Developing Professional Practice

Explain what you think it means to conduct yourself as a ‘professional’, not just generally but with specific reference to ‘professionalism’ within the HR function.

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Professionalism is a concept that cannot be defined in one term. Considering professionalism within different professions, each new definition will be different from the previous one as the specifics of the responsibilities performed by the employees influence the explanation of the concept of professionalism. In general, professionals may be defined as a continuous process that “needs to begin in graduate programs and requires the opportunity for modeling, practice, and sponsorship from professionals and professional organizations” (Kasar & Clark 2000, p. 5). Considering professionals from the point of view of a specific profession, it is important to remember that professionalism should be considered as the emphasis on a specific feature of activity which should be considered as a core criterion. The worker should pay high attention to this feature and develop it each time the opportunity arises (Diepeveen 2003, p. 262).

Considering professionalism from the point of view of HR management, this concept may be described in the sense of offering high-quality services, meeting the needs and requirements of the clients, and contributing to the organizational objectives (Farndale 2005, p. 660). Professionalism in HR management may be characterized as meeting the following traits, “community with a strong sense of identity”, “common standards of entry and performance and an ethical code of conduct”, “a distinct body of knowledge and a set of core competencies”, and “a requirement for training and certification” (Sparrow, P, Brewster, C & Harris 2004, p. 181).

To be more specific, it is important to check the HR profession map pointing to the ethical, operational, and performance dimensions demonstrated there. Identifying the specific areas an HR manager should be perfect at, the professional map points to the qualities and skills he/she should fulfill. A professional HR manager should properly understand business and use insights to perform activities and solve problems. The main responsibilities of an HR manager in the strategic insights and solutions professional area are to understand the main ideas of the business operations, drive changes, change the business impacts, and promote leadership in the organization (Farnham 2010). This band of professional competence covers four other professional areas, like performance and reward, employee engagement and relations, and service delivery and information (Professional areas 2011). Another band of professional competence, leading and managing the human resources function, covers organization design and development, resourcing and talent planning, and learning and talent development (Professional areas 2011). Bubb and Earley (2007) are sure that within this professional area, a good HR manager should show his/her role in co-ordinator professional development, training, and investing in people.

HR professional needs to be a business focussed ‘thinking performer’ committed to continuous learning and professional development whilst making a corporate contribution because an HR manager is highly appreciated as a professional only when he/she can use personal skills, knowledge, and experience in the specific field the organization functions (Megginson & Whitaker 2003). Living in the world of high competition, lack of security, and too much available information about the general issues, an organization usually searched for a person who can focus on the specifics of the company’s development and performance.

Advisory, executive, and administrative professional actions may be performed at each of four concentric circles of HR professionalism, personal management, group management, upwards management, and organizational management. For example, managing employee relations, an HR manager may give pieces of advice using the personal mode of behavior, involving the team in training, or organizational management practices which may be considered as the best tools for making sure that the relationships among employees, both horizontally and vertically are healthy. The same goes for learning and talent development. The ability to manage employee relations or organize the learning and talent development in such a way that the company performance becomes more efficient is the professionalism of an HR manager.

In this company, we expect every employee, and we do mean every employee, to be a ‘thinking performer’. So if you were to join us we would expect you to exhibit the characteristics of a ‘thinking performer’ yourself. Explain what is your opinion of the concept means and why it is a model that should be applied to every employee.

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There are four concentric circles of UR professionalism, personal management, group management, upwards management, and organizational management. Each of the following circles adds to the previous one, as without the self-management, team management is impossible (Horn 2009). Being a thinking performer in the organization means to be a member of each circle at the same time. This means to be a thinking performer. Considering the thinking performer employee skills and responsibilities, it is important to points that performing such functions, an employee is not just acting “an administrative role and critically reflects on the contribution of HR activities to overall business success and new and better mechanisms to provide people-added valued” (Wilton 2010, p. 17). In other words, an employee should constantly increase his/her value using constant development to be useful to the company (McKenna & Beech 2008, p. 49).

