ADRIAN BURRUS CIPD HR Management Certificate Level 5 5DVP – Developing Professional Practice CIPD Membership Number

CIPD HR Management Certificate Level 5
5DVP – Developing Professional Practice
CIPD Membership Number: 53339076
Darlington College Number: 21808851
Word Count: 2501

Aim. The aim of this assessment is to demonstrate a knowledge of the competencies required to be an effective and efficient HR professional. The assessment will use the CIPD Website (2015) as a base source of information. I will also describe the elements of group dynamics and how conflict resolution Thomas-Kilmann (1974) can be used for positive affect. An analysis of a project using Maylor (2010) will then enable me to provide evidence of decision making skills, problem solving methodologies Thomas-Kilmann (1974) and the leadership theory of Blanchard and Hersey (1977). Which, when combined, provide the ability to influence, persuade and negotiate during a project. I will conclude with a self-assessment exercise through My CDP Map CIPD Website (2015) to gain a better understanding of my professional development needs and produce a professional development plan (PDP).

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Activity 1 – What does it mean to be an HR Professional? In order to define what we mean by HR Professional, we need to look at what HR Professionals are expected to do. Ulrich, Brockbank, Johnson and Younger (2007) identified eight primary functions for HR participants and the percentage of time spent on each function, as follows:
a. Benefits, medical and safety – 3%
b. Compensation – 6%
c. HR planning, strategy and affirmative action – 14%
d. Labour relations – 5%
e. Organisational development, research and effectiveness – 7%
f. Recruiting – 6%
g. Training and communication – 9%
h. Generalist – 49%
This is a very broad range of skills and (Ulrich 1997) identified that HR professionals engage in a set of proactive roles defined along two distinct axes:
Strategy versus Operations
Process versus People.
From these axes emerged four key roles: as a strategic partner, administrative expert, employee champion and change agent. These emergent roles are developed further by Francis and Keegan (2006, p.232), where the term ‘thinking performer’ developed the need for a balanced HR agenda which addressed both the HR and business growth i.e. profit, in any future models of human resources management.

The CIPD Profession Map, designed with continuous input from HR professionals, details the ten professional areas which are intrinsic to the profession. Each of these areas are further divided using the Band scale which equates to the level of competence required within the role of the organisation in that area. The eight behaviours are embodied within you as a HR professional, to some degree. The Map defines the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed by a HR professional, whether they work in a small organisation (100-500 staff) or a large multi-national of >100K staff. The CIPD Profession Map extracted is taken from the CIPD Profession Map CIPD Website (2015).

Using the Profession Map we can apply the knowledge, skills and behaviours to the fundamental requirements of an HR professional which could include, but are not limited to:
Credible Activist (Relationships). As HR professional you need to be both credible and active, a decisive thinker and a skilled influencer who can offer a specific point of view. Challenge pre-conceived assumptions and adopt a position and approach which will be listened to Ulrich, Brockbank, Johnson and Younger (2007, pp. 8-9). Any HR professional without these skills will lose the confidence of other professionals in the business and as a result any important input to a key decision could be ignored.

Culture and Change Steward (Organisation Capabilities). As a culture and change steward you have to have personal credibility and be able to work in a collaborative manner in order to deliver new ways of working Ulrich, Brockbank, Johnson and Younger (2007, p. 9). The ability to influence change is key, a failure on their part to make the cultural change acceptable may lead to the staff rejecting the change and thereby impacting either performance or lead to a loss of staff as they consider employment elsewhere. As a steward of the companies’ culture you shape any new culture throughout the organisation. The HR professional helps facilitate change in two ways. Firstly, they help make culture happen. Secondly, they develop disciplines in order to make change happen within the organisation which could include implementing strategies, projects or initiatives. They help turn what is known into what is done, through coaching managers and enabling their actions to reflect and drive the cultural change, making it real for employees.

Talent Manager and Organizational Design (Organisation Capabilities). Talent management and organisational design is a key HR trait which shows the professional HR has mastered the theory, research and ability to talent manage across the establishment Ulrich, Brockbank, Johnson and Younger (2007, p. 9). Focusing on competency requirements and how staff are managed as they enter, move within, around, or out of the organisation. It is key to having the right structure, with the right people with the correct competences in the proper positions at the right time.
Strategy Architect (Organisation Capabilities). Is about looking ahead and scanning the horizon to ensure the current workforce are able to meet the future requirements of the company. If they are not, then they either require upskilling or new team members to be brought in. This approach ensures the organisational design changes along with the concurrent culture shift Ulrich, Brockbank, Johnson and Younger (2007, p. 10). The HR professional is working to ensure the internal business model remains in line with emerging business trends, whilst looking to redefine strategy and remain in harmony with external customer expectations. Without these considerations the business could stagnate, leading to a lack of performance and a reduction in business. Resulting in a detrimental effect on the workforce, possibly leading to a reduction in morale and at worst a downsizing of the company.

