Human resource management refers to managing all the activities required from hiring an employee to his retirement formalities and the process during his service. This process is very challenging for an HR and thus it can be prone to errors, loss of data.
This article covers the following:
- Human Resource Management as a Strategic Function
- Why every organisations needs a HR