Therefore, what does the “thinking” mean in the “thinking performer” statement if to consider it within the concepts of the HR professional map? First of all, this means that an employee continues to develop all of the professional areas he/she is responsible for. Second, personal opinion and judgments are expressed that makes an opportunity for an employee to develop some of the following skills. An employee should be driven using the personal plan with specific objectives to increase the effectiveness. A “thinking performer” can always demonstrate knowledge about managing people and business needs. “Thinking” also means to make appropriate recommendations, continue learning, and remain focused on customers. Analytical and intuitive thinking means that creative abilities are demonstrated. Meeting a definite number of professional standards and understanding the concepts of strategic capabilities are the requirements each employee in the company should follow (Marchington & Wilkinson 2005, p. 29).

All employees should be “thinking performers” as in this case the effectiveness and efficacy of the whole working process will increase. To be a “thinking performer” means to “be knowledgeable and competent in various fields and to be able to move beyond compliance to provide a critique of organizational policies and procedures and to advise on how organizations should develop in the future” (Armstrong 2006, p. 92). If each employee performs these functions, the working process in the organization is going to be smooth. People perform their tasks, always try to improve their performance, and do not violate their responsibilities. The company develops and its core goals are met, to use the human potential at the whole volume. When all employees try to reach the same purpose and perform the same activities, they have similar values that are directed at company development (Liff 2011, p. 31). Moreover, being a “thinking performer” an employee continues to develop.

Show how you could exemplify the principles of ‘professionalism’ and the practices of a ‘thinking performer’ in your everyday actions as an HR Advisor. Take two typical scenarios in which you might expect to become involved as an HR Advisor and indicate how you could act professionally and as a thinking performer in these situations.

There are four concentric circles, managing self, managing others, managing upwards, and managing across the organization, which may be considered as a consequence of the events. First, it is important to learn to manage self, then a person can manage others. When the manage other skills are achieved, the managing upwards goal should be reached and then managing across the organization (Charan, Drotter & Noel 2011). The awareness of these four concentric circles may be helpful for an HR manager who is considered as an advisor when a specific situation happens. These four circles may be considered on the specific organizational scenarios when the skills and abilities learned from each level are helpful.

Training and Development – The GE Way (2005) is the organizational scenario that points to the situation when the company appeared in when has decided to change the management principle. Being a huge company with representatives in more than 160 countries, General Electric Company has taken the direction at the decentralization. But, the company has failed to provide this method for several reasons. Having been working for many years, the company never faced serious problems in HR management, but the change of the principle of running a business has created a problem. The main reason for the appeared problem is that employees in the company did not provide self-management. When the decentralization took place, the employees were not able to make decisions, critically assess the situations, and make pieces of advice on organizational future functioning as they were not “thinking performers”, the skill that each employee should possess. Furthermore, the absence of the perfectly developed managing others skill was also absent. Training is the main direction the organization should follow to achieve the results. The employees should be explained that continuing professional development is not just a term, it is an opportunity to be successful in the workplace and always remain rainmakers (Watson, Gallagher & Armstrong 2005).

The HR Problems in Hyundai Motor Co. (2004) has faced a problem when it has tried to strengthening business and to increase the employees’ number using aggressive politics. Having considered the situation, it may be concluded that the company has tried the wrong HR management system. Hiring employees based on their skills without being trained in a specific field of business is the wrong choice. The company did not consider the importance of “thinking performance” which significance is in the focus on business peculiarities. Performing the functions of the HR advisor, I would offer the organization to act based on managing upwards and managing across the organization principles. Aggressive management is ineffective if there are more relevant means of managing staff.

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You will have gathered that our business places enormous importance on continuous improvement, not just corporately but also for everyone in our workforce. We need to know, therefore, that you will be strongly committed to CPD – not just in terms of your everyday rhetoric but in terms of your everyday behavior.

The main purposes behind the CPD are to encourage employees for further personal development and make those quality professionals in the field. Referring to the definition of CPD, it may be said that the main purposes of CPD are “systematically maintain, improve and broad knowledge and skill, and develop personal qualities necessary for the execution of professional and technical duties throughout the practitioner’s working life” (Lorriman 1997, p. 2). CPD has become an essential part of the professional’s toolkit as the world does not standstill. The technologies are developing, different skills improve, and information flow increases. It is impossible to remain in the same position if one wants to achieve success. Professional success depends on human personal growth (Trevitt & Perera 2009), so the unlimited and uninterrupted CPD is extremely important in the modern world.

