From generalist to specialist

I have been with my first HR role as a generalist for over six months, but am already keen to take on a new challenge.

Dear HRM Magazine Asia,

I have been with my first HR role as a generalist for just over six months, but am already keen to take on a new challenge. In particular, I think I am most interested in specialising in employee development. How early or late should you choose the HR path that would carry forward for the majority of your career?

- Itching for a new challenge

Jane Horan: It's always best to start thinking about your next, next role in HR early. As an HR generalist, you can branch out into any area. For example, if you’re interested in employee development, start practicing this skill in your current role, as many great training programmes have come from HR generalists who saw a need and designed a solution. Perhaps you can redesign or launch an onboarding process which helps new and tenured employees transition into new roles.

There are many facets of employee development, from skill building, management and leadership development to navigating careers. Take a step back and evaluate what truly interests you within this broad sphere. Reflect on whom you want to impact: individuals, teams, or the organisation? Consider how you can best support this group: coaching, facilitation, or consulting? By addressing these questions you'll be able to refine your scope and direction.

You should also think about where you’d like to be in the next few years. What skills and experiences will you likely need to be successful in employee development? What can you do now in your current role to definitively enhance your skills and broaden your experience.

There’s no time like the present to be thinking about your next next role. Without such forward thinking, you stagnate, or remain on the treadmill of similar jobs elsewhere.

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