How do I get better ?

Afternoon all,

I've been in HR for about 2 years.  I started in a Tier 1 advisory role and have recently secured a role within the same organisation as a Trainee Tier 2 Adviser - my role involves advising business leaders on implementing HR policy including Long term sickness, disciplinary, performance management/improvement etc.  I'm struggling to set myself specific objectives to make sure I'm moving forward and to ensure I can advise managers on legally sound, business savvy advice.  I've been told to listen to other advisers on the phones and read policies, documents and previous cases etc - I've been doing this for 2 months now and don't feel that I'm moving forward.  Does anyone have any advice on how I can set myself specific SMART objectives to ensure I'm moving forward.  I'm specifically finding it difficult to bring employment law 'to life' in order to ensure that the advice I'm providing is business focused whilst still being fair to employees.

  • Hi Michael.

    I'm trying to advance in my career too and one thing I find particularly useful is going to the HR forums that our solicitor or local recruitment agencies hold.

    They're almost always free to attend and they give updates on recent employment law changes/upcoming changes. The last one I went to was really good in that the solicitors gave us snippets of information about recent dismissal cases and we had to decide if each one was a fair or unfair dismissal. They drip fed us information from the cases which meant our opinions kept changing but it was a really good lesson in not taking information at face value. This kind of thing may help with the bringing employment law "to life".

    With regards to your objectves, have you considered taking a CIPD qualification if you haven't already? It can help give some focus.
  • Elizabeth

    | 2065 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    25 Nov, 2015 22:59

    In reply to Michelle Tarrant:

    Hi Michael

    It doesn't fit into a SMART objective, but I also learn a lot from the free seminars I get invited to and from the employment law update bulletins many law firms send out. You need to get yourself on a few mailing lists and I would ask your colleagues to forward you any invitations they get from local firms. Often a case will get covered by several firms and they each have their different approaches and will give a slightly different emphasis to the learning points. If a case is likely to be relevant to the kinds of issues that tend to come up in my organisation, I look up the full judgement on the BAILLI website. If it is useful, or if it is a judgement that gets quoted a lot such as Burchill, I save it to my personal library of useful cases.

    It takes a long time to build up in-depth knowledge so I wouldn't be too disappointed that at only two months in and doing this around holding down a job, you don't feel you are progressing as quickly as you had hoped.
  • Hi Michael, I've been in the same role for a year now and feel that I am learning lots in regards to day to day HR but wanted to develop further.
    It was recommended that I use the CIPD Profession map and update my CPD log. This has helped me loads and I have "hard" information that I can review with my manager and ask for support.
  • Beverley

    | 6 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    26 Nov, 2015 18:39

    Congratulations on getting promoted to a Tier 2 role you to b
    I'm wondering what you feel you need to know or be able to do that would cause you to believe you have progressed? For example, could you deal with an issue on a specific subject that previously would not have been possible?
    Another approach might be to identify someone in a similar role or at the next level up and identify what knowledge, experience or skills they have that you don't. Once you know this, you can create a plan of action to enable you to bridge the gap.
    In my experience, the best way to bring employment law to life is to apply it to real business situations. That experience will enable you to find the right balance between the word of the law and its practical application. Look for projects or problems which need help to resolve and have a go. If you're not confident, ask a colleague with more experience if you can check your thinking before you present your solution to the managers asking for advice.
  • Sam

    | 588 Posts


    14 Dec, 2015 14:24

    In reply to Beverley:

    Just jumping in here a bit late on - all good suggestions above, but I would also speak openly with your line manager about wanting to do more shadowing of others who take on higher level stuff (i.e. what you are trying to learn). When I've done this I find it usually takes a bit of persistence and (polite!) nagging before you get anything - then you need to show you can be really useful in supporting the lead advisor. So if its an ER meeting and you've offered to note take, ensure you do a really good job of that and be ready to offer some input as the person you're shadowing might ask you for an opinion at some point.

    Or if it's on policy development, again put yourself out there - make suggestions at the meeting, show initiative. Brush up on the relevant legislation in advance. Your comments or ideas might not work or be accepted but far better to show willing than sit there in silence being a non-factor. Then offer to type up the notes for a first draft so the more senior people don't have to do all the leg work and can just amend what you've started.

    Ultimately you'll know when you feel ready to take the next step because you'll find yourself needing more and more of a challenge in your existing role and feel like you could definitely handle higher level stuff others are doing. At this time you have to decide whether to move on or not, if there are no opportunities internally to progress. Attending interviews for more advanced roles will give you a great indication of whether you are indeed ready or not, and if you are - hopefully an offer won't be far away!
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