3CO03 Core behaviours for people professionals
You are currently a Junior Associate in People Practice and are working on your CIPD qualification. A local television production company has contacted the Head of your Study Centre to ask for some assistance. They are making a current affairs programme on business issues and ethical practice. They are particularly keen to highlight the role in a People Practice team to help support and promote ethical practice in organisations following a number of well publicised examples of unethical practices and exploitation at work. They are concerned about the link between ethical practice and the impact on the day-to-day experience of work for members of staff. You suspect that they might be biased and are looking for examples to justify their viewpoint that modern day organisations exploit workers and do not care about their wellbeing at all. The Head of your Study Centre has asked you to prepare an initial briefing paper to help shape the response to the production company.
Preparation for the Tasks:
- At the start of your assignment, you are encouraged to plan your assessment work with your Assessor and where appropriate agree milestones so that they can help you monitor your progress.
- Refer to the indicative content in the unit to guide and support your evidence.
- Pay attention to how your evidence is presented, remember you are working in the People Practice Team.
- Make sure that the evidence generated for this assessment remains your own work.
You will also benefit from:
- Completing and acting on formative feedback from your Assessor.
- Reflecting on your own experiences of learning opportunities and continuing professional development.
- Reading the CIPD Insight, Fact Sheets and related online material on these topics.
Task One – Ethical Practice Briefing Paper
The purpose of the briefing paper is to demonstrate the role of HR in practising and promoting professional values, ethics and principles within organisations. The paper should include and address the following points:
1) ethical principles and professional values , and how these might inform the way people approach their work. (1.1)
2) Identify a piece of legislation and a Code of Practice that supports ethical and professional practice, with examples of how an HR professional can conform to (1.2)
3) Explain the importance of ethical behaviour for an HR professional and the potential consequences (personal and professional) for them of unethical behaviour (2.1)
4) Describe how an HR professional would demonstrate a positive and ethical approach to each of the following: (1.3, 2)
- clarifying problems or issues
- contributing views and opinions
- working in a team
- showing sensitivity to others*
- showing respect for colleagues*
* For the two asterisked bullet points, you should include a work-based or personal example of when you have demonstrated the positive and ethical behaviour you describe.
You may use bullet points to add emphasis to your briefing paper and it is expected that you will use headings as well to help guide the reader through.
Task Two – Self-Reflective Journal
Self-reflection is a valuable means of analysing, identifying and recording how improvements can be made to your professional practice. In this task, you are required to write a reflective journal that considers how you perform at work and in your studies, and how you develop your skills and abilities.
Your task is to write a self-reflective journal, which addresses the following:
- At the beginning of your journal, summarise different ways a people practice professional can upgrade their knowledge and skills and stay up-to-date with developments in the people profession and wider world of work. This might be informal methods such as discussion and reading through to formal research and development methods. (2.4)
- Continue your journal with ongoing reflections on your performance and development. Your journal should record (2.5)
- Examples of your performance (successes or challenges) or issues you haveThese may be from current or previous work, your studies or personal examples. Give a little detail about each. (This is the WHAT of your reflection.)
- Your reflections on your performance/response. What was the impact – positive or negative on you and those around you, such as colleagues, customers, stakeholders, your organisation? (This is the SO WHAT of your reflection and can be the most difficult part as you are asked to think in ways that may be unfamiliar but it is from this reflective thinking and learning, that you are able to progress to the next step.)
- Examples of how you have recognised and accepted your own mistakes, and how you have recognised them empathy. (2.3)
- The action you will take as a result of your reflections. (This is the NOW WHAT). Based on what you know and feel about the situation, what should happen next? Do you need to learn something new? Do you want to change a process or a procedure? Do others need more training? (Note: the action you take here could form the next example for you to reflect )
- Finally, complete your journal with a short review of how effective you have found this Reflective Journal approach to your professional (2.5)
SOLUTION : TASK ONE
AC 1.1 Consider how ethical principles and professional values inform approaches to work.
According to Aradhya (2020), ethics can be defined as the study of morally appropriate decisions and behaviours. Ethics is also defined as the values that are instilled in an individual to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong. The values are drawn from various sources including legal documents, religion and organisational culture. Aradhya (2020) also cites Thomas Garret’s definition of ethics as the science of judging human ends and the relationship between those ends. Ethics is also defined as the moral compass of a community or a society. To this end, ethical principles are the standards that should be met as a professional in any field of practice. Professional values are the principles and characteristics that are adopted and demonstrated at the workplace (Indeed, 2021). Similar to ethical values, professional values prescribe obligations and virtues for individuals at the workplace.
