A View from the Table

By: Laraine Knauss, SPHR SHRM-SCP

We hear so much about human resources professionals wanting to get a seat at the table, the executive table; but, what about HR professionals who have already earned that seat at the table?  Now what?  What’s next?  My belief is that in addition to fulfilling your role in your organization as a business partner with an emphasis in human resources, your role becomes about giving back, about helping others reach their goals.  I know that for many of us, giving back does not just start when we have reached our goals…it is a process that happens along the way.  For others, the focus doesn’t shift until they are where they have aspired to be.

Sometimes giving back is about helping others within your organization.  What are you doing to identify others with leadership abilities?  Once identified, what are you doing to mentor or coach them to success?  Have you set aside time to nurture the ability or talent of someone in your organization, whether in HR or another area?  For some individuals, the need is one of discovery, helping them see something in themselves, either positive or negative, that they were not aware of.  Sometimes it is about the technical knowledge and skills needed to succeed and other times it is about learning the softer skills required for business success….communication skills, public speaking, networking, etc.  The SHRM Certifications, SHRM CP and SHRM SCP, combine technical HR knowledge with the behavioral competencies required to succeed as an HR professional.  Have you encouraged your HR staff to become certified?

Sometimes giving back is about helping someone outside your organization.  This too can take many forms.  Perhaps you belong to a professional organization, like Tri-State HRMA, and have met someone who is at the beginning stages of their career and is looking for someone to mentor them.  Have you considered being a mentor?  You and your mentee can establish the parameters of this relationship and the time commitment involved.   Perhaps you have the desire and ability to teach.  This can be an extremely rewarding way to give back, to share your knowledge and experience with others.  There is nothing like learning from an established HR professional who can not only share technical book learning, but can bring the information alive with real life examples of how the knowledge is actually applied in the workplace.

Another opportunity to give back is to volunteer with a non-profit organization.  Some smaller non-profit organizations do not have an HR professional on staff and would welcome the opportunity to have an HR professional volunteer with their organization.  Again, you can determine the amount of time you have to volunteer and the expertize you bring.  Maybe you can be an as needed resource, on call.  Perhaps there is a pressing project that you can either assist with or handle completely.

I challenge all of us who have reached the highest levels of our organizations to remember how we got there.  Very few of us can say that we achieved our current level of success without the help of others.  Where would we be without the assistance we received?   Imagine then, how each of us can impact the career of someone else.  For me, giving back isn’t just a nice thing to do; it is a moral imperative, a way to show my gratitude to those who have helped me throughout my career.  Please join me in sharing your passion for our profession with others on the HR pathway!

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