The Oxford English Dictionary states the following meanings of the word ‘professional’: 1.‘a person engaged or qualified in a profession’
2.‘a person competent or skilled in a particular activity’ In other words, an HR professional needs to have the necessary ability, knowledge and skills in the field of people management. However, that is not enough. One also has to be able to apply them in a consistent manner, i.e. one has to be professional at all times, at the same, high, level. This means that it is important for a professional to continue to develop his/her competence, taking into consideration the continuously changing environment and demands.
The CIPD has developed a core set of knowledge, skills and behaviours that an HR practitioner needs to possess and develop in order to be competent. This core set is incorporated in the CIPD Professional Map and covers the following professional areas:
These areas are the key aspects where HR can contribute to the organisations’ performance and support the overall organisational strategy. Because ultimately HR is only a small, yet important, part of a much bigger body that makes up the organisation. Therefore HR needs to be aligned with the organisational goals and the HR professional needs to be fully engaged with them. This is the ‘Performance’ part of the ‘People/Performance Partnership’.
In addition, the CIPD believes that the HR professional needs to display the following behaviours:
As reflected especially in the behaviour part of the HR professional map, professionalism is about more than just performing well. It is also about the ethical dimension, in other words the ‘People’ part of the ‘People/Performance Partnership’, which focuses on compliance. The HR professional needs to continuously demonstrate the highest level of personal integrity, in the form of equity, transparency and fairness. This is represented by the third ‘atom’ (‘stewardship’) in the diagram.
The HR Professional Map also reflects a certain hierarchy of the HR profession, in the form of four bands of increasing professional competence. These bands are to a large extent derived from the three types of professional action: Administrative – support, service and information provision Advisory – provision of specialist expertise
Executive – addressing human resources challenges at organisational level If we take the professional area of ‘service delivery and information’ as an example, this means that an HR professional working in the first band will be hands-on involved in the provision of information, for example sick leave. An HR professional working in the same professional area, but in the second band may be more involved in an advisory role, i.e. the analysis of information and providing advice on how to decrease for example sick leave. In both cases the professional should show similar behaviour, such as ‘driven to deliver’ and ‘collaborative’. Another example is the professional area of ‘learning and talent development’, where a professional working the first band may be actively involved in the provision of trainings, whereas a professional in the second band may take a more advisory role towards line managers on how they can develop their staff.
The concept of the ‘Thinking Performer’ was launched by the CIPD in 2002, but has now been replaced by the HR Professional Map. It underlines their belief that every HR professional should always be on top of their game. In other words, (s)he should be both efficient (perform) and effective (think), contrary to, for example, the ‘Automated Bureaucrat’ (non-thinking performer) or the ‘Wish-List Dreamer’ (thinking non-performer).
The ‘Thinking Performer’ is always aligned with the organisational strategies, so (s)he produces the expected results and adds value to the organisation, while at...