Professional Development Plus Recerts Equals a Stronger HR Career

HR certifications are a good way to demonstrate skills to employers and can make you stand out from other HR professionals when applying for a job. These certifications must be renewed every few years to ensure that skills are up to date and that those with certifications are exposed to new skills and ideas in the field.

Recertification usually involves taking a certain number of continuing education credits over the course of the recertification period. These courses can be used to gain new skills in the HR field or for professional development to gain an advanced degree or certification.

A Changing HR Landscape

The field of human resources is constantly changing and developing. Years ago, HR was mainly involved with onboarding new employees and dealing with benefits administration, employee reviews, and record-keeping. Now, HR can involve all of that along with career pathing, database management, grant-writing for diversity funding, compliance with anti-discrimination laws, cybersecurity protections for confidential employee data, and other new priorities.

Keeping up with these rapid changes is impossible without intentional career development through continuing education courses designed to cover these new aspects of HR comprehensively enough to master them and apply them in a job. A career in HR can be advanced through professional development that builds new skills.

Professional Development Options

While some skills can be learned through self-study programs or professional readings, mastery of these skills is best accomplished by taking continuing education courses. As those who have received them know, HR certifications are challenging, and in-person instruction with supportive classmates is a superior way to learn the material required for re-certifications.

The new ideas, information and methods offered in continuing education courses combined with the process of discussing them with faculty and classmates are indispensable parts of the professional development process, and those who are able to advance in their careers through internal or external promotions or growth as the company expands need the input of continuing education courses in order to do so.

Continuing education courses can help HR pros be better strategic partners at work and better handle organizational change, even when they aren’t facing recertification. And there may even be more advanced certifications they can earn by taking courses, which will only improve their skills even more and provide more opportunities in the field.

CCSU partners with the Human Resources Association of Central Connecticut (HRACC) and offers an HR Professional Certificate.  Classes begin in the fall and in the spring.   View our open courses to see if they can benefit you as you seek further professional development and training.

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Why Continuing Education Is for Entrepreneurs Too

Being a successful entrepreneur is difficult and requires an enormous amount of work, time, and know-how. Entrepreneurs may spend months or years with their head down, working hard to make their business succeed. While they are engaged in building a business that is profitable and fills a need, the world outside continues to change.

In order to remain successful over time, entrepreneurs need to continue learning and maintain a healthy level of professional development. Continuing education is an important part of this process that many entrepreneurs may not take full advantage of.

Many entrepreneurs have mentors or belong to organizations dedicated to their fields, which are great ways to find out what is happening in the industry and form professional relationships that can help the business grow and develop. Both mentors and organizations can provide some information that will extend an entrepreneur’s knowledge and prove useful for the business, but they can’t provide the same level of skills and information that continuing education can.

Entrepreneurs Need What Continuing Education Has to Offer

Continuing education is specifically geared for updating and building on existing skills and knowledge as well as providing the latest information about a topic. Courses may be for one day or over several weeks, but give in-depth knowledge not typically available from organization meetings or mentoring sessions.

The structure of continuing education coursework is also beneficial for entrepreneurs, because it allows for discussions between students and faculty that form a valuable, collaborative environment. Where a mentor or organization mostly involves a one-on-one interaction with limited contact, continuing education courses can provide systemmatic and focused skills development over time.

Furthermore, most education courses have an objective and goals, where mentoring and organizations may be a less structured form of information gathering. Instructors are encouraged to consider what they want students to know or be able to do at the end of a course, rather than being more open-ended as other relationships, though valuable, can be.

The point isn’t to put down mentoring and organization membership–both are valuable and can sometimes provide insights and support that a continuing education course can’t. Similarly, continuing education courses can provide what these others can’t, including more comprehensive and systemmatic skills development at a greater depth.

Why take an either-or approach to professional development when a both-and approach will be the most successful and complete way of moving forward as an entrepreneur? It can be difficult to make time for continuing education when you are the CEO, marketing director, HR guru, and provide the bulk of the business’s labor as many entrepreneurs do in the early stages of many start-ups, but you may never get beyond that initial stage without learning everything you can through continuing education courses.

CCSU offers many continuing education courses entrepreneurs can use to build and grow their businesses. Contact Christa Sterling at csterling@ccsu.edu to find out about the variety of courses we offer in many different fields.

How to Be Your Own Chief Learning Officer

A Chief Learning Officer’s job is to oversee the ongoing training and continuing education of a company’s employees. The position of CLO has only existed since about 1990, when then-GE CEO Jack Welch hired Steve Kerr as the first ever CLO. Not all companies have this position as part of their C-suite, but those that do have evidenced a strong commitment to continuing education and training and realize its importance to the quality of their workforce.

CLOs may use technology to administer new forms of training like online courses, video conferencing, or software-based training. They also oversee programs like tuition reimbursement and partnerships with local colleges that could enable employees to take advantage of highly beneficial continuing education courses without paying for the courses themselves.

When Your Company Doesn’t Have a CLO

Of course, most companies don’t have a CLO, especially if they are relatively small. But even if your company doesn’t offer any kind of continuing education and only the most basic training needed to perform job duties, you can still make a plan for your own continuing education so that you get the benefits of doing so–benefits that include faster advancement, becoming qualified for jobs that pay more money, and gaining valuable soft skills that will make your work easier to navigate and more enjoyable.