In reference to people professionals, ethical practice is pegged on the wholesome conduct of an organisation from corporate governance to accounting practices, stakeholder relations, employment practices stakeholder relations to sales technique (Cipd, 2021). Subsequently, professional values are essential at the workplace as they affect the manner in which other people view and interact with you (Indeed,2021 ) .Positive professional values demonstrate that an individual has confidence, self-worth and desire to succeed. Professional values have the potential of demonstrating an individual’s capability to take significant and challenging assignments setting the pace for career growth. Ethical principles and professional values affect organisational reputation and hence the need to consistently inculcate a culture of ethical practice that reduces the risks legal suits and enhances the morale of employees and stakeholders (Cipd, 2021).
AC1.2Specify ways in which you conform consistently with relevant regulation and law within the context of ethics and professional practice.
Legal knowledge is significant to people professionals as one of their roles is to ensure that organisations comply with the set rules and regulations in their jurisdiction. Basumallick (2020) explained that HR departments enhance compliance by ensuring the workplace rules, treatment of employees, hiring practices and a variety of other factors adhere or align to the relevant laws.
For example, one of the ethical policies that HR to consider in today’s context of globalisation, technological developments and heightened cross-border flows of data is the General Data protection Regulation (GDPR) (Robinson, 2020). The two major objectives of GDPR is giving control of personal data back to the individuals and two, mandating companies to demonstrate accountability through evidence. To this end, GDPR has both legal and ethical perspectives as confidentiality of personal data is an ethical issue which if breached can attract legal suits (Robinson, 2020).
In order to consistently demonstrate compliance, Basumallick (2020) recommended that organisations must adopt the following five best practices
- Develop a HR data governance plan for a period of six years or more
- Establish a HR compliance function in the organisation
- Adhere to the nuanced definition of discrimination
- Update the HR compliance manual or a yearly basis
- Initiate compliant hiring for robust HR compliance
On the other hand Robinson (2020) articulated that organisations can ensure consistency in compliance by regularly communicating to all the employees on organisational policies and procedures, organising regular trainings on relevant legal provisions affecting the industry and detailing the company rules and regulations on the employee handbook.
AC 1.3 Summarise ways of demonstrating positive working relationships with colleagues with reference to ways in which you could:
Clarify problems or issues.
People professionals have a significant role of instilling a positive culture and embedding a culture of respect among the employees. Madjoski (2015) articulate that for HR professionals to effectively deliver on their function they require listening skills. Listening skills help in understanding the skills, knowledge, experience, passion and motivation of one’s colleagues. Active listening helps in building deep and human relationships. In trying to understand a problem one should pay attention to voice, volume, intonation, body language and facial expressions of the concerned parties. Consequently one should listen to understand as opposed to reply and hence adopt open and non-biased listening (Madjoski, 2015). It is also important to check the opinions of colleagues regarding an issue by engaging them in a survey as well researching the facts and details of an issue prior to communicating on the way forward to the rest of the employees.
Contribute your views and opinions clearly.
Benedet (2020) the following as essential in effectively and clearly communicating one’s views. The first step is having in mind the why which answers the objective of a conversation and this ensures that the conversation is clear and detailed. The next step is listening to understand and thus positively express one’s views. Subsequently one should communicate with empathy by being considerate of everyone’s feelings and last but not least by being assertive and confident. Lack of confidence hinders teamwork and being assertive necessitates being firm on your ideas. The ideas should be packaged in a simple and concise way to avoid overload of information and losing the meaning (Benedet, 2020).
Work effectively as part of a team
HR professionals can influence employee team work by organising for team building activities with defined team roles, encourages cooperation and collaboration among employees (BrightHR, 2010). The HR can effectively promote team work by defining a clear purpose and goals for each team, measure team performance and reward team excellence.
AC 2.1 Describe the meaning of ethics within the context of work including reference to the consequences of your actions to personal and professional integrity.
According to Mayhew (2019) ethics are significant for people professionals as they serve as the company representation and a reflection of the business practices. The HR professionals are relied on by the employees to exercise ethical behaviour such as good judgement, discretion and sound business policies in their function such as hiring and throughout the employee life cycle (Mayhew, 2019). At the bare minimum employee expect fair treatment and being accorded respect at the workplace and it is the work of the HR to guarantee that such expectations are met.
Ekuma and Akobo(2015) argue that the ethical behaviour of employees is a reflection of the ethical climate of an organisation and in turn profoundly influences the disposition of HR practices to ethical issues at the workplace. The behaviour of HR professionals and their decisions in the same length reflect their ethical values and implicit assumptions. To this end, the blame of unethical behaviours at the workplace is squarely put on the HR department. Similarly, Brown (2016) argued that HR professionals are the bastion of good behaviour ta the workplace as their department is responsible for the development and implementation of organisational codes of conduct that fight dishonesty at the workplace. The best way to demonstrate the role of ethics in business and its implications in contemporary business is assessing the context of rising significance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that is often pegged on masking publicised company scandals such as the Enron case (Ekuma & Akobo, 2015). Therefore, the behaviour and actions of a HR professional have the potential to damage company reputation and subsequently put in question their personal integrity.
