HRs fulfilled by careers but fear skills mismatch

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​Many HR practitioners feel their current skillset doesn’t match the demands of their role, according to research by the CIPD

Its survey of almost 1,000 HR, L&D and OD professionals across the UK and Ireland found that only 38% feel they have the skills to cope with more challenging duties, and 16% said they lack the skills required for their current role. This rose to 22% among practitioners with less than six years of experience.

The report highlights that more needs to be done to raise the profile of the profession, the CIPD stated. Only just over half of respondents (57%) agreed the people team in their organisation is taken seriously, respected (54%) and given the opportunity to add value (58%).

Nearly three in 10 respondents (28%) cited a conflict between their professional judgement and what their organisation expects of them, and the same proportion said they felt it’s often necessary to compromise ethical values to succeed in their organisation. A third of respondents (31%) said that managers often engage in behaviours they consider to be unethical.

More positively, however, the research found appetite among some HR professionals to challenge current ways of working in their organisation, with 44% saying they had regularly challenged the purpose of tasks they were asked to carry out in the past year and proposed alternatives.

Also encouragingly, six in 10 respondents (64%) agreed that their job gives them the opportunity to fully express themselves as a professional, with around two-thirds saying their work makes them happy (70%) and energised (67%).

Additionally, 78% said the profession offers them a meaningful career, while 64% said the work they do is connected to what they think is important in life. A further 60% said they see a connection between their work and the larger social good of their community.

“The future of the profession is exciting and will require capabilities in managing new organisational models, the supply of skills, the shaping of jobs, and improving people management and organisational cultures,” commented Louisa Baczor, a research adviser at the CIPD. “But the skills mismatches and ethical conflicts highlighted by the survey show that there’s no room for complacency.

“Continuing professional development is key to keeping our own skills current; so we can innovate and adapt as professionals and champion better work and working lives in all that we do.”

“The role of HR is becoming increasingly vital as the world of work evolves and organisations and people need to adapt,” commented Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD. He added though that: “Having confidence in our own professional judgment is crucial to making better decisions in the workplace.

“Even though it might challenge some of the norms or expectations, having the self-assurance with knowledge, insights and evidence to make good and fair judgments is key to helping our profession build trust and credibility, and help us stay at the fore of business development and change.”

The CIPD’s survey to assess the current state of the profession coincides with the launch of its new Profession Map this month.

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