The importance of developing yourself



You’ve completed your degree, masters and even a HR qualification and secured your first job. You may even be working in your second HR role. Well done. Many of you have spent months even years studying missed out on a social life, what social life I hear you say and now you want to have fun. Time to pack away your books and start living.  Stop right there!

Continuous Professional Development

Oh no you grown, not more studying. This phrase may hit you between the eyes with a large punch as you thought your studying days were over. The world of business is now global and if you live in a major city with a thriving business culture you will have noticed this.  Africa and India is booming and open for business. The economy of no other continent has grown as rapidly as Africa in the past decade. The tech and digital world is growing at a phenomenal rate in those countries and in America and Europe too.

As a HR professional it is important that you understand the area of business your company operates in or the company you want to work for.  HR can no longer operate in a silo, it needs to fit into the jigsaw puzzle called a business, understanding the important contribution HR makes in the business is imperative. Even if you are a HR Business Partner or HR Manager you need to understand the area of the business you provide a service to and how it fits into the wider business.

So where do you start to get more information? Go back to university/college to do another course? Can’t face that. There are plenty of other options, with smart phones and tablets you can sign up and download various sources of information. TED talks are brilliant, on Youtube you will find talks from numerous thought leaders who are sharing their insights, alternatively sign up to attend networking events and talk to people there exchange business cards/contact numbers, watch business programmes, whatever works for you but find a way to develop yourself. You want up to date information.

Reading business books is another way, either a hard copy or an eBook. Find a person you admire the most and research how they made it. Be sure to read how they failed but got back up. No story is every all pink and fluffy. Don’t wait for your boss to put you on a training course, if you can afford it find a training course locally to attend or do an online course. It is important that you help yourself in your career as waiting for someone else, it may never happen.

How about looking to help out a local charity by becoming a trustee or a non-executive. They are always looking for HR support at strategic level. Perhaps you have never considered this. Think about the contribution you can bring to an organisation, and you’ll be gaining new skills too.

I recall attending my first Management Board meeting as a non-executive. It was nerve racking verging on intimidating as I didn’t know what to expect. Of course I was felt overwhelmed but after a couple of meetings I quickly got my feet under the table and established myself. All my extra-curricular ‘continuous professional development’ activities had prepared me for this.

Learning never stops, life is about choices and opportunities. However, it’s up to you what you decide to do. But don’t get upset when you see your colleagues soaring a head of you. In life you can either suck lemons or eat the honey.


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