What sort of training or qualifications does one need to be an HR practitioner here?

HR is a profession people can enter at different stages of their career. But in a manager job, growing in stature and influence, the ability to demonstrate professional standards is increasingly important. At least degree level qualifications are desirable, but just as important is the ability to demonstrate continuously updated knowledge and experience. The CIPD has set global standards for HR professionals, constantly updated to reflect the profession as it is today. Accreditation against our standards to Chartered level represents an internationally recognised gold standard.

What is one highlight of being an HR practitioner?

The ability to align the purpose and needs of the business with the desires and capabilities of its people – creating real benefit and value for the business and its people.

What is one downside to being an HR practitioner?

Outdated perceptions of the profession that pigeon-hole us as a purely transactional function, interested only in hiring, firing and driving down costs.

What are some personal traits needed to be a good HR practitioner?

The CIPD, amongst many others, offers a wide range of HR training courses. But courses aren’t everything. Exposing yourself to new challenges, seeking out new experiences, and taking on newresponsibilities is training in itself. CIPD members can use the My HR Profession Map tool to assess where they are in their careers, against where they want to be. The tool gives advice on steps to take to fill gaps in knowledge or experience in order to progress – many of which are low or no cost steps.

What are some of the wrong perceptions that job candidates have about the HR industry?

HR does attract some very unfair misconceptions. It can be seen as dull and bureaucratic. But from my own 20-year career in HR, I know it is a profession that can be dynamic and cutting edge. There is still much of HR that operates at a “transactional” level – and while that is valuable in its own right, it isn’t where we can add the greatest value as a profession. HR is an applied business discipline and when practised at its best, it demonstrates that capacity to shape and drive business strategy, rather than simply responding to and supporting it. There’s no use in us, as a profession, sitting on the sidelines and worrying about how valued we are. We have all the tools at our disposal to drive real business value – and that’s the bottom line. If we’re driving business value, we won’t be undervalued.

What transferrable skills do HR practitioners have?

The first skill is in diagnostics and consulting. HR practitioners  have the ability to step  into a team or organisation, spend time and figure out what is going on based on a process-oriented or relationship-oriented point of view. They can step into a situation and understand what is going on, and figure out what is important to the team or organisation.

Secondly, HR practitioners have the ability to build powerful relationships. They can get alongside

individuals quickly to figure out what is important to them as well and what is needed to support

them to become bigger and better.

The third skill is their ability to influence people around them. HR practitioners know how to build constructive relationships with people in the organisation, and influence them on what they need to do and what needs to be done.

Lastly, HR practitioners have a deep understanding of commercial and director jobs. For HR practitioners to be good, they need to know what is going on in their business from a commercial perspective. They need to understand business dynamics, such as who their stakeholders are, how they make their products and who their customers are.