Moving up the ladder

Is there any one best piece of advice that helped guide you in to the senior stages of your HR career?

Dear Laurence,

I first started my career in marketing, but have now had eight years in my current HR role and am ready to declare that this is the profession for me much longer-term. Is there any one best piece of advice that helped guide you in to the senior stages of your career?

- Seeking advice

Laurence SmithOnce you have the fundamental skills and you’re doing well in your role, and you’re enjoying the people you are working with and the value you are delivering – the next stage of your career will require a mentor. Find people that can guide you, help you grow, challenge you, and give you honest feedback.

It will also be about looking at how you continue to grow yourself; taking on broader roles, new challenges, and volunteering if necessary for different project teams.

And the third part is: How do you start to give back?

If you’ve been in HR for eight years and come from a marketing background, you probably have a different mindset and approach to more traditional HR people, many of whom are still internally- focused and process-orientated.

Is there some value you can add to help more HR people be more business-minded, be more outward-looking, and get better at promoting HR services and capabilities within the organisation?

Laurence Smith is a board-level advisor to With 25 years of working experience in consulting and HR, his career has spanned across different industries and countries, including stints and projects with LG Electronics, GE Capital, McKinsey, the World Bank, and as Managing Director of Learning and Development for DBS Bank.

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