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10 Ways to Unlock the Benefits of Connections to Boost Your HR Career

hr best practices hr department hr for small business team work Apr 03, 2023

Special Interest Groups can be an essential part of leadership development. The value of these groups is enormous, and when you unlock the benefits of a Special Interest Group, you can quickly grow your HR career.

What Is a Special Interest Group?

A Special Interest Group is a place where similarly-situated individuals come together on a regular basis for a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability, and development. The meetings are often led by a professional facilitator or they may be a more informal gathering of peers. Two of the main benefits of these groups are that it helps members achieve individual success and helps the group sharpen their collective skills.

In human resources, our issues are rarely black and white. While compliance plays a role in decision making, there are generally a number of ways to solve any given situation.

Further, in small HR departments, it can often feel like every new initiative is starting from scratch. This is where a mastermind group can have great benefit. A Special Interest Group can help with brainstorming, idea checking and learning about already-proven techniques that work.  And sometimes – just a place to blow off steam and remind your self that others have been there and dealt with that before!

10 Benefits of a Mastermind Group

The benefits of a Special Interest Group can truly propel your HR career forward. Here are some of the main reasons you should consider joining one today.

  1. You belong to a group that ‘gets you.’
  2. You gain a valuable support network
  3. You have the opportunity to collaborate on key projects.
  4. You gain access to more ideas and alternate perspectives.
  5. You typically get access to outside subject matter experts.
  6. You hear and consider out-of-the-box opinions.
  7. You extend your professional network.
  8. You share resources with other HR professionals, so you won’t have to reinvent the wheel.
  9. You sharpen your business and personal skills.
  10. You are held accountable for your goals and commitments.

The benefits of a Special Interest Group strengthen as connections form by working with each other over long periods of time. Learning each other’s business, skill sets and strengths allows group members to provide feedback that is customized to the needs of each member.

Finding the Perfect Special Interest Group

The beauty of a group is that there are lots of variations, so finding one that fits your goals and needs is pretty simple. Groups can be formal or informal, professionally led or ad-hoc arrangements between business people.  Your local SHRM chapter could be a good place to start.  A few years ago, a woman heard me speak on the topic at an Annual SHRM conference and went home and formed her own.  They met once a month at a local coffee shop – its still going today! Meeting virtually is now an option which allows us unlimited possibilities but still unlocks the benefits of a group by allowing members to create a connection and interact during and between meetings.

Groups that are professionally run have the advantage of the facilitator being responsible for tracking issues, goals and member needs. Your facilitator can also bring subject matter expertise to the table, thus adding value to your growth and development.  It is important to understand that there is commitment required when you join a group. Not only are you reaping the benefits of a mastermind group, but you are also partially ‘responsible’ for sharing those benefits with your fellow group members. Wherever you are in your HR career, you have unique perspectives and experiences that can help others.

As such, the Special Interest Group is a place to give, take, and contribute to the success of the group as a whole. By doing so, you can unlock the benefits of a group and catapult your HR career! Consider your goals, then find one that is right for you today.

Thanks for reading!

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