The benefits of non-linear HR careers

Reaching a leadership role isn’t always a matter of taking a direct path to the top. We find out how HR can build their experience elsewhere

In order to gain that coveted senior HR position, setting career goals is equally as important as stepping outside of your comfort zone, said Christine Wright, managing director of Hays in Asia.
“In an increasingly competitive market, it’s crucial to understand that a single decision will not define your entire career. If you apply a non-restrictive view of your role in the workplace, it can open up many exciting pathways.”
Wright recommended a more collaborative, cross-boundary approach that spanned different companies and industries.
In order to take advantage of a non-linear career path however, HR may have to move into roles or functions in which they may not have worked before. HRD asked Lynne Roeder, managing director of Hays in Singapore, for her advice on what to do to succeed.
“It is difficult for HR professionals to move into other functions without the relevant experience, and it is increasingly challenging the more senior a role is,” she said.
“For serious contenders, HR professionals should consider pursuing a professional qualification, degree or postgraduate degree that is relevant to their targeted function.”
This could include anything from a course in digital marketing to an MBA with a specialisation in finance – provided that it is relevant to the new role.
Ambitious HR leaders who are well-seated within a firm should also have established corporate networks through different functions inside and outside of the organisation, Roeder said.
“As such, these professionals could also consider an internal transfer to their desired function, where employees who have proven their value and have shown the aptitude for change could be considered for a role despite not having formal experience.”
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