Career development: 5 ways to make sure you are up to speed

To find out how to assess where you currently sit and make a plan to get to where you want to be, read my Career Development article on the Human Resources Media website.

To stay current, HR practitioners need to focus on their own career development as much as helping employees with theirs. Here are 5 steps to get you started.

Work is changing so rapidly that the World Economic Forum has dubbed this era as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A 2016 report by the CSIRO and Australian Computer Society, Tomorrow’s Digitally Enabled Workforce, predicts that nearly half of the jobs in Australia are at risk of computerisation and automation. Additionally, job tenure has disappeared, and the rate of casual and contract work is increasing across all professions – including HR. With this level of disruption, having an idea of your career development and trajectory is more important than ever.

It’s critical to your success to stay at the forefront of knowledge and continuously uplift your capability. To do this effectively, you need to understand the gap between the required future skills and your current skills.

Here’s how to assess where you currently sit and make a plan to get to where you want to be.

1. Drill into the present …

Identify all the current skills and knowledge you have. This should cover the full spectrum of your HR toolkit – from technical skills like data analytics and financial savvy, to soft skills like emotional intelligence and business communication.

2. … Then imagine the future

Think about what you really want to do, and where your industry and the HR profession are heading. What does it look like, and what would it take for you to get there?

Do a bit of research and discover what new skills or knowledge (technical, functional and behavioural) you will need to be effective.

3. Know where your knowledge gaps are

Look at the gap between your current skills and the desired future. For each element rate yourself on a scale of 1 – 4:

  1. No current skill or knowledge
  2. Some skill or knowledge
  3. Competent at this skill and have knowledge
  4. Expert with a high degree of skill and knowledge

You can also benchmark your current skills against other HR professionals with AHRI’s Training Needs Analysis Tool.

4. Be creative with your solutions

Craft a list of activities you can undertake to close the gap, and identify what gets priority. This might include: books to read, courses to enrol in, journals to subscribe to, new people to meet and new practices to perfect.

Stretch yourself and have a balance of activities that will be challenging and fun. Consider having a mixture of activities that are good for your mental health, physical health and career health.

5. Get to work!

Create a personal career development plan that maps out your learning goals, and what you will do and by when. Having completion dates and success measures is critical so you can hold yourself to account and monitor progress. If necessary, enlist a buddy to check in on you every once in a while to see how you’re doing.

And then, the only thing left to do is to put your plan into action, check progress and celebrate your career development achievements.

As a human resources professional wanting to thrive in the face of constant change, be ready to step outside your comfort zone, adapt your operating style and update your knowledge bank.