AC2.2 Model ways in which you can acknowledge sensitivity and respect to others within a working context.
A healthy workplace is enabled by positive practices such as respect and appreciation of one another as well as being sensitive to the needs of consumers or fellow employees. Sensitivity can be defined as the extent an individual is caring, sympathetic, empathetic and understanding (Aon, 2017). Respect on the other hand is treating people in a manner that you would want to be treated. It is recognising that similar to you, your colleagues and superiors have opinions, rights, wishes, competence and experience (Heathfield, 2021). As such sensitivity and respect at the workplace breeds a healthy workplace.
Gately (2017) stated that the ability for an organisation to thrive is dependent on people ability and willingness to work together to achieve the overall business goals. The HR plays a significant role in creating a positive work culture that encourages employees to behave with respect and sensitivity. This can be done by
- First, being a role model as the HR and thus communicating tough decisions in a sensitive and respectful way. In this regard one should reflect on their fairness and patience when handling emotional issues.
- Secondly the HR should educate the employee on the link between respectful conduct and the ability to effectively collaborate for better business outcomes. Employees should be made to understand that their career progress may be hindered by intolerance and inability to respect the perspectives of others.
- Thirdly, the HR should also set clear expectation on what it means to behave with sensitivity and respect in an organisation.
- Fourthly, the HR should do is fairly and equitably hold every employee accountable for their actions irrespective of performance or seniority (Gately, 2017).
Aon (2019). How to Measure Sensitivity. [online] insights.humancapital.aon.com. Available at: https://insights.humancapital.aon.com/talent-assessment-blog/how-to-measure-sensitivity [Accessed 10 Feb. 2022].
Aradhya, D. (2020). Ethics: Definition, Principles, Importance, Ethical Issues, Ethical Dilemma, Code of Ethics. [online] Your Article Library. Available at: https://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/business/ethics/ethics/99812.
Basumallick, C. (2021). What Is HR Compliance? Definition, Checklist, Best Practices, and Key Issues. [online] Toolbox.com. Available at: https://www.toolbox.com/hr/hr-compliance/articles/what-is-hr-compliance/.
Benedet, C. (2020). How to Express Your Views Clearly and Positively. [online] Carrie Benedet. Available at: https://carriebenedet.com/how-to-express-your-views-clearly-and-positively/ [Accessed 9 Feb. 2022].
BrightHR. (2010). How Can HR Influence Employee Teamwork | BrightHR. [online] Available at: https://www.brighthr.com/articles/culture-and-performance/teamwork/how-hr-can-influence-employee-teamwork/.
Brown, R. (2016). Who is to blame for dishonesty in the workplace? [online] HRM online. Available at: https://www.hrmonline.com.au/section/featured/hr-blame-dishonesty-workplace/ [Accessed 10 Feb. 2022].
CIPD (2021). Ethical Practice and the Role of HR | Factsheets. [online] CIPD. Available at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/culture/ethics/role-hr-factsheet#gref.
Cipd (2021). Ethical practice | CIPD Profession Map. [online] CIPD People Profession. Available at: https://peopleprofession.cipd.org/profession-map/core-behaviours/ethical-practice#gref.
Ekuma, K. and Akobo, L. (2015). Human resource management ethics and professionals’ dilemma: A review and research agenda. Human Resource Management Research, 5(3), pp.47–57.
Gately, K. (2017). 4 ways to build sensitivity and tolerance in the workplace. [online] HRM online. Available at: https://www.hrmonline.com.au/section/strategic-hr/build-sensitivity-tolerance-workplace/.
Heathfield, S.M. (2021). How to Demonstrate Respect in the Workplace. [online] The Balance Careers. Available at: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-demonstrate-respect-in-the-workplace-1919376.
Indeed Editorial Team (2021). 15 Professional Values for a Successful Career. [online] Indeed Career Guide. Available at: https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/professional-values.
Madjoski, D. (2015). The Importance of Listening Skills for the HR Manager. [online] www.linkedin.com. Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/importance-listening-skills-hr-manager-dejan-madjoski/ [Accessed 10 Feb. 2022].
Mayhew, R. (2019). The Importance of Ethics in Human Resources. [online] Azcentral.com. Available at: https://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/importance-ethics-human-resources-1276.html.
Robinson, J. (2020). Top UK HR Compliance Laws To Keep An Eye On – Factorial. [online] Factorial Blog. Available at: https://factorialhr.co.uk/blog/hr-compliance-laws/.