An example of the complete HR Competency model Ulrich, Brockbank, Johnson and Younger (2007, Exhibit 3, p. 8) can be viewed below.

Activity 2. Group Dynamics.  Bruce Tuckman (1965) defined the four stages of group dynamics as Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing, with a fifth stage, Adjourning, included in 1997 Tuckman and Jensen (1997). Tuckman states that ‘these are the stages that every team experiences’ Bruce Tuckman (1965), suggesting that all teams go through these stages before becoming a self-reliant unit. The ‘team growth model’ also suggests that, unless the issues of processes and feelings have been satisfactorily addressed it will be unlikely that the team will reach the most productive final stage.
Any team that stays together over a period of time will change and develop. Tuckman noted three issues which he determined how well teams perform:
Content – Relates to what the team does.

Process – Relates to how the team works towards its objectives.

Feelings – How team members relate to one another.

Tuckman’s research suggests that most teams concentrate almost exclusively on content, to the detriment of process and feelings, which explains why teams which that are strong on paper can under-perform.

Forming.  The group initially meet and begin to assess their project.  At this early stage there will be a high degree of guidance required from the HR professional, the individuals will be coming to terms with their roles and the roles of the other team members. Some members of the team may not have that clarity. During this phase there will be a great deal of collaboration Thomas-Killmann (1974) and discussion between team members and the HR professional. The HR professional will be collaborating with and accommodating the views and opinions of the group members in order to understand their various skill sets. This would be achieved through face-to-face meetings, both individually and as a collective. This process would identify if there was a skill shortfall and ant duplication of skills.

Storming. The group understand how team decisions are made, the purpose becomes clear, although relationships can seem to be blurred. During this phase the HR professional will need to impose their leadership on the group, giving direction with which the group will develop. They are mostly like to resort to a competing style of conflict resolution, though they may also be able to compromise Thomas-Kilmann (1974). At no point should they avoid a conflict, any conflict should be ‘nipped in the bud’; failure to act may result in the group not achieving the goal. The HR professional will attend weekly progress meetings, during which the HR professional will be called upon to make decisions in the interest of driving the project onward.

Norming.  The team has established trust, standards have been set and the team members have stable roles, there is a consensus and an accepted hierarchy. The HR professional would attend scheduled progress meetings and where necessary promote collaboration and, if required, compromise.

Performing.   The team is now fully committed, performing successfully, adapting and flexing. The team requires little oversight and progress meetings occur as required or at key milestone reviews only. At this stage there would be no requirement for conflict resolution or prevention.

Adjourning. The team have mixed feelings, a sense of loss and anxiety but also a sense of achievement and fulfilment. HR would be required but not for conflict resolution.

Tuckman’s stages of group development have been reproduced in the following diagram by Rebecca Nestor (Aurora, 2013).

Activity 3. Project Management. Maylor (2010) provides a detailed overview of the project management process which is broken down into 4 stages:
Phase 1 – Define the Project. In this element the aims and outcomes of the project are defined at a high level and the key stakeholders are involved. A responsible individual, the Project Manager will be identified and it is their function to identify the objectives, deliverables and benefits of the project. This phase should answer the key questions: what is to be done and why. In my organisation there was no plan to manage the proposal of projects and initiatives effectively which resulted in a failing to budget and meet their Control Total expenditures. With increased financial scrutiny being applied across defence there was a requirement to implement cost saving measures and controls, which is also good business practise. The task was to design and deliver a process that would capture the forecasted projects from within the organisation and their associated costs. The process would also enable the organisation to prioritise projects, allocate funding and control which projects were to proceed. Briefings were given to the management team of each element of the organisation, where some convincing was required on the overall benefits of the scheme and the timelines involved. In terms of leadership style a mix of S1 (Directing) and S2 (Coaching) would be required Blanchard and Hersey (1977) along with conflict resolution Thomas-Kilmann (1974) and options for negotiation utilising Jackman 2004.

