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Whirling Chief
Nº 40

Should HR professionals
be trained in HR?

Happy Friday Everyone! Today, we feature a debate topic that must be a million years old – you know, since Trog first applied to that sudden and unfortunate opening for a saber-tooth tiger hunter. Which is more necessary for effectiveness on the job: Education or Experience? Looking a bit closer to home, in the field of HR/OD, should we expect our professionals to be trained in their field?

Before answering that question, I think it helps to step outside of HR to gain more perspective. For example, if you are a HRBP in the manufacturing industry and your client was looking to hire a mechanical engineer, what would be your advice: Hire the most educated or hire the most experienced? Would your response be different if you were in the tech industry and your client was looking to hire software developers? Now how about if you were in the health industry? Would you consider hiring a nurse with no education? Tricky, eh?

To further complicate matters, we live in a time when a person can go to YouTube and simply watch a video to gain new skills. Guitar playing, for example, or solving math problems… Would you consider that sort of skill training a valid learning experience?

We at Whirling Chief believe specialized education is indeed necessary in many fields. Is HR one of those fields? We think it needs to be. That does not mean every HR professional has to go to a top HR school and/or graduate from a higher education curriculum. No, we expect them to be trained in the skills they’re being hired for. HR needs to be clear on what HR can offer to a client organization. So it needs to know what skills, knowledge, and experience are truly required to be effective in that role. We also believe hiring from other fields – especially for specialist roles – needs to be well thought out, and only few and far between.

But what do you think? Is this kind of thinking due for extinction?


  • 9 September 2016

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