(Editor’s Note: This series is brought to you by our friends at Capella University. Capella is an accredited online university dedicated to providing an exceptional, professionally-aligned education that puts you in the best position to succeed in your field. They offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees as well as certificate programs for human resources and business professionals. Enjoy the post!)
What does it take to be a successful human resources professional? I get asked this question a lot. And, more importantly, I continue to ask myself the question. Not only should we focus on the knowledge, skills, and abilities regularly mentioned but we need to look for new attributes that are emerging. For example, if a decade ago someone would have told me social media would be a necessary part of HR, I’m not sure if I would have believed them. But today, having social media skills is essential for HR.
So in this series, Capella University and I want to share with you the “ingredients” for HR success. It all starts with ethics. If you’re not aware, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM,) has a defined ethical standard for the profession.
Whether you’re an external consultant or an internal practitioner, the organizations we work with expect us to be ethical. In fact, I’d wager to say that some employees and senior managers make assumptions about our credibility based upon our ethics. That’s why it’s incredibly important to establish our own standard of ethics.
Being an ethical human resources professional means having a clear standard to work from. Not simply the organization’s ethical policy. It’s about holding ourselves personally accountable. And, while credibility and ethics aren’t exactly the same thing, they’re very intertwined. Stakeholders at every level of the organization want to know they’re working with an HR pro that does what they say and, when they can’t, they renegotiate the commitment.
I know it’s very easy to say that ethics is important. Ethics is hard. We have to be willing to walk away from things we enjoy (like a volunteer role) or things we need (like a job) when it just isn’t right ethically. Each of us has to answer the question: if we don’t have ethics, what do we have?0