A VIEW FROM THE TOP | Sarah Miles, Managing Director, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Asia
By Lisa Cheong
What sort of training or qualifications does one need to
be an HR practitioner here?
HR is a profession people can enter at different stages
of their career. But in a manager job, growing in stature and influence,
the ability to demonstrate professional standards is increasingly important. At
least degree level qualifications are desirable, but just as important is the
ability to demonstrate continuously updated knowledge and experience. The CIPD
has set global standards for HR professionals, constantly updated to reflect
the profession as it is today. Accreditation against our standards to Chartered
level represents an internationally recognised gold standard.
What is one highlight of being an HR practitioner?
The ability to align the purpose and needs of the business
with the desires and capabilities of its people – creating real benefit and
value for the business and its people.
What is one downside to being an HR practitioner?
Outdated perceptions of the profession that pigeon-hole
us as a purely transactional function, interested only in hiring, firing and
driving down costs.
What are some personal traits needed to be a good HR
The CIPD, amongst many others, offers a wide range of HR
training courses. But courses aren’t everything. Exposing yourself to new challenges, seeking
out new experiences, and taking on newresponsibilities is training in itself. CIPD members can
use the My HR Profession Map tool to assess where they are in their careers, against where they want
to be. The tool gives advice on steps to take to fill gaps in knowledge or experience in order
to progress – many of which are low or no cost steps.
What are some of the wrong perceptions that job
candidates have about the HR industry?
HR does attract some very unfair misconceptions. It can
be seen as dull and bureaucratic. But from my own 20-year career in HR, I know
it is a profession that can be dynamic and cutting edge. There is still much of
HR that operates at a “transactional” level – and while that is valuable in its
own right, it isn’t where we can add the greatest value as a profession. HR is
an applied business discipline and when practised at its best, it demonstrates
that capacity to shape and drive business strategy, rather than simply responding
to and supporting it. There’s no use in us, as a profession, sitting on the
sidelines and worrying about how valued we are. We have all the tools at our
disposal to drive real business value – and that’s the bottom line. If we’re
driving business value, we won’t be undervalued.
What transferrable skills do HR practitioners have?
The first skill is in diagnostics and consulting. HR
practitioners have the ability to
step into a team or organisation, spend
time and figure out what is going on based on a process-oriented or relationship-oriented
point of view. They can step into a situation and understand what is going on, and
figure out what is important to the team or organisation.
Secondly, HR practitioners have the ability to build powerful
relationships. They can get alongside
individuals quickly to figure out what is important to
them as well and what is needed to support
them to become bigger and better.
The third skill is their ability to influence people around
them. HR practitioners know how to build constructive relationships with people
in the organisation, and influence them on what they need to do and what needs
to be done.
Lastly, HR practitioners have a deep understanding of
commercial and director jobs. For HR practitioners to be good, they need
to know what is going on in their business from a commercial perspective. They
need to understand business dynamics, such as who their stakeholders are, how
they make their products and who their customers are.