Home' HR Monthly : December 2015 Contents December/January 2016 HRMonthly 33
Lyn Roberts, an HR professional with the Department of
Immigration and Border Protection, talks about joining AHRI’s
professional certification program.
Why did you decide to get involved in the AHRI
I have been manager, People Services for the Victorian region with
the Department of Immigration and Border Protection for about
nine years, but have been working in the HR field for 25 years.
I don’t have a specific HR qualification. Although I have a lot of
experience, I felt there was a missing piece in the puzzle for me.
I raised this as part of my career discussion with my supervisor,
so when the opportunity came through work to apply for a spot
on the AHRI certification program, it was just what I was looking
for. The practising certification qualification is a rubber stamp
that complements my HR experience and will reinforce employers’
confidence in my capability as an H R professional.
What were your initial impressions of the course?
I travel to the workshops in Canberra and there’s a group of us
who have come from all different departments – all in the public
sector – but with varying experiences and backgrounds. There are
four workshops each semester and between them we have a lot of
independent study to complete.
Did you have any anxieties prior to starting the program?
I was a little bit concerned about how I was going to manage
the time – particularly not having had the tertiary education
experience. A few of us felt the same way. Although I am confident
in my practical ability and understanding of HR, connecting
the theory and practice was daunting. You doubt whether it is
something that you can do. However, the tutor has been very
encou raging and said the uncertainty was quite normal. I’ve just
completed the first assessment and getting that first assignment
under my belt made me feel more confident.
What has been the biggest challenge?
Balancing time between my job and my studies. You want to
do well at both and I don’t want either one to suffer. A pass is
adequate, but we are all professionals and a pass isn’t quite what
we are looking for; we are all aiming for a fairly high standard.
Everything I’m reading about now in the HR field is so interesting
and I didn’t want to take any short cuts, so work has supported me
in taking a couple of study days each semester. I’ve also moved to a
nine-day fortnight so that I can bring my best to the program.
Why do you think certification is important for HR?
It centres around feeling confident about the value that the HR
profession can bring to the table. We are really important – but
now we have to get the business to recognise that and show what
value we can add. The environment we are in at the moment is
one where everything needs to be done today. But the day-to-day
operational stuff is getting in the way of taking on the more
strategic roles. It’s very comfortable doing the operational stuff, but
we have to separate ourselves out and stay focused to concentrate
on the strategy and the bigger picture.
Why hasn’t HR been taken seriously in the past?
I’ve gone through the personnel approach to HR. It was a very
practical, transactional environment. I think it’s just been this
gradual realisation that HR has a wealth of insight about people
and the role of people in organisations has become more and
more important. Generally speaking, HR people are very good
at understanding why things happen and what is likely to happen
from a people perspective if a business chooses a particular course.
What’s your view on the role of analytics in HR practice?
Personally, I like analytics; I like to present what I’m proposing
backed up with facts. Although, it has been interesting to see
the resistance to HR getting involved in this kind of detail. For
example, I had to ask permission from the finance people to get
the budget information to support the workforce planning data in
order to put together a workforce strategy. Finance was suspicious
about why I needed that information. It showed me that it is key to
develop relationships and trust and to work out how we can help
each other achieve our common goals.
For more information, please visit AHRI’s certification page:
18/11/2015 11:06 am
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