‘Today HR is at the centre of business performance. HR professionals have an important role to play in driving decisions that enable their organisations to thrive in both the short and the longer term. Where in the past the function delivered the fundamentals that underpinned the employee lifecycle (such as recruitment, induction and salary administration) supporting organisation performance is now the theme running through HR’s work.’ (CIPD – The HR Profession)
But HR is an area that is in continuous development and growth and so diverse between organisations and sectors. Keeping just one single understanding of what the HR Profession is proves to be a constant challenge, reason why, the CIPD tried to benchmark the HR Profession by Introducing the CIPD’s HR professional map. Using extensive research and collaboration with experts and organisations worldwide, the HR map is benchmarking best case practices of what an HR Professional should know and do and how should they act at every stage of their career within the field. This map should represent the global standard for
For the map to fully describe the HR Profession and what an HR Profession should do, know and act upon, the map has been designed to cover 10 professional areas (the HR has been divided in), 8 behaviours that support the HR work and 4 bands of professional competence. While the 8 behaviours define how an HR Professional should act and think and support the development and learning under the 10 professional areas, the 4 bands of professional competence grade your experience and map out transition to the top for each area (in the case of being a specialist inside your organisation) or all of them (for generalists).
CIPD, in their latest report on the HR Map they advise the following: ‘Use the standards to help you in your own professional development and plan your career path, or that of your team. Use them to help you prioritise your work in the coming months, or to help pull together your HR strategy. Simply use the professional areas that are relevant to you and your work at this time, at the band that most suits your needs’. (CIPD – v2.4 Oct 2013)
Analysing the 4 bands of professional competence we can understand that these bands represent the stages every HR Professional should take in his career and the contribution or value the HR professional brings to the organisation (as a whole, through teams, processes or individuals). These 4 bands reflect in both competencies/behaviours and professional areas. The bands the contribution the HR Professional should have in each of the following key area:
- Relationship with client
- Focus on activity
- Where time is spent
- The service offered to clients
- Measurement / results
All professional areas and behaviours are setting the standards in these four bands / levels in order to describe the progression and development.
Moving towards the professional areas, we can notice that there are 2 core areas that underpin all the HR Map together. They are Insights, Strategy and Solutions and Leading HR and the reason why they are being central is because they are applicable to all HR professionals, regardless of role(specialist, generalist, L&D), location(worldwide) or stage of career(from band 1 to 4), whether inside organisations (internal) or working with them (contactors or consultants).
CIPD describes these professional areas as(CIPD V2.4, Oct-2013):
- Insights, strategy and solutions – Develop understanding of the organisation and its context and use these insights to tailor strategy and solutions to meet organisational needs now and in the future.
- Leading HR – Act as a role model leader, maximising the contribution that HR, or your specialist function, makes throughout the organisation both through own efforts and through supporting, developing and measuring others across the organisation.
- Organisation design – Ensure the organisation is designed to deliver maximum impact (short and long term)
- Organisation development – Identify organisational and individual capability requirements and align strategy, people and processes to optimise effectiveness and achieve organisation goals. Design interventions to drive the appropriate culture, behaviours, skills, and performance and provide insight and leadership on change management strategy, planning and implementation.
- Resourcing and talent planning – Ensure that the organisation has the right resource, capability and talent to achieve immediate and strategic ambitions now and in the future.
- Learning and development – Build individual and organisational capability and knowledge to meet current and strategic requirements, and create a learning culture to embed capability development.
- Performance and reward – Help create and maintain a high-achieving organisation culture by delivering programmes that reward and recognise key employee capabilities, skills, behaviours, experience and performance, and ensure that reward systems are market-relevant, fair and cost-effective.
- Employee engagement – Work to strengthen the connection that all employees have with their work, colleagues and to their organisation so that employees are more fulfilled by their work and make a greater contribution towards organisational objectives: give particular attention to good leadership and management.
- Employee relations – Ensure that the individual and collective relationship between the organisation and its employees are managed appropriately; within a clear framework underpinned by organisation culture, practices, polices and ultimately by relevant law.
- Service delivery and information – Ensure customer-focused HR service delivery excellence across the entire employee lifecycle, applying exceptional process and project management to enable effective and cost-efficient HR service delivery; provide the organisation with meaningful analytics to enable business improvement.
You don’t need to be an expert into all these fields as your role could be of specialist or some of these areas might have been given to other positions inside the organisation
The Profession Map Behaviours describe the competencies the HR professionals need to have to carry and perform within an HR related role. To reach the level of professionalism the role requires specific competencies to be proven at each band level throughout the HR path.
