In a perfect world everyone would be promoted objectively on merit. However, the reality is very different. There are many qualities that put people on the fast track to promotion and leave others trailing in their wake.
Perhaps the most important of these qualities are self-awareness and the ability to present yourself as the best candidate. So how do you, the HR professional, PR yourself to a promotion?
Connect and engage
Personality in the job is paramount. To establish a channel of honest communication with an employee, you have to earn their trust and confidence. And with HR often being a self-contained department, HR professionals must be proactive and sociable.
In our line of work, we’re sometimes required to be the conveyer of bad news – knowing a person well can make an uncomfortable conversation that little bit easier. Focus groups can be an incredibly effective forum for establishing a rapport with employees you might not otherwise work directly alongside, particularly for HRDs that are new to a company.
Develop a professional persona
Develop a professional persona that fits with your career ambitions. Look at the leaders of your company and take your cue from how they conduct themselves. Quiet confidence, collaboration and transparency are a powerful combination and, if you work hard enough on developing your professional persona, it will become second nature.
Manage up and down
Remember, you’re servicing the whole company so making yourself accessible to everybody is key. It’s vital to consider how you want to be perceived by your colleagues, both senior and junior, and develop the ability to manage upwards and downwards with equal success. Most employees only see their career through their own eyes and focus solely on impressing their seniors. In reality it’s what other people think that matters and that means all of the staff, not just the chief exec. Regardless of whether you’re flavour of the month with the boss, if the staff can’t stand you the office grapevine will soon let them know.
Become an intrapreneur
View your career in a large organisation as if you were running your own business. The same principles apply and the best ‘intrapreneurs’ make sure they understand what plans are in place for growth and how they can play a bigger role in a company’s success. The ability to self-motivate and push yourself as if your name was above the door will set you apart from the nine to five brigade.
Stay attuned to the newest developments in the HR world
The employment landscape is rapidly evolving. Stay on top of new technology that can optimise your organisation, productivity and delivery at work. Make it your mission to know what your company’s competitors are doing and make an active effort to bring new initiatives to the table.
Measure your results
Do this for everything that you undertake and make the results clear to all. There’s a fine line between modesty and overconfidence, but if something you have done has maximised turnover, bolstered retention rates, minimised recruitment costs or augmented attendance then make sure that people know!
Lucy Gilmore is head of human resources at PHA Media