A number of organisations have established a specialised human resource (HR) department to handle the issue of recruitment and retention of talent. The HR function in such firms is referred to as People/Performance Partnership (PPP). It is an integral part of the organisation. The PPP is made up of two components. They include the People Unit, which deals with matters to do with conformity to a number of provisions (Conway 2004). The other is the Performance Unit. It deals with the sustained enhancement of change in the company.
In this paper, the author responds to a number of questions posed by a PPP director in a high performance working (HPW) firm. The questions are contained in a letter responding to the author’s application for a vacancy in the firm. The queries deal with the issue of professionalism within the HR setting.
Professional Conduct at Work
Professionalism can be defined as the ethical conduct of an individual at their places of work. The concept is not limited to blue-collar professionals, such as accountants and the rest. According to Conway (2004), employees working at all levels of an organisation are required to conduct themselves in a respectful manner. They are expected to promote the image of their employer through their behaviours. In the context of a professional operating in the human resource sector, the requirements for good conduct are just as high. Professionalism can be equated to the health of the individual. To this end, it is noted that the quality of one’s health is obvious to all.
The lack of a professional code of conduct has several implications on both the individual and their organisation. Bowen and Ostroff (2004) point out that one of the most likely consequences of such acts is the loss of one’s job. To this end, an individual who always conducts themselves in a professional manner is able to advance in their career (Bowen & Ostroff 2004). In light of this, it is apparent that good professional conduct has a number of dos and don’ts.
The element of time is an important determinant of the performance of any employee (Bowen & Ostroff 2004). Edgar and Geare (2005) suggest that punctuality is an integral aspect of a human resource professional. Professionalism requires one to observe time to avoid inconveniences. Consequently, a professional is expected to show up early for work, meetings, and other engagements. Lateness and such other behaviours suggest nonchalance on the part of the employee. Such a disposition is unacceptable in any working environment. It is important to note that keeping time extends to how well one manages their tea and lunch breaks.
With regards to human resource, professionalism brings into focus the issue of how one interacts with their colleagues. Nobody likes associating with a person full of negative energy. According to Gelade and Gilbert (2003), a professional may come under emotional duress for a number of reasons. Stressing situations may lead to bad moods. However, Gelade and Gilbert (2003) suggest that a professional is expected to manage their emotions such that bad mood does not spill over into their work. As such, their emotional status should not affect their performance. There are instances where moodiness may be brought about by inevitable occurrences at the workplace. It is important to seek guidance and counselling to ensure that the individual’s moods do not affect their work.
Presentation is another integral part of professionalism in relation to human resource. The manner in which an individual opts to present themselves determines how others respond to them. Conway (2004) argues that a professional HR practitioner is required to maintain a dress code that is appropriate to their workplace. For instance, a properly worn suit and tie are ideal for a professional (Conway 2004). However, there are certain organisations that encourage casual wear. Nonetheless, one has to be neat and presentable.
There are individuals who have a tendency of swearing and using profane words. Such kind of behaviour is not expected of a professional. Edgar and Geare (2005) point out that swearing and cursing is a form of offensive conduct. It has no place in any professional establishment. To this end, rather than swear to imply honesty, a simple statement to indicate that one did something wrong is enough. In the case of frustration, it is not necessary to use abusive words. Instead, a simple stroll out of the office can ease the situation.
The Concept of a Thinking Performer
Thinking is an important aspect of human life. Confucius stated that an individual who learns but does not think is lost (Gould-Williams 2003). The statement proves that it is dangerous to think and fail to learn. The teachings by Confucius underscore the importance of thinking as an individual. Evaluation and analysis are supported by an effective learning process. To this end, a question is raised as to who is a thinking performer, especially with regards to human resource.
The various levels of an organisation are replete with different kinds of leaders. A thinking performer is seen as a leader in their own right. Guest (2002) is of the view that a thinking performer is always keen on improving upon existing aspects of an organisation. Consequently, such an individual will ensure that they develop skills and techniques that collectively improve upon the performance of the firm they are working for (Guest 2002).
A thinking performer is moulded by their understanding of various learning processes. Guerrero and Barruad-Didier (2004) argue that each individual has the potential to develop and harness their innate innovative abilities. However, the same calls for learning to sharpen the innovative thoughts that one has developed. To this end, a thinking performer is an important part of an organisation as they are needed to encourage continuous innovation. Guerrero and Barruad-Didier (2004) point out that this form of a performer is capable of realising the growth of the firm faster than an in-sourced professional.