The first step to becoming your own CLO is to think about what you want to accomplish with your continuing education. Goals are important in any endeavor, and continuing education is no exception. You are unlikely to accomplish what you want if you don’t think about and plan for it along the way.

Once you’ve come up with goals for what you want your continuing education to look like, you can decide on what kind of courses will meet those goals and which colleges or educational institutions offer the courses you want to take.

Is an Advanced Degree Really Necessary?

In a few cases, you will not be able to meet your career and educational goals without earning an advanced degree that will confer the expertise employers will be looking for, but in many cases, you an achieve the same end without spending tens of thousands of dollars and countless hours on a degree. The variety of continuing education courses now available has grown greatly in the past few decades, including courses that prepare students to take exams for certifications that employers look to for demonstration of skills needed for advancement.

Only you can decide whether an advanced degree would benefit your career, but continuing education can provide needed skills training and mental stimulation even if you decide a degree won’t fit your goals. As your own CLO, you can direct and oversee the training opportunities you need with or without your company’s assistance.

Central Connecticut State University’s continuing education division offers many courses to benefit those in dozens or hundreds of different careers.  View our open courses to find out whether CCSU can help you meet your continuing education goals and get the training you need to advance your career.

Understanding Today’s World Benefits Your Career and Business

You probably got hired because you had the skills to do your job. If you want to keep your job over the long term and even move up in your career, however, there may be more that you need to know.

Every business exists in a context that includes local, state, national and international environments, the impacts of which are felt on the business in various ways. It is helpful for employees, particularly management and leadership, to understand the world around them and the ways it can impact their jobs and careers.

Understanding the Culture

Culture can impact a business that chooses to represent itself in ways that may not be considered acceptable. Today’s culture is varied and diverse, and respect for all cultural perspectives is considered important and one of the few moral positions that the vast majority of citizens can agree on. If a business adopts public positions that are considered counter to the prevailing culture, it must prepare to be opposed by the majority of the culture, and many may not want to do business with them because of this.

There may also be subcultures in the area where your business is located, and many of your employees or co-workers may be part of these subcultures. Understanding them will benefit your business by learning the best ways to work with them, what motivates them and what they value.

Understanding the Political Climate

Every business is subject to a political climate, both the local climate of its location and the national political climate, as well as the international political climate if it has international clients or customers. The political climate can include aspects like political correctness, but also includes the regulatory or legal environment in which the business must function.

Learning About the World Around You

While you can learn about culture, politics, and the world around you through life experience, this typically takes a long period of time, and in the meantime, may lead to blunders that harm your business. Trial and error can be a valuable form of learning, but you may not be able to afford to learn that way when your livelihood and career depend on having that understanding.

Continuing education courses can assist in teaching employees and business leaders about the world around them so that they can confidently function within that world. It may be particularly important for HR employees and those who deal directly with the public and with personnel to understand the world in which they function, but in reality, all employees can benefit from understanding the global context in which they–and the business they work for–function.

CCSU offers many continuing education courses.   View open courses at CCSU to see all that we offer.

HR Training Valuable for Many Professional Career Tracks

HR training can be valuable for many jobs outside the human resources department, including managers, trainers, and team leaders, among others. Many management positions expect those who hold them to use HR knowledge even when they’ve never had formal training in HR principles.

Benefits of HR Training for Professionals

Managers may be expected to perform many actions that fall under the umbrella of HR skills. In smaller companies, employees often multitask and have job responsibilities that fall under a number of different job descriptions. If managers and leaders don’t have HR knowledge, they are unlikely to perform these roles effectively, and the performance of the entire business could suffer as a result.

Hiring and firing employees is one area in which HR skills could be valuable for managers. The ability to make effective hires is paramount to a business’s success, and many managers and business leaders rely on not much more than instinct when hiring employees. HR training can teach best practices for hiring that can help managers hire new employees with expertise and confidence.

When firing employees, it’s important to know about regulations and requirements in order to avoid lawsuits from disgruntled employees. In some states, it is possible to fire employees for just about any reason, but in others managers need reasons and documentation. Even in at-will states, terminated employees may still bring a lawsuit if they suspect that they were fired in a way that suggests discrimination.

Motivating team members may seem to be more of an art than a science, but HR training offers many evidence-based principles that work to motivate employees and help them to do their best for the business. And motivated employees will be more productive and positively impact the company’s culture, bottom line, and overall success.

Compliance with regulations has become an important part of a manager’s job, since non-compliance can lead to costly fines or even cause a business to be shut down. But how can a manager find out what the federal, state, and local regulations are? HR training focuses heavily on compliance with regulations and can ensure that managers don’t fail at this important part of the job.

SHRM Certification Shows HR Knowledge and Skills

The Society for Human Resource Management is an organization that provides courses and certification in HR training. Passing the certification exam is not easy to do, but shows definitively that you have attained the skills needed to function effectively in HR tasks. Courses cover topics like recruiting and staffing, benefits, training, and compensation, among others.

CCSU Continuing Education offers non-credit HR courses and the SHRM certification course.   To join the mailing list contact Christa Sterling at csterling@ccsu.edu