SOLUTION : TASK TWO
2.4 Recommend ways in which you can show inquisitiveness about issues and developments in the people profession and the wider world of work
One of the core behaviours in the Cipd profession map is passion for learning that entails having a wide perspective for learning whilst in the profession. In this regard, people professionals can develop their knowledge and skills through formal and in formal learning. This is essential to people professionals as it enhances practice and helps in the attainment of fulfilment and purpose. Besides engaging in formal learning by undertaking courses, one can learn informally through activities such as engaging in discussion groups, reading articles in magazines as well reading through relevant empirical journals. Mcdade (2020) suggested the following methods as feasible in the quest of keeping in touch with the happenings in the world of work.
- Attending local workshops and training as they assist in expanding one’s knowledge base and also provide new ideas of
- Researching human resources trends and legal aspects on the internet is also a way of staying informed given that in today’s world the internet is a gold mine of information
- Researching people professional trends in professional magazines and journals as they contain useful analysis of aspects such as employment laws.
- Networking with local human people professionals is also another way of keeping yourself informed and sharing valuable problem solving ideas.
- The other of keeping informed is joining professional associations and organisations such as CIPD and SHRM
- Last but not least is taking classes at the college and university levels which is a formal way of attaining professional knowledge and skills
Adapted from ( Mcadade, 2020)
2.5 Reflect on proactive approaches to developing, recording and reflecting on your professional knowledge, skills and experiences.
One of the proactive approaches that I have undertaken at a personal level as a way of enhancing my professional knowledge and skills is journaling. At the end of every working day, I endeavour to journal about one of the most challenging tasks handled each working day as well as one of the significant wins of the day.
In addition, I have adopted a religious weekly behaviour of reviewing the weekly times of professional bodies such as CIPD, Personnel Today, People Management and HE director twitter timeline and recording any new developments they have updated that I am not aware up. This is further followed by further reading and research on the matter’s raised.
The aspect of journaling is very therapeutic as it calms my nerves at the end of the day. It instils a positive feeling within me even after I have had a rough day at work. Writing it down helps me to think about the situation raised in a broader way and further aids in revealing any errors that I might have committed in handling a matter. By writing any negative emotions that were aroused I am able to reflect on how to deal with such a matter more calmly and devoid of emotions should it happen again. For example, I have learnt to actively listen and withhold any rushed comment about a matter raised by an employee. In addition, when an employee criticizes the department, I note it down and assure the employee that your voice has been heard and will be responded to accordingly. This ensures that I am not defensive but rather buys time to respond to a matter factually and in consideration to office grapevine.
Indicating the wins of the day is very important for me as previously I had noted that I almost always complained in my journaling. But focusing on any win of the day helped to remain positive and even look forward to the next day of work to accomplish something new. Journaling improves my interaction with my customers internally and externally.
Following the social media timelines of professional bodies of HR have impacted on my knowledge and skills and further helps me to raise matters trending within the HR profession to the rest of the department from a point of knowledge. Meaningful discussions within the department on the matter helps in keeping the organisation compliant in reference to law and where relevant organise for trainings to upscale the knowledge and skills of the organisational staff. Going through the comments section of tweets, Linked-in, Facebook or instagram posts also helps me to understand what my peers think about the matter which I integrate or compare with my thought process.
2.3 Reflect on the ways in which you can recognise and accept your own mistakes, and those of others, whilst also showing empathy
Through Journaling, I recognised that I can be a very emotional person and as such vulnerable to making rushed decisions that might not be comprehensive. As such, when approached by an employee on a matter I actively listen to their view points and seek clarification on any grey area devoid of judgement. While doing this, I assure the employee of confidentiality and thus create an environment that allows trust and openness. Depending on the severity of the matter and my experience of handling the situation I convey my thought process in a candid manner while demonstrating that I understand the feelings of the employee in question. Usually, I highlight company policy on matter raised and also give reference to previous lessons learnt. When I feel that the matter is too weighty I request for time which allows me to reflect on it and subsequently have time to evaluate all the possible outcomes of a decision. In order to maintain, my professional integrity I avoid talking about the matter with the rest of the staff but I occasionally hypothetically indulge about a matter with colleagues working in other companies and their experience on a similar matter. I also listen to communication podcasts which have helped me to improve on my listening skills as well as be effective on my verbal and body communication. Beside the podcasts, I plan to attend a seminar on effective communication for HR professionals and later replicate what I will gain by organising an internal training on the same facilitated by me.
In conclusion, self-reflective journaling is essential to professional development as it helps one to evaluate self and determine how their actions impact on others. Self-reflection also helps one to recognise one’s mistake and thus improve their decision making and their relationships with colleagues. It also helps one to have a reference for your thought process which can help one in recognising instances when a mistake was done or an issue could have been better handled.
McDade, C. (2020). How to Stay Current on Changes in Human Resources. [online] ToughNickel. Available at: https://toughnickel.com/business/How-to-Stay-Current-with-Changes-in-Human-Resources-When-Funding-for-Training-is-Limited.