5 Key Lessons to Teach Your HR Apprentice
HR apprentices have a lot to learn throughout their training, both on the job and through their studies.
As you develop their HR skills in the workplace, they’ll be busy learning the theory that underpins their responsibilities. With so many competencies and lessons to be learned, it’s hard to decide which are most important to instil in your apprentice.
Here, we’re sharing key lessons that will greatly benefit your HR apprentice and organisation.
Inspire a Passion for Personal Development
HR practitioners must have a passion for personal development and proactively seek out opportunities to grow. They should also be involved in the personal development of their colleagues and be able to champion this through their work in the profession.
This isn’t something that you can teach in a single day; it’s a lifelong process. Starting their professional practice on the right foot will instil a desire to learn throughout their career.
Working on a personal development plan is the first step to inspire a passion for personal development in your apprentice, as they set their own goals and timelines. Coaching your apprentice to set goals that are realistic and achievable will keep them motivated through the course of their development.
Through the course of their apprenticeship, they should also work with their colleagues to set their own goals and plans.
Professional development at work is hugely important to employees, and your HR apprentice can begin this fact finding into what their colleagues need from the workplace. With the help of their mentor, they can set in place the relevant training and new experience required to help their colleague to progress.
The Importance of Documentation
One of the core tenants of the HR profession is the ability to defend the organisation. It’s a weighty responsibility and something that should always be in any HR practitioner’s mind.
Creating and maintaining accurate records are duties that your apprentice should become very familiar with. They should also understand the importance of records, so they’re aware of the implications of poor documentation on your organisation.
Whether your apprentice is an entry-level practitioner or more senior, an understanding of the need for documentation is key. They should also gain experience in sorting and protecting information as they handle sensitive employee data.
With the right understanding and practical tools, your apprentice can be empowered to strive for this key cornerstone of the profession. Through their studies, they’ll come to understand the importance of policy and supporting evidence.
Allow them to put this into practice and they will experience the practical implications of data storage, with their own ideas around overcoming issues. They can also highlight issues within the current system that even more senior colleagues have not noticed.
Carefully building policies and supporting documents can give your apprentice a full view of the process. They can get involved in every part of the employee journey, from initial contract through to severance documentation. You can even create hypothetical scenarios and have your apprentice use documentation as a defence.
Understanding HR and Professionalism
If your apprentice is new to the workplace and also to working in HR, then the importance of professionalism should be emphasised. More so in HR than almost any other part of the workforce, professionalism plays a major role in how the practitioner is perceived.
It’s essential for apprentices working in HR to hold themselves to a high standard of professionalism, otherwise their actions can be viewed in a different light by their colleagues. They’ll learn this from observing others in HR, so ensure that the whole department shows a great example to the apprentice.
Seeing other practitioners gossiping about confidential issues or giving some employees preferential treatment will give the wrong impression to your apprentice. They should come to understand the way in which an HR practitioner should conduct themselves for good employee relations.
This is one of the more nuanced parts of their development, which will be taught more indirectly than directly. This is an essential competency for your apprentice to understand for their growth in the profession.
This isn’t to say that HR apprentices can’t be friends with their colleagues, but they should hold themselves to a high standard when it comes to being impartial. Even seasoned HR professionals can struggle with this, but with the right support your apprentice can strike the right balance.
The Impact of Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is an influential concept that can have a concrete impact on the bottom line of the business. With gains in productivity, reduction in sick days and decreased staff turnover – it’s a statistic that can make or break a business.
Your HR apprentice has a lot to learn during their journey, not least of which is the need to put the employee at the heart of your organisation. With the right employee engagement policies, your organisation can reap the rewards of staff with a real passion for their job.
Training your apprentice to measure and improve employee engagement will give them a real head start in their career. This is a concept that even senior professionals are still getting to grips with, so your apprentice can gain the edge by understanding this from the very start of their career.
Organisations that follow this ideal set out fantastic examples for others that wish to do the same. Enhancing leave, offering perks and trialling flexible working could be initiatives that your apprentice researches and implements.
Working to show your apprentice the concrete outcomes of practical changes will ensure they understand the real benefits of high employee engagement.
Prioritising Data-Driven Practices
Now more than ever, HR must be ready to back up their strategies and proposals with real data. Naturally, decision makers are reticent to spend money where they can’t anticipate a return on investment.
Developing your apprentice’s awareness of how to collect and use data will show them the importance of factoring hard facts into their strategies. Gauging the current state of affairs and how a new policy would improve the workplace are key steps to gaining approval for new policies.
With the right data, it’s much more likely that an HR initiative will go from mere idea to reality. Gaining buy in from the C-suite and management will also increase the likelihood that new policies will be taken up fully all the way through your organisation.
Measuring and forecasting the impact of policy can be difficult, but it’s an essential string for your apprentice to add to their bow. They’ll be able to act as a strategic partner to the business, using data-driven practices in all that they do.
Outside of the lessons above, there’s much, much more for your HR apprentice to learn through their development.
These building blocks will educate and inform their HR practice as they become more experienced. Leading your apprentice to become an effective HR practitioner will create a huge asset for your organisation in the long run.