Phase 2 – Design the Project Process. Here the Project Manager will have completed their initial engagement with the key stakeholders and is now looking to design the tools required. In this phase I worked as a member of the Plans team who were to develop a tool for analysing proposed initiatives, making recommendations regarding their priority, project dependencies, duplication, cost capture and linking of related work strands. In order to achieve this across the organisation there had to be buy in from all stakeholders. Historically, elements within the organisation were not held to account for their projects, cost and delivery, this would be a game changer for them and, as expected, met with reluctance to engage. If the Plans team were aware of the model then the team could have adopted a leadership style to that of S1 Directing, S2 (Coaching) and S3 (Supporting) Blanchard and Hersey (1977) and conflict resolution Thomas-Kilmann (1974). To avoid conflict where possible the team could have examined options for negotiation utilising Jackman 2004. For this project the defined end state and milestones were fixed.

Phase 3 – Deliver the Project. The Project is now in the most important cycle of the element. Control, leadership, decision-making and problem solving will be required, which can only be delivered in a coherent manner if the project is organized correctly. The team had finalised and implemented the Definition Management Cycle process across the organisation. The resulting submissions enabled the Plans team to produce a 24 month prioritised delivery schedule for the whole organisation.  This allowed the setting of goals and objectives, providing consistent clear reporting, decision making and governance.  Which in turn delivered training business outcomes, with the ability to realise benefits, whist addressing risks and issues, holding to account and increasing credibility and confidence to deliver in accordance with Defence Business Plans and Finance policy. If the Plans team were aware of the model then they would look to adapt their leadership style to that of S3 (Supporting) and S4 (Delegating) Blanchard and Hersey (1977).

Phase 4 – Develop the Process. The final phase is a thorough review of the project, what experiences have been learned and is the project credible i.e. did it meet the outcome initially expressed in the first and second phases. An end to end review of the new process should be conducted with a view to improving the process through lessons learned. Where it is merited these lessons should be shared with other project managers dealing with similar projects. The project is now entering its second year and new IT systems used to deliver the project have been taken into account. The submission process has been reviewed and a new format introduced, monthly Check Point Reviews have been implemented to ensure that milestones are met and projects are on target.

Activity 4. Self Assessment. I consider myself an experienced HR professional, having been employed within the HR area for almost 32 years.  I have experience in the fields of personnel management, change delivery and recently project management.  The terminology and bibliography referencing are new to me and something that will take time to adjust to however, it is just a different process to my normal working routine. Having made the decision to leave early I am now trying to decide what I wish to do for employment next. This indecisiveness on what to do next is holding me back, I need to be more decisive on this issue.
In order to overcome this I have considered the following options:
Option 1.  Research available literature in this area.
Option 2.  Identify training opportunities through CIPD, ILM and IAB, which I would be able to exploit through my membership of these associations.
Option 3.  Seek a mentor and/or trusted advisor who either have experience of overcoming indecisiveness or are a decisive person.

Having considered the various options above I have selected to pursue Option 3. The Mentor is a good friend who is experienced in decisive decision making and is willing to give his time to enable me to overcome this shortfall. Option 1 is a possibility however, this does not provide feedback or interaction and thereby assessing I am moving forward. Option 2 is an expense and a time requirement that I am unable to pursue at this stage.

I will take Option 3 forward and incorporate into my PDP for action and note options 1-2 for future consideration.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Blanchard, K. ; Hersey, P., (1977). Management of Organizational Behavior. 3 ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.


Dame, U. o. N., (2018). The Five Styles of Conflict Resolution. Online Available at: 03 October (2018).

Francis, H. ; Keegan, A., (2006). The Changing Face of HRM: In Search of Balance. Human Resources Management Journal. Volume 16 Number 3 ed. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Jackman, A., (2005). How to Negotiate: The Fast Route to Getting the Results You Want. London: Hamlyn.

Maylor, H., (2010). Project Management. 4 ed. London: Financial Times.

Nestor, R., (2013). Bruce Tuckman’s Team Development Model. Online Available at: 02 October 2018.

Thomas, K. & Killmann, R., (1974). Conflict Mode Instrument. CIPD handout October 2018. s.l.:s.n.

Tuckman, B., (1965). Tuckman’s stages of group development. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 63 (6), p 384-399. Also forming, storming, norming and performing in groups.. Online Available at: 02 October 2018.

Tuckman, B. ; Jensen, M., (1977). University of Oxford – Stages in Group Development. Online Available at: 02 October 2018.

Ulrich, Brockbank, Johnson ; Younger , (2007). Human Resource Competencies: Responding to Increased Expectations. CIPD handout October 2018. s.l.:s.n.

Ulrich, D., (1997). HR Champions. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Xiaohua, L. ; Germain, R., 1998. Sustaining Satisfactory Joint Venture Relationships: The Role of Conflict Resolution Strategy. Journal of International Business Studies, 29(1), pp. pp 179-196.


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