Having considered personal developmental plan, it can be easy to identify personal three development needs. These needs are based on weaknesses as these skills should be developed. First of all, the strategic thinking skills must be improved. This will help me made fast decisions for long-term periods. Leadership skills should be improved. And, finally, practical and theoretical skills in social accountability could be considered (Institute of Leadership & Mana 2007; Fleet, Kirby, Cutler, Dunikowski, Nasmith & Shaughnessy 2008). Case studies are considered to be the best technique for applying theoretical knowledge to practical skills without being able to apply for a job and get professional skills there.

Reflecting on the personal development plan, it should be stated that being considered for a long-term period, it is going to be changed sometime later as the goals stated there may be achieved faster whole there may be several difficulties with others. Training and development courses should be attended as they are considered to be the central sources for continuing professional development (Botez 2008; Ritchie 2007).

Reference List

Armstrong, M 2006, A handbook of human resource management practice, Kogan Page Publishers, London.

Bubb, S & Earley, P 2007, Leading & Managing Continuing Professional Development: Developing People, Developing Schools, SAGE, New York.

Charan, R, Drotter, S & Noel, J 2011, The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company. John Wiley and Sons, New York.

Botez, D 2008, ‘CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT — A CONCEPT AND REQUIREMENT FOR PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTANTS’, Annals of the University of Oradea, Economic Science Series, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 1008-1011.

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Diepeveen, L 2003, The difficulties of modernism, Routledge, Oxford.

Farndale, E 2005, ‘HR department professionalism: a comparison between the UK and other European countries’, International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 16, no. 5, pp. 660-675.

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Fleet, L, Kirby, F, Cutler, S, Dunikowski, L, Nasmith, L, & Shaughnessy, R 2008, ‘Continuing professional development and social accountability: A review of the literature’, Journal of Interprofessional Care, vol. 22, pp. 15-29.

Horn, R 2009, The Business Skills Handbook, Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, London.

‘HR Problems in Hyundai Motor Co.’ 2004, ICMR: IBS Center for Management Research, Web.

Institute of Leadership & Mana 2007, Managing Conflict in the Workplace Super Series, Elsevier, Oxford.

Kasar, J & Clark, EN 2000, Developing professional behaviors, SLACK Incorporated, Thorofare.

Liff, S 2011, Improving the Performance of Government Employees: A Manager’s Guide, AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn, New York.

Lorriman, J 1997, Continuing Professional Development: A Practical Approach, IET, Stevenage.

Marchington, M & Wilkinson, A 2005, Human resource management at work: people management and development, CIPD Publishing, London.

McKenna, E & Beech, N 2008, Human Resource Management: A Concise Analysis, Pearson Education, London.

Megginson, D & Whitaker, V 2003, Continuing professional development, CIPD Publishing, London.

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Ritchie, A 2007, Continuing professional development: pathways to leadership in the library and information world, Walter de Gruyter, Morlenbach.

Sparrow, P, Brewster, C & Harris, H 2004, Globalizing human resource management, Routledge, Oxford.

‘Training and Development – The GE Way’ 2005, ICMR: IBS Center for Management Research, Web.

Trevitt, C, & Perera, C 2009, ‘Self and continuing professional learning (development): issues of curriculum and identity in developing academic practice’, Teaching in Higher Education, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 347-359.

Ulrich, D, Brockbank, W & Johnson, D 2008, HR Competencies: Mastery at the Intersection of People and Business, Society for Human Resource Management, New York.

Watson, G, Gallagher, K & Armstrong, M 2005, Managing for results, CIPD Publishing, London.

Wilton, N 2010, An Introduction to Human Resource Management, SAGE Publications Ltd, New York.


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Price, A 2007, Human Resource Management in a Business Context, Cengage Learning EMEA, London.

Winstanley, D 2005, Personal effectiveness: an action guide, CIPD Publishing, London.

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