Whether someone is just beginning a new job or they have been in the same job for an extended period of time, the person's work drive is usually the same (or at least should be): to excel in that position in order to gain positive experience for a future job or promotion. While I do not pretend to be an expert on the subject by any means, I do think that succeeding in a position can boil down to a couple different variables that an employee can control.

  1. Work Behavior (attitude)
  2. Interest in Work
  3. Knowledge on the Position


While the first two remain a bit more difficult to alter depending on the work environment as well as the person's willingness to adapt to that company culture, the bottom line is if the person is professional enough then they should be able to work in any environment. (Every company defines professionalism differently; here is a really interesting definition from TechRepublic.com) If the work environment is too negative, well there is little the employee can do to change that and should probably just consider looking for a new job. As for the second variable, the employee must also be flexible enough to learn more about their position so that they can develop an interest if one is not immediately there. If they truly cannot, then once again, they might want to speak to HR about a departmental transfer.

The third one is easy to alter and this is the one I want to focus on. Some people have photographic memories and boy, am I jealous of them. For the rest of us, being exceptionally knowledgeable on a topic requires frequent and thorough reviews of all topics related to their job. What does that mean? Well let’s take you, the HR Professional. Accessing different educational resources frequently can help develop your professional career. Register at all of the big HR websites to learn the latest HR information. Set up Google Alerts on certain topics so that you will receive information directly into your email account rather than searching for it yourself. Participate in HR Conferences, which will foster knowledge-sharing including insight into what other companies are doing. And so on. Making sure you know what all best-practices may be and implementing them into your HR function is one result of truly having knowledge on the subject. But I have touched upon this in the past already.

Today, I want to talk about an even easier activity that HR Professionals can do to increase their job expertise. Review old, and maybe even rudimentary, HR procedures. When you first started your position however many months/years ago you were challenged with learning all the ins and outs of recruiting, hiring and managing employees quickly so that you could execute your job responsibilities ASAP. So, when was the last time you re-read old training documents or documents associated with your position. Can you explain all of the details of your employee contract? Can you explicitly talk about all compliance procedures? While, some may feel having in depth knowledge on such basic aspects of the job is unnecessary because others can read the information themselves, I disagree. I think a part of what defines an expert is one who can effectively speak on a topic without aides or assistance. What about compliance procedures? When was the last time you read about the in-depth meaning of an I-9 and how it should be stored and how long it should be stored? I’m sure many of you are already experts in your position. So re-reading won’t hurt you. It will just reinforce and help you continue to excel in your position.


So to reiterate - review the basic procedures/documents you learned in your first few weeks of training and CONTINUE to frequently review them.

There are tons of white papers out there to help you remember or reinforce the information you learned so long ago. Unless you have that perfect memory, there is no shame in reviewing old topics or learning more about your job position.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, we all want to succeed, but sometimes we don’t know how. Start with the easy variable and become a knowledge center by setting some time aside for reoccurring review sessions.

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