Intuition taster: Career spotlight - professional standards we can all aspire to

I recently reviewed the SET Code of Practice and the aspirational 20 Professional Standards for Teachers and Trainers. It occurs to me that they are an excellent framework on which to base our behaviours at work.

We all develop a reputation as we journey through our careers. Developing a good one takes care and is certainly worth protecting. As an HR lead it is highly persuasive when a person comes recommended to a role, particularly if that recommendation indicates a strong reputation for having high professional standards.

Key aspects of our reputation will, of course, develop from our knowledge and skills, and our work ethic. There are other aspects, though, that are crucial, and the SET Code neatly sets these out for its members. The Code outlines how we should, as professionals, behave in such a way that we do not diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in us, and in our profession; that we should act honestly and with integrity using our professional judgement. These can be lost with a damaged reputation.

Increasingly, I see professionals get into difficulty with social media. Too often an otherwise professional person has made the mistake of posting or sharing material that is inappropriate for public consumption. Care taken with site security settings is time well spent, as is thinking about what we say and the appropriateness of sharing some content publicly.

Most organisations will have a social media policy, and that is a sensible place to check for guidance. Finally, as I’m discussing reputation it seems timely to mention Christmas parties. I’d be the first to agree 12 months of hard work deserves a good party. But many a good reputation has been damaged by alcohol-induced absences, drunken shenanigans and offended colleagues. Make sure you don’t end up on the staff naughty list!

Donna Lucas is group vice-principal, HR and professional development, at the Shrewsbury Colleges Group and chairs the Association of Colleges’ National HR Policy Group. She is a Member of SET and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.