The competencies described by the CIPD’s HR Professional Map are (CIPD V2.4, Oct-2013):
This is a very complex system that allows each individual and team to assess both their knowledge, performance and skills in becoming an “HR Professional” but going inside the centre of this Map, the heart of the profession we find the 2 professional areas named here “Insights, strategy and solutions” and “Leading HR”, which makes us wonder how to these 2 areas apply to each individual that works inside HR or contributes to what HR Professionalism is.
These 2 professional areas “underpin the direction of the profession as an applied business discipline with a people and organisation specialism, and describe how great HR professionals work for HR’s purpose – sustainable organisation performance – to be made real by using insights to create HR strategies and deliver solutions that stick, taking people with them and staying agile and innovative” (CIPD p9 V2.4, Oct-2013). These 2 areas, supported by the 8 behaviours allow us to perform as HR Professionals within all professional areas on all 4 bands.
To take an example we will choose two behaviours, such as Curious and Personally Credible and show how these support the knowledge and activities defined by “Insights, strategy and solutions” and “Leading HR”.
For Insights, strategy and solutions, to build the picture of how our organisation is currently functioning on the market, from both business view and HR related view. So we need a high level of Curiosity to analyse internally and externally our organisation, placing the organisation in the bigger picture and match what is going on inside with the market by connecting with other specialists. You use the personally credible behaviour in connecting with others and using analytical tools, experience and management information to understand where your organisation is currently and what are the coming trends, business and HR related.
Reaching this point you need to develop actionable insights so your curiosity and credibility to identify opportunities and risks, collaborate internally to choose appropriate priorities and activities and have a valid opinion inside the organisation related to the risks that are threatening the company.
You use your curiosity and credibility to develop and implement situational HR solutions, by extensive research, always being interested how each process suits each identified risk and how you evaluate the implementation and success of these initiatives. Supported by these 2 behaviours you are able to build capacity and capability. You are creative and seen as credible when you inspire professionalism to other people, regardless the management level they are on. They are supportive of the HR systems and initiatives you are implementing and always opened that with your professionalism and curiosity, you can find the proper way to manage issues, situations and difficult conversations, advise accordingly and support each individual, assess team culture and provide insights and even coach managers on organisational change and culture development.
Being curious means being constantly interested on how the business is working, how each department and individual is contributing to organisational goals, how the business suits the market, how the competition or similar companies are working and functioning, being up to date with all job requirements, including law, HR processes and leadership techniques. Having all this knowledge and being constantly interested in understanding the changes develops your credibility as an expert, a professional in the area, where people rely on you that you understand the business and are capable to implement changes and adjust the course in order to reach and support others in reaching organisational goals.
Compared to this Leading HR should show personal leadership, ability to lead others and leading and solving business related issues. Being curious in this matter and showing credibility means, as an HR Professional you constantly seek feed-back and coaching to develop and grow, identify and act with a business mindset on what genuinely creates value for the business, analyse and communicate the value HR brings to the organisation and support the design and implementation of HR solutions, locally and across business. Managing yourself in this context is very important as and HR professional and an ambassador inside the organisation. Constantly developing yourself, growing and being seen as an important part of the business while you represent HR is an important step in both crossing from one band to another but also growing a culture that understands the value of Human Resource and how it brings value and performance to all the business.
Crossing from individual level to groups and teams, curiosity and credibility are important in getting to know the people you work with. Managing people and helping teams reach performance, means genuinely understanding how each person in the team works, understands the task, the goal and the tools used to work. Being interested in their development and understanding needs to be genuine so it can create credibility in you managing them towards success.
Managing upwards and across means being the support point for fixing HR related issues to all levels of organisation, from supporting managers in implementing best case practices systems, managing organisational change, adjusting and analysing budgets and delivering performance across the organisation. Being creative(curious) and competent(credible) allows you to support the HR function design and service delivery, resource planning and development, delivering value and performance in groups and teams and manage HR related budgets and finances.
- CIPD – Professional Map –http://www.cipd.co.uk/cipd-hr-profession/hr-profession-map/
- CIPD – The HR Profession – http://www.cipd.co.uk/cipd-hr-profession/hr-profession/
- CIPD – Profession Map – Our Professional Standards V2.4, Oct-2013, http://www.cipd.co.uk/binaries/profession-map-2.4-Oct-2013.pdf
Until the next post,