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09 Apr

Crafting Your HR Professional Development Plan

Developing a Plan to Keep your Career Moving Forward

Having a focused, attainable HR professional development plan that is tuned in to your industry and personal goals is essential to keeping up in this fast-paced and dynamic field. Though you can’t be an expert in everything, HR professionals are expected to continue to expand and enhance their knowledge and skill base throughout their career.

Where Are You Going?

The first step in developing your HR professional development plan is to establish objectives and priorities. For example, do you want to increase the scope of your duties? Is it time to step up and take on some strategic planning roles? Whether you’re the sole HR employee for a small office or a member of a large corporate team, take the time to assess your present status and to develop long- and short-term future career goals. As you develop your plan, tailor your decisions toward both your immediate and long-term goals. Keep in mind that no matter what your career objectives may be, you are more likely to achieve them if you constantly strive to learn and develop new skills and knowledge.

Mind the Gap

Whether you’re early career, mid-career or a seasoned veteran, there is always more to learn. In order to guide your learning, it’s important to assess the gap between what you know now and what you’ll need to know in the future to keep operating at peak performance. Staying on top of trends and minding the gap between the knowledge and skills you have now versus what you’ll need to know or be able to do in a year, five or 10 years is the first step in creating your professional development plan.1

Top of Mind Trends

The effects of globalization, big data and demographic changes are three key drivers for the future of HR.2 Globalization means tighter labor markets and stiffer competition for top performers, while technological advances, big data and demographic changes are fundamentally altering the way employees relate to their employers, leading to rising insecurity. As you create your professional development plan, keep these trends in mind. Are you prepared to navigate the ethical and legal issues surrounding a globalized, digitized and diverse workforce? Read on for specific, attainable steps you can take to increase your skills and enhance your professional development.

Take on Projects that Stretch You

It is often said that 70 percent of job skills are learned on the job.3 Test yourself by taking on projects that encompass some of your developmental blind spots, and then work to expand your knowledge base by studying and experimenting with various ways to complete that undertaking. Experiential learning of this type tends to stick, and the project you choose could bring added value to your role at your organization. As a bonus, consider forming or joining a cross-functional team for your project, exposing yourself to new colleagues and their unique challenges.4

Grow Your Network

No matter your career stage, you could probably benefit from some mentoring or coaching from a peer or someone at a more advanced stage in their career than you. Join a professional organization and attend a conference. Doing so will provide you with the opportunity to make connections and build relationships with other HR professionals who may have something they can teach you. You might also consider shadowing a colleague to learn about job functions you don’t use frequently in your day-to-day life.

Take Classes

Benefit from the experiences and insights of others by enrolling in an in-person or online course. Studying alongside other HR professionals is another great way to grow your network, while you work together to implement new training in your respective workplaces. Increase the value of your contributions at work by selecting a rigorous program like the Online Master of Jurisprudence in Labor and Employment Law (MJ-LEL) at Tulane University, which offers the flexibility you need to learn and grow while you work full time. Check out the curriculum to learn if Tulane’s Online MJ-LEL is right for you.


1. Retrieved on March 14, 2019, from hrmonline.com.au/section/hr-capability/career-development-5-ways-speed/
2. Retrieved on March 14, 2019, from shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/0316/pages/the-big-issues-facing-hr.aspx
3. Retrieved on March 14, 2019, from shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/organizational-and-employee-development/pages/individualdevelopmentplans.aspx
4. Retrieved on March 14, 2019, from shrm.org/learningandcareer/competency-model/pages/roadtohrcareersuccess.aspx