There is a general misconception that HR is a field that does not provide career growth after a certain limit. To your surprise, many individuals transition to HR careers later in life. It might seem hard to believe, but even if you go straight from your college graduation to a Human Resources position, you will find that there are more pathways for progression in this field than you initially thought. Deciding on which career to opt for is never easy, but if you are interested in the HR career path and what it has to offer, then keep reading.
What is Human Resources Management?
Human Resources Management (HRM) is the practice of hiring, training, compensating, managing, and retaining the employees of an organization. In simpler terms, we could say that HRM focuses on managing every aspect of the employee life cycle process. They make sure that the employee feels valued by the organization at every step.
Importance of Human Resources
The relationship between the organization and its employees is highly dependent on the HR. From management and conflict resolution to health and safety, everything falls within the responsibilities of the HR department of an organization. The day-to-day Human Resources tasks are highly crucial for an organization to achieve success in the long term.
Human Resources sets up the structure of any organization. They decide whether a business is going to survive or not, and therefore, it is vitally important for an organization to have an HR department. It further provides clarity, content, and consistency which allows organizations to have great companies.
If an organization’s objective is to help its customers and reach a global audience, then HR implements the best strategic business practices, so that a healthy environment is created for the achievement of those objectives.
Effective performance management schemes help employees understand how to continually improve using employee development activities to improve the current and future performance of employees.
For every organization, the employees are the biggest asset. Employee relationship includes labor law and relations, health and safety, conflict management, work-life balance, counseling, etc. which all needs to be managed by HR.
The process of job designing involves deciding what employees will do on a day-to-day basis. HR Professionals decide the simplicity or complexity of a task, how many tasks can employees perform, how much flexibility should be provided to the employees, and how they can carry out all those tasks.
Qualities in an HR Professional
Human Resources positions are ideal for organized, detail-oriented people who enjoy helping others and coordinating solutions to administrative and personal problems.
Good communication skills are considered a prerequisite for HR Professionals because they constantly need to communicate with different people during hiring and onboarding. They are also required to answer employee inquiries regarding salaries & benefits and communicate policy changes and new initiatives to the organization.
HR personnel handle multiple tasks on a daily basis, so they must be able to effectively manage their time. HR must also be diligent with deadlines to ensure employees receive their salaries or bonuses on time.
Advising and Coaching
HR helps coach employees on what learning and development programs to attend based on their personal skills and interests. They also advise line managers on handling any conflicts and misunderstandings that occur between employees.
Analytical and Data-Driven
HR provides data-driven insights to executives, enabling the organization to measure and meet its strategic goals. These insights may include an analysis of recruitment data to streamline the hiring process or reduce hiring expenses.
HR works with hiring managers to hire the most qualified candidates for the organization’s vacant positions. They are responsible for crafting job posts, screening resumes, performing interviews, and conducting pre-employment assessments and background checks.
Compensation and Benefits
HR ensures that the employees receive appropriate pay and benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, wellness programs, and leave credits.
Learning and Development
HR helps with employee career development to help upskill employees and address skills gaps. HR is also involved in designing and implementing these learning and development programs.
HR Professionals are responsible for optimizing an organization’s staffing levels to prevent shortages and surpluses in the workforce.
HR provides accurate and timely information to its employees to build good working relationships and boost employee engagement and retention.
How to Start a Career in Human Resources
Unlike other careers, Human Resources jobs are not going to be automated anytime soon. Human Resources requires a deep understanding of people and emotions, which cannot be adopted by any software, or technology, or robot. Algorithms can help evaluate good potential hires, but a career in Human Resources is far more than hiring talent.
Starting a career in Human Resources is relatively easier than other fields. Here’s how you can start becoming a professional:
Education and Training
HR professionals should at least have a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources, Psychology, Business Administration, or a related field. They can also take courses in HR Management, organizational behavior, labor relations, employment law, etc. to develop a strong HR foundation.
To earn practical insights and experience into HR functions, you can look for HR internships or mentorship programs where you can be trained by senior HR personnel about the ins and outs of the HR department. To further solidify your skills, you can even volunteer for short HR projects within your organizations or outside to learn what working in HR feels like.
Gaining experience not only helps in growing your career, but it also provides a clear picture of what Human Resources is all about. Getting practical experience will help you identify your passion and interest, and can assist you in finding which side you really want to focus on.
Similar to any other career, HR professionals also require continuous upskilling to provide further value to the organization and expand their HR skills. In this modern world, you have easy access to the internet, where you can acquire certifications in the comfort of your home or office. Several websites offer online certifications in HR to individuals, such as HRAcademia, Human Resources Standard Institute, Coursera, etc.
Apply for Entry-Level HR Positions
To start building your HR career, you should look for entry-level HR roles like HR assistant, recruiter, or HR coordinator. Once you find your desired position, tailor your resume to match the job description by highlighting relevant HR skills, internships, and certifications you have acquired during the period.
Craft a cover letter explaining your level of interest in the advertised role, relevant skills, work experience, and how you can help the company grow in the future. Moreover, research the company and prepare yourself for the interview beforehand to increase your chances of landing your dream job.
HR careers are forecasted to grow, so transitioning or starting in this field is surely a good idea. If you are organized, good with people, and know you will thrive as an employee advocate, HR is the ideal field for you!