Build a peer network you can tap for expertise

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in HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Issue: HR's uniqueness makes it difficult to tap others within your organization for brainstorming, problem-solving, etc.

Benefits: Joining or forming a network of HR pros can give you valuable sounding boards for your ideas, plus improve career growth.

Action: Check out your local Chamber of Commerce or the SHRM Web site for existing local networks.

Do you sometimes feel isolated in your job? That isolation can leave you with no one to bounce ideas off, ask questions of or commiserate with.

So what do you do? Build your own network of HR pros. Start by looking for an already-established group in your area. Visit the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Web site, www.shrm.org, to find a local chapter or talk to someone at your Chamber of Commerce.

If you can't find an existing network, build your own. Contact a few HR managers in your area, and explain what you're trying to do.

Once you locate some like-minded professionals, take these steps to maximize the benefits of your network while minimizing the time commitment:

1. Meet to brainstorm how you might support each other. Develop ground rules about how you will function.

2. Carve out time every month to connect with your network. Meet for breakfast, lunch or just chat by e-mail discussion group.

3. Set up a skill exchange. If one of your colleagues' organizations offers management development classes, for example, you might swap your expertise in accounting for a few free classes for your managers. If you're bringing in various health care providers to "pitch" their services, invite folks from your network to attend.

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