Your HR Professional Development Guide

Professional development should be an important part of any HR professional’s short- and long-term goals. And if you hold a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), HR Certification Institute, or International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA) credential, professional development will be absolute requirement for maintaining your designation.

But your professional development efforts should by no means begin and end with maintaining your HR credential. This is because the role of the HR manager is a constantly changing one, thanks to a workforce that is by no means static.

The 6 Biggest Issues HR Managers Face in the Coming Years

For example, a SHRM article entitled “The Big Issues Facing HR” reported that the HR profession is being influenced by issues like economic uncertainty, globalization, and a tighter labor market:

  1. A grab for the best talent: Advancing technology and improved labor market conditions mean that attracting the most qualified workers is a huge priority for companies. One of the biggest issues reported among many of the nation’s companies is difficulty hiring and retaining top talent. Today’s HR professionals must highlight their company’s workplace culture, worker safety and security measures, and social responsibility initiatives, among others, if they expect to attract the best and brightest workers.
  2. The global workforce: Supporting a virtual workforce remains a challenge for HR professionals. A variety of tools and technologies are being developed to facilitate a global workforce, but HR professionals need to understand their value and purpose.
  3. Data threats and breaches: While technology continues to support a global marketplace, HR teams must consider the data security concerns that can affect both the employer and employee.
  4. Economic constraints: While the economy is improving, HR departments may still need to deal with budgetary constraints that affect hiring choices.
  5. A changing workforce: The retirement of aging Baby Boomers, increased cultural diversity, and changing family dynamics all have an impact on many areas of employment and HR practices.
  6. The use of big data: HR professionals must be able to use big data to analyze recruitment and retention efforts, company expenditures, and investments.

While as an HR professional you can’t be an expert in all these issues, it’s up to you to understand trends and changes and stay up to date on the most pressing HR issues affecting your company. Exploring issues and trends in HR through professional development activities is the best way to ensure that you are able to develop strategic decisions in HR that benefit your company’s bottom line.

SHRM Resources for HR Professional Development

One of the best places to identify which areas of HR you’d like to build your proficiency in is SHRM’s Competency Self-Assessment. (You’ll need to a member to gain access to SHRM tools.)

Once you’ve completed the self-assessment, you can use SHRM’s Development Activity Wizard that’ll give you suggestions for professional development based on your goals. We like that this tool provides a host of professional development options, from seminars to webcasts to articles.

Or, you can also scan SHRM’s full Development Activity Database if you want to peruse all the current offerings in professional development.

You can also develop a Competency Development Plan (CDP) through SHRM using the results from your Competency Self-Assessment. The CDP will allow you to organize, manage, and prioritize your professional development goals.

Learn more about SHRM’s Professional Development tools here.

Check out SHRM’s library of professional development:

Additional Professional Development Resources

National Human Resources Association

Become a member of the National Human Resources Association and you’ll have access to a wide range of training and development activities, including seminars, conferences, in-house training, audio casts, and webcasts. Some of the topics covered include personal development, general management, and leadership. We love their great selection of in-person events throughout the country.

Center for Creative Leadership

The Center for Creative Leadership offers an onsite Leadership Development for HR Professionals multi-day course for mid- to senior-level HR professionals who want to improve their leadership performance. This course also fulfills continuing education requirements for a variety of HR certifications. While this is the most expensive option for professional development, the intensive design of this multi-day course provides plenty of opportunities for experiential activities and hands-on learning.

Duke University

Duke offers a self-paced, online program that allows HR professional to sharpen their HR skills and/or satisfy continuing education hours toward SHRM certification. We like that this program provides the option of purchasing individuals HR courses or complete course packages. Courses include topics in HR management, employment selection, talent management, and performance management, among others.


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