The value of structure weekly self-reflection for Career Success for HR Professionals.

Susan Manning
5 min readJul 27, 2021

As an HR Professional, you want to perform at your highest level every day and ultimately in your career. You are always looking for new ways to learn and grow as you develop your progression.

One valuable method for career development and learning I believe strongly in is self-reflection, in a structured weekly format. This style of self-reflection should not be confused with other reasons for self-reflection and different forms of self-reflection.

This structured format has one aim — and that is for you to continue to perform as best as you can in your current role.

What is structure self-reflection?

Maybe you have thought about reflecting on your work before but weren’t sure how to go about it. Or perhaps you tried but found your reflective efforts to be aimless, wandering and not consistent. This is why I call it ‘structure reflection’ as it differs from haphazard rumination.

In the structured reflection, you ask yourself three very clear questions, which keep you on track and focused.

The three clear questions to ask yourself are:

  • What three things did I do well, this week?
  • What would I do differently the next time in the same situation?
  • What have I learnt about myself?

How do you approach structured self-reflection for success?

Self-reflection is not a one-size-fits-all process and there are a few different ways to approach it. I would also recommend different approaches for different outcomes. However, for this structured style, I would suggest you make it a priority on your to-do list and formally schedule time as ask yourself the three questions.

You may do this self-reflecting at the end of each day but I would recommend that you schedule your self-reflection for a Friday. It allows you to assess how your week has gone and reflected on what you want to do differently next week.

How long you should self-reflect is largely a matter of personal preference and individual circumstances. Some people may need only a few brief moments. Others are better off with a half-hour or even longer. If you only self-reflect once a week, a longer time is probably needed.

Taking notes on what you have learned and how you want to proceed forward can be very valuable. Consider minimizing digital distractions by using a pen and paper. I have developed a template for my thinking (please leave a comment if you would like a copy of this template).

However, I know how precious time can be, so it may work better for you to do your thinking on your commute home or on your daily walk. Often we do our best thinking away from our work desk and I would normally recommend that you do your thinking is done away from your desk. However, I find if you don’t formalise the time and put the time in your calendar for self-reflection it doesn’t get done 😊

Improving your performance

Structure self-reflection is a powerful improvement tool to think back, observe ourselves in actions and take what we have learnt to make positive changes to our behaviour.

If you don’t notice what happened, you cannot learn from the situation and therefore miss the valuable opportunity to improve and grow.

When I was promoted to Senior Manager and I knew that my next step was HR Director. I asked myself these three questions each week and made notes on my thoughts. I wanted to become aware of the HR Operational work I was still doing and where I could deliver move value to my Business Leaders by doing more strategic work in my role.

This self-reflection process gave me the opportunity to look at everything I was doing from the conversations I was having, the decisions I was making to the actions I was, or as importantly what actions I was not taking. I started to recognise some behavioural patterns that were tripping me up on a daily basis and from there I was able to make changes and accelerate my career progression.

Prioritise Self-Reflection

When you consciously set up a routine to allow yourself time for self-reflection the learning is invaluable and can result in powerful behavioural changes. While other tasks may seem more urgent, self-reflection should always be your priority. For a busy HR Professional, the biggest key to successful self-reflection is simply making sure you find the time for it.

Don’t allow yourself excuses for reasons not to do structured self-reflection for learning.

While other concerns may seem more important in the moment, self-reflection pays off over the long term, being crucial to the constant learning that is needed for career development.

Research would tell us that people who make the space to reflect are more articulate about their goals and “value add” in resumes, interviews and during meetings in existing roles and finally in my experience, self-knowledge adds meaning and depth to your work, resulting in the satisfaction that far exceeds compensation.

I would love to hear how self-reflection has worked for you in developing your career progression, please leave a comment or message me. And don’t forget that if you would like a copy of my self-reflection template to capture your thoughts please message me.

Susan Manning is an International Executive HR Coach for HR Professionals who want to succeed in their current role and be seen as a trusted advisor so they can progress in their HR Career. She has developed a free HR Career Assessment Wheel which you can access here that will give you an overview of your life and career.

The HR Career Success Assessment Wheel is a simple yet powerful tool to visualise all areas of your current role at once and identify areas that need more attention, improvement or development. If you want support on how you can create greater success in your HR career and be seen as a HR Trusted Adviser. Book a complimentary Success Mapping Session with Susan by sending her an email at



Susan Manning

Leadership Consultant and Clarity Coach — Providing essential CLARITY for greater effectiveness in a chaotic world.