What does professionalism mean to you?

May 19, 2021 By ascendadmin

May 19, 2021 By ascendadmin

What does professionalism mean to you?

The term ‘professionalism’ means a standard of conduct that individual practices in his area of work.

Through the combination of their expertise and ethical responsibility, professionals enjoy a degree of trust to carry out their services and are granted a unique right of practice and authority to make decisions in line with their professional judgment (van Rensburg et al 2011, Fournier 1999).

Having worked in HR for over a decade I have found myself reflecting on this several times. In a field like HR, one often finds that everything is not black and white. We often operate in the grey zone and are presented with several ethical dilemmas. I always find that one reaches better decisions when one is well-informed, well-read, and open-minded.
According to the CIPD, the core elements of being an HR professional are-


  • Social and ethical responsibility
  • Commitment
  • A body of expert knowledge and skills
  • Continuing professional development (CPD)
  • Situational judgment
  • Identity

HR professionals have a strong sense of organizational identity as well as professional identity. But often when there is a conflict between the two, the organizational identity prevails. There are times when you know the organization’s stand is just unethical or unfair to the employees? What happens then? Which side do you choose?

HR professionals need to have a strong code of ethics and a solid set of values. One needs to practice what one preaches. A set of ethical guidelines must define HR professionalism. HR needs to play an active role in challenging unethical behavior and cultures (Parkes and Davis 2013).

Even though HR professionals see themselves as ‘ethical stewards’ they often do not have the will to stop or voice their dissent against unethical practices within their organization. This needs to change. HR needs to be at the forefront when such situations arise in organizations.

Being a successful HR professional is not just about meeting recruitment deadlines, toeing the line when it comes to reducing the HR budget, or ticking the boxes in a performance appraisal cycle. HR professionals are the conscience of the organization. Not only must HR practitioners be sensitive to unfair or unjust practices by colleagues or leaders they must also be brave enough to voice this with the senior management and bring about necessary changes to put an end to such practices.

The fundamental purpose of HR is to champion better work and better working lives. So whatever moral code or value system you follow make sure you create a safe and fair environment in your organization.

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2 thoughts on “What does professionalism mean to you?”

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