The model of a thinking performer is seen as a behavioural framework within a firm. According to Hartog and Verburg (2004), the model is characterised by efficient result delivery. In addition, the framework makes it possible to conduct periodic reviews of the manner through which activities are carried out. The same enables employees to come up with better techniques and, consequently, improved quality of standards. Separately, Guest (2002) suggests that thinking performers outline the challenges associated with performance in an organisation. Their conduct results in an evaluation of whether the company procedures are effectively carried out or not. To this end, improved techniques of operation are introduced.
The concept of a thinking performer is necessary for a contemporary organisation. It offers the radical nature required for constant improvement of operations in the firm (Guest 2002). Based on this model, commitment to the organisation’s performance becomes a culture. The innovativeness characterised by this framework ensures that the employer is conversant with emergent techniques and concepts.
Daily Actions of a Human Resource Advisor
A human resource advisor has an integral role to play in the operational aspects of an organisation. According to Murphy and Southey (2003), the professional oversees the attendance and employment relations in the firm. In addition, they are responsible for the recruitment and establishment of award mechanisms.
Generally, a human resource advisor maintains a high quality of standards within this profession. When it comes to queries concerning human resource, the advisor is the first point of contact. To this end, professionalism calls for efficient handling of complaints. Lepak and Snell (2002) argue that an HR professional is expected to come up with solutions to complaints on the spot. To this end, the advisor is required to be a thinking performer. An example of a scenario that highlights the importance of this professional involves complaints of sexual harassment in the firm.
Arbitration techniques are needed to manage instances where complaints are made to the HR department. Meyer and Smith (2000) are of the opinion that the various complaints brought against a firm should be handled in a professional manner. To this end, the HR advisor is supposed to ensure the anonymity of the complainants. In addition, they have to ascertain the veracity of such complaints. Consequently, an HR advisor must have the ability to think on their feet and come up with solutions to address such problems. Such a move ensures that professional integrity is maintained and conflict resolution techniques enhanced.
A human resource advisor plays a key role in recruitment campaigns. According to Laursen and Foss (2003), recruitment drives pose a potential threat to professional integrity. For instance, nepotism and favouritism are likely to occur in such campaigns. Professionalism calls for the hiring of new staff based on their competencies and not on social ties. In this case, an HR advisor is required to ensure that the members of staff recruited are capable of meeting the organisation’s objectives. In addition, they should ensure that the new employees add value to the company.
The HR advisor should make sure that nepotism and other forms of favouritism are eliminated from the recruitment exercise. Laursen and Foss (2003) argue that academic qualifications are needed to secure a position in an organisation. However, recruitment should also focus on innovativeness. The dynamic business environment calls for innovative employees. To this end, workers should be recruited based on their ability to perform.
Commitment to Continuing Professional Development
Purposes of CPD
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is intended to encourage the systematic development of human resource practitioners. Yao-Sheng (2006) argues that the main objective of this concept is to support the continued improvement of skills and knowledge within an organisation. It ensures that individuals and companies gain new experiences from the knowledge and skills emerging from the process.
CPD enables individuals to keep up with the ever-changing business environment. Way (2002) holds that change allows people to improve their abilities. The development improves the levels of confidence among employees. In addition, the concept enhances the credibility of a professional given the new information and skills they acquire.
In spite of the importance of CPD in contemporary firms, it is noted that this was not the case in the 90s. According to Purcell (2005), interest in CPD can be attributed to changes within the business environment over the years. For instance, job security is no longer a guarantee. Certain skills are becoming redundant. Reality calls for the acquisition of new skills. Consequently, HR professionals are forced to take part in CPD processes to keep up with the changing environment in the industry.
As an individual, my career strength lies in the ability to incorporate technology into my work. However, my weakness entails the inability to develop a functional employee relationship plan. Agarwala (2003) suggests that all professionals have developmental needs. In my case, I need to improve my employee relation skills. Secondly, there is a need to improve my understanding of employment laws, which are always changing. Finally, I need to enhance my emotional control to ensure that moods do not affect my performance.
Satisfying the development needs
The development needs mentioned above require professional assistance. In light of this, Way (2002) proposes that individuals should find a way to address their development needs. Consequently, I have enrolled in an online program on employee skill relations. The program outlines the best and current techniques that can be used to improve interactions (Pfeffer, 2005).
Reflecting on my performance plan
The action plan for online learning is quite efficient. Yao-Shen (2006) argues that acting on development needs impacts on an individual’s performance at work. In this regard, I intend to use the techniques learnt to come up with skills to operate within a team. Teamwork is an excellent technique through which employee relations can be enhanced.
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