7 Ways to Boost Your HR Career in 2023
HR professionals play an indispensable role within an organization. They influence company culture, DEI initiatives, benefit offerings, and more. These aspects of business are critical for retention and long-term organizational success, but it takes time for HR pros to achieve excellence in all of these areas. So what can you do to get your HR career to that next level?
Take a look at these seven critical steps that you can use to boost your HR career in 2023.
1. Understand Your Why
Success looks different to everyone, so you must understand what it looks like to you before you get to work. The most critical point to consider when determining your future success is your “why.” Why are you seeking this career boost? Why are you striving for success in this field? These questions are vital to the success of any HR professional because you cannot successfully move forward without a defining reason.
To better understand your “why,” ask these questions:
What are my goals?
Where do I see myself at this time next year?
What are my strengths and weaknesses?
What opportunities do I have available to me right now?
Why am I drawn to this career in the first place?
If you can successfully answer these questions, the path to success will become clear.
2. Take Action
Once you understand what you are striving for, it is time to take action. Big plans for achievement suddenly become meaningless without an actionable plan.
HR professionals should take a proactive approach in their roles. These departments are often quite limited in small to medium-sized businesses, with some only staffing one employee. In these roles, taking action is vital.
Taking action means HR professionals must find ways to be innovative and involved from the start. If they remain passive, the role can quickly become chaotic and overwhelming.
Workweek's Chief People Officer, Hebba Youssef, says there are signs that an HR professional is working from a reactive perspective as opposed to a proactive one:
"A new program/policy only gets rolled out after several people complain or ask the same question.
Engagement programs pop up after employee morale seems down.
Retention bonuses come into play after a number of employees depart.
DEI only becomes a goal/focus/care when the organization starts looking homogeneous."
Focus on eliminating this mindset and remain in a proactive one.
Being proactive will also help you move forward in your career. If you are always behind or playing catch-up, you will never have time to develop new skills or push for improvement. And keep in mind that if you make a mistake, it is okay. Mistakes can certainly be costly, but they can also be helpful in the long term. Not every idea works as you hope, and sometimes it can backfire, but what matters is that you understand why it did not work and use that knowledge moving forward to create even more robust strategies.
3. Earn an HR Certification
The human resources industry is growing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of human resources specialists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.”
Knowing that the field will only become more competitive within the next decade, HR professionals will want to do everything they can to stand out among their peers. HR certifications can help make that happen.
"Believe it or not, we have correlated the individual capabilities of more than 8,000 HR professionals against their company performance, and we can prove to you that companies with great HR teams deliver great business results. And this is not an accident. All the important things that matter: hiring the right people, building strong leadership, redeploying people during change, and driving new skills and innovation in the company, are things that HR people understand."
It is a core aspect of HR to initiate new learning opportunities within organizations. This very much applies to the HR professional as well.
Certifications teach you more about your role and show other professionals that you are a trusted source of information.
Many courses, such as our BernieU curriculum, can help you build new skills and expand your abilities. Take time to hone in on areas of interest and continue building a solid framework for the future of your career.
Achieving success on a one-person HR team requires being a subject matter expert on all things HR. You need to be the person who has the answers when other members of your organization come to you with concerns. When you take time to build upon your existing skills, you can provide employees with a more fully-encompassed response. This is one way to push your career forward and to greater heights.
Networking is a crucial element needed for growing your career in HR. As an industry, HR is constantly evolving and adapting to economic, social, and political changes. These changes can affect day-to-day business in new and unexpected ways. Networking with other professionals can lend you perspective on these changes and provide new insights and ideas on the best adaptation practices.
Networking also provides you with connections. As your career progresses, these contacts can be excellent references for you. Even if you are the only HR professional in your organization, you cannot be successful in the industry alone.
Mentorship programs or mentors, in general, are great programs to help ensure HR pros have accountability and advisors to help them stay the course and make wise decisions for their careers.
5. Continue Learning and Developing
Never stop learning. You will never be in a position where you know everything. Even the leading industry experts update their information daily based on changes in the HR landscape. New rulings, laws, trends, and needs force changes in the industry, requiring continuous education.
The most effective way of staying educated is by keeping up with the latest news and trends in HR. Check out HR news sites that provide updated information when new rulings are announced. News sites will also cover recent trends in the industry. For up-to-date news and trends, check out our blog here.
Continuing education courses are also a great way to improve your knowledge. Even if you are well-versed in a specific area, a course can offer you a new perspective or understanding you have yet to consider. Take advantage of new learning opportunities with excitement and an open mind.
Online or in-person courses and conferences, such as Weekdays with Bernie, can be an excellent way to improve your understanding of the entire scope of HR practices. For example, this year at Weekdays with Bernie, HR professionals will hear from SHRM President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor. They will have a chance to learn about a broad range of topics, including wage inflation, culture, talent, and other critically essential issues impacting businesses today. HR pros can even earn SHRM credits for attending.
This is just one example of how HR employees can continue their development and take their careers to the next level.
6. Focus on People
HR has many facets that can be both technical and complex. While systems and procedures are a core aspect of the profession, an over-commitment can cause professionals to lose sight of a critical part of the job—the people.
HR professionals, perhaps more than any other industry professionals, can directly impact an employee's experience in the workplace. That should be exciting! When HR gets caught up in the technical aspects of the job, it can become a draining profession.
Coreyne Woodman-Holoubek, Founder of Progressive HR and LinkedIn Top Voice in Company Culture 2022, makes a great point about the importance of the people in your organization. In an interview with Medium.com, She says:
"We must stop the boasting of a hustle culture and ‘the badge’ of being too busy. We must make self-care a priority and include therapy in line with preventive measures in our health insurance coverage so employers do not lose $300 billion in lost productivity due to burnout, stress, and meeting overload. We must set boundaries and not tolerate the bullying of people for setting boundaries, embracing a future where outcomes are the goal, not hours on the clock."
This is not to say that distributing I-9s and W-2s is not an extremely important role in the workplace—it most certainly is. This is only a reminder that the job is about more than documentation and implementation. The human element is fundamental and crucial to succeeding in the role.
The most experienced and applauded professionals are the ones who focus on the whole picture. This thinking drives employee engagement and creates opportunities for increased productivity and success. A people-focused lens is critical to bump your career to that next stage.
7. Request Feedback
The final point to consider is the value of seeking out feedback. Feedback is foundational and a requirement for any profession. You can only know so much about your own strengths and weaknesses. At a certain point, you will need to triangulate. Reach out to your colleagues, your boss, and your other managers. Find out what is working and what they feel could be improved.
HR has its hands in just about every department in some shape or form. Find out what other teams think about your work. Some departments may appreciate your efforts, while others may have unique concerns. This will grant you insight into what you may be focusing too much energy on and where you could allocate some extra time moving forward.
Remember that improving your HR career begins with following the proper steps, maintaining a strong enthusiasm, and seeking long-term success. Boosting your career is a daily investment that requires tenacity and motivation.
So, follow these steps and work towards achieving your HR goals in 2023.
You can also stay informed, educated, and up-to-date with HR and other important topics by using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:
BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit
BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop-shop for HR industry news
HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance
HR Guides—essential pillars covering an extensive list of comprehensive HR topics
HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics
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