Training of HR Professionals

The role of HR has evolved over the years and so have the competencies and skills required of those in the HR profession today. They are responsible for their functions like, from staffing duties to executing succession-planning strategies; from filling in vacancies to mapping performances; from monitoring attendance records to change management and being a back-end function to acquiring a place in the boardroom. HR executives can choose to ignore these changes at their own risk because these changes, in the true business sense, have their own implications on HR and the bottom line of the company at large. A well-trained HR team makes the whole company a force to reckon with.

The evolving nature of business coupled with the unparalleled need for quality talent has resulted in the need for HR professionals to stay abreast with not only their area of expertise, but also relevant domain skills. One can see an increasing number of HR practitioners becoming functional specialists. The demand-supply ratio in the field of HR is getting worse every year. Traditional sources of seeking quality HR professionals are inadequate and do not meet industry demands. An ideal HR set-up should be aligned to the conflicting demands of the stakeholders ranging from a company’s internal clients’ such as managers and employees to external stakeholders such as customers and investors. Therefore companies are taking extra efforts to create quality HR professionals through proper training and education.

The HR team at Tesco Hindustan Service Center (TSC), for example, upgrades itself by attending several externally-facilitated sessions on various subjects of HR concern. They also have specific training programs designed internally by the Tesco Academy and HR mangers receive specific training to improve their interviewing techniques. HR professionals are also sent abroad for workshops which provide exhaustive training programs in HR competency areas like business acumen, change management etc. Senior HR executives are also sent on various executive education programs including the ones offered by Harvard and Stanford. Some at a very senior level of HR of an organization are even nominated to attend an executive program at Stanford on Human Resources for Strategic Advantage.

With the acquisition of deeper functional expertise and strong business acumen, HR shoulders several responsibilities which even include drafting organizational blueprints.

Accenture-XLRI HR Academy, a training academy dedicated to the human capital management needs of the growing information technology and business process outsourcing industries. The Accenture-XLRI HR Academy is dedicated to providing recent university graduates seeking careers in HR with specialized skills geared to these industries. Traditionally, companies have hired post graduates and trained them on HR skills. It is given to understand that the Academy which is focused on Post Graduate students will produce the next generation of HR professionals who will be able to learn and address the emerging challenges of these industries.

With cross-border through mergers, acquisitions or simply expansion there are challenges of managing virtual teams, various languages, diverse social cultures and work ethics, Integrating different laws and regulations. All this means that the role of HR expanded beyond the traditional and it is expected to be more strategic and business inclined. Carnegie Training India an organization has partnered with SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) to provide various HR certification courses in India to organizations and individuals. A number of studies like the Harvard report – How to attract, motivate, manage and retain different generations at work as a base to train their HR personnel. The concept of HR being business partners is now widely accepted. However, this can be achieved only if HR undergoes training in areas like financing elements of the software development life cycle and different pricing and business models.

An illustration is of IBM which undertakes some specialized training programs for HR professionals like the ones outlined below:

* HR induction Program: Every new HR recruit undergoes a specialized HR induction programs that gives them an insight into the business as well as the function.
* HR Leadership Development Program: IBM has special job rotation programs designed for HR professional that enable them to get a deeper insight into various HR functions across different regions. Under this program, HR professionals are put on short term assignment (about 6-8 months) to other IBM locations overseas or given exposure to other functional areas of HR.
* Special Projects: HR professionals are assigned short term special projects in international locations to help them get an insight into the prevailing best practices of that region.

In the career of every experienced HR professional there comes a changing point. The professional would have to choose between a strategic route that would involve constant learning and unlearning and skill building and an operational role. Great organizations of the future would be differentiated from the others by HR professionals who play a strategic role. The Hewitt Academy for strategic HR is a new initiative that has been launched in the Asia Pacific region seeking to build capabilities of practicing HR professionals and consultants. They use the academy as a vehicle to train their own consultants and other HR professionals. Most of the HR functions today are compartmentalized around core activities like recruitment, training and compensation etc. This is not conducive for creating business outcome driven process flows, which need to cut across the traditional silos. Hence, the courses should be structured to deliver business results that cut across the functional silos.

Experts confirm that the role of HR in organizations in the near future will only gain a lot of significance and the responsibilities too will cater to the business needs of the company. Hence, HR training is a trend that is catching up so rapidly among corporate companies.

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