of all shapes and sizes and across all sectors.” (Stephanie Bird, April 2010).
2. Evaluate how the two core professional areas, the bands and any two selected behaviours uphold the concept of ‘HR Professionalism’, giving two examples from the knowledge and activities at band 2.
The two professional areas Insight, Strategy and Solutions and Leading HR sit at the heart profession and are applicable to all HR professionals. They underpin the direction of the profession as an applied business discipline with a people and organisation discipline and describe how great HR professionals work for HR’s purpose. HR can only deliver it’s purpose of sustainable organisation performance if it works from a deep business, contextual and organisational understanding to develop actionable insight. This allows us to creative prioritised and situational strategies that make the most difference and build a compelling case for change. It includes:
• Building a picture • Developing actionable insight • Delivering situational HR solutions that stick • Building capacity and capability • Working with agility
The successful HR professional provides active, insight led leadership. Owning, shaping and driving themselves, others and activity within the organisation. They develop across three main areas of leadership – personal leadership, leading others and leading issues.
It includes: • Personal leadership • Leading others • HR function design and service delivery • HR recourse planning and delivery • Delivering value and performance in HR teams • Managing HR budgets and finances
This being based as the heart of the profession, there are 8 main behaviours expected, including; • Role Model – Consistently leads by example. Acts with integrity, impartiality and independence, balancing personal, organisation and legal parameters. • Skilled Influencer – Demonstrates the ability to influence to gain the necessary support from drivers stakeholders in pursuit of organisational value.
The CIPD (2005a) has stated that: All personnel and development specialists must be thinking performers. That is, their central task is to be knowledgeable and competent in their various fields and to be able to move beyond compliance to provide a critique of organisational policies and procedures and to advise on how organizations should develop in the future.
HR professionals have to think carefully about what they are doing in the context of their organization and within the framework of recognised body of knowledge. They have to perform effectively in the sense of delivering advise, guidance and services that will help the organisation to achieve its goals.
Legge (1995) made a similar point when she referred to HRM as a process of ‘thinking pragmatism’. Harrison (2007) commented that the ‘thinking performer’ philosophy focuses on the ways in which HR fields of activity should link to produce a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, on strategic awareness and on evidence based practice.
The CIPD ‘The Thinking Performer Concept’ (2007) believes:
“The non thinking performer will privately regard many of the things her or she is required to do as absurd, indefensible, inefficient, even immoral or corrupt, but will say nothing …… the non thinking performer is a ‘ lifetime liability’ to the organisation.”
Looking at the requirements in Band 2 of the HR Map, and taking into consideration the behaviours within this, you need to build strong relationships with your customers. Managers need to feel comfortable approaching your for advise, and confident that you will be able to lead and advise them on the appropriate approach to take. You need to be skilled in influencing the manager to the correct way of thinking, to handle the situation in the correct manner, but also be flexible in your approach and listen to their ideas/requirements. And together, agree on the best action and way forward.
The need for HR theory, Ulrich (1997a): To make practices more than isolates acts managers and HR professionals must master the theory behind HR work; they need to be able to explain conceptually how and why HR practices lead to their outcomes. Regardless of the preferred theory, managers and HR professionals should extract from it a higher level of reasoning for their day to day work and thus better explain why their work accomplishes goals.
3. Explain, with related examples, why HR professionals need to be able to manage themselves, manage groups or teams, manage upwards and manage across the organisation.
HR professionals provide insight led leadership. They need to own and shape themselves as well as others within the organisation. They need to personally lead themselves, as well as teams and upwards within the organisation.
The definition of management as stated by Michael Armstrong is ‘Management is defined as deciding what to do and then getting it done through the effective use of recourses’. The main processes of management are planning, organizing, motivating and controlling.
HRMagazine say: HR must turn outside business trends and stakeholders expectations into internal actions, and should focus on both business results and human capital improvement. HR professionals should target both individual ability and organisation capabilities. HR is not an isolated activity, but sustainable and integrated solutions.
An effective HR professional melds individual abilities into an effective and strong organisation by helping to define and build its organisation capabilities. Organisation is not a structure or process, it is a distinct set of capabilities. HR professionals can help line managers create meaning, so that the capability of the organisation reflects the deeper values of the employees.
HR professionals are credible activists because they build their personal trust through business acumen. Credibility comes when HR professionals do what they promise, build personal relationships of trust and can be relied on.
In order to be an effective HR professional, it is important that they are able to manage themselves in order to show their teams and organisation that they can be trusted. They can then go on to manage their teams effectively, through to managing across the organisation. HR professionals make change happen at institutional , initiative and individual levels.
1. Undertake a self-assessment against the specification of HR professional practice capabilities, such as the CIPD Associate Membership criteria, to identify professional development needs.
See appendix 1 for SWOT analysis.
2. Evaluate and select at least three development options to meet your needs , explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each, and their fit with your preferred learning style and career aspirations.
Continued Professional Development (CPD) is a necessity in the HR environment. The profession is a very high pace with changes to the law and best practise. CPD makes sure your knowledge is up to date and fresh. New ideas and developments are happening all the time and being dedicated to CPD ensures you are professional and consistent. 20 years ago CPD was not widely spoken of, or used in the HR environment.
Until recently the profession has not recognised the need to adhere to the requirements of other professional bodies (medical, law etc) as HR was seen as a job anyone could do, but the recent introduction of the HR standards and HR Map means all HR professionals need to continue with CPD to reflect the professionalism of their career. In recent years the concept of ‘a job for life’ has subsided and now employees in all professions need to continue to prove their worth and stay valuable to the organisation. Keeping up to date with CPD means you are actively trying to develop yourself and have an interest in developing yourself to benefit the organisation and profession.
I have undertaken a SWOT analysis (Appendix 1) on my current developmental needs. I have also used the HR map to find out where my weaknesses lie as an HR professional. I found this exercise an interesting and useful tool for working out my developmental needs. I have included a Career Development Plan (Appendix 2), this shows my current development needs and I will be referring to them below. My first, and most important need, is an update on HR Law. This is needs so I can give better advice to managers and have the confidence to act on my own beliefs.
My second is updating my knowledge on how to deal with Absence Management, a high level of absenteeism can be extremely costly to an organisation and I would like to develop my knowledge so I can help the absent employee and also help the organisation’s statistics and costs in turn.
My third developmental need is Reward Strategies. I find the topic fresh and a lot of organisations are not fully using the strategies. I would like to enhance my knowledge and research best practise to see what recommendations I can make for the organisation I am employed by.
I intend to satisfy these needs by taking advantage of courses offered by the CIPD, in house training and by attending the Intermediate Certificate in HR Management at Bridgwater College. It is also important for me to use other tools for learning, for example journals, on line resources and many of the books available at local libraries. To satisfy the needs for enhancing my knowledge of HR Law I will be attending the unit on the subject at Bridgwater College and I also regularly attend HR Breakfast’s at FootAnstey Solicitors. They cover a wide range of topics, including sessions on Employment Law. Absence Management will be researched by looking at the media available, for example previous research and best practise. I will also look to attend relevant CIPD courses being held in the South West area. Reward strategies are reasonably new and important when it comes to employee satisfaction and retention. Researching the subject will enable me to make use of best practise and offer recommendations.