• Esther Er

♥4HR – A Community of HR Practices

My experience in forming communities of practice (CoP) goes back to the Year 2005. "CoP are groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an on-going basis" (Source: Etienne Wenger, Cultivating Communities of Practice).

I was then the Deputy Director for the Singapore Workforce Agency (WDA), that is now called the Workforce Singapore (WSG). I was tasked to form four national CoPs made up of senior-level HR practitioners. The fun part of my job was visiting and talking to over fifty over HR practitioners in the industry.

We also invited Mr. Etienne Wenger, whom I would regard as the Father of Communities of Practice to grace our event. He flew into Singapore to Pan Pacific Hotel to meet up with the four national CoP teams. I had the opportunity to spent precious minutes with Etienne, but the knowledge that I gained from his sharing has been hardwired in my DNA for the next fourteen years.

At the WDA CoP launch in Year 2005 with Etienne Wenger

I still remember the 5 C’s of sustaining a CoP (and in our case, a “community of interest”): Conversation, Collaboration, Commitment, Connectivity, and Capabilities. These are the benefits that you will receive when you belonged to the ♥ 4HR community!

The four national CoPs that we established back in 2005 was very active because we had all the right ingredients (Source: Kate Dibben, EdNA Online, Australia):

· We focused on topics important to the group

· We had well-respected HR leaders to coordinate/facilitate the group

· We made sure people have time and encourage participation.

· We got key thought leaders involved, e.g., Etienne Wenger

· We build personal relationship among CoP members

· We had a passionate core group

· We created sessions for thinking together as well as systems for sharing information

· We made it easy to contribute and access the group knowledge and practices

· We created a real dialogue about cutting edge issues and information

What I got out of these four CoP was something magical called “fellowship”. My involvement with WDA CoP was only a year before I moved on back to the Private Sector, but the “fellowship” with every member lasted a lifetime.

I remembered all the CoP sessions we had. The sharing sessions were priceless. We had four CoPs totaling about forty HR practitioners who had no ulterior motives other than being part of this wonderful fellowship.

Just four weeks ago, I met Mr. Eugene Tan, who was then one of the CoP members. Back then, Mr. Tan was one of the vital HR thought leaders from the hotel and service industry. There was so much joy in meeting another fellow CoP member after so many years. It was something magical, the camaraderie that lasted a lifetime, it never went away!

♥ 4HR is not a 100m dash for me, but a marathon. We will start small with just some basic requirements, but it will be a journey for at least the next 15 years. We were asked about our mandate, charter, manifesto, etc. In the world where it is already too complex as it is, our agile goal is simply getting a group of people coming together each month as a community.

We will establish ♥ 4HR as a fellowship of people coming together with the genuine interest of helping and growing together.

Calling all HR Practitioners, drop us an email if you want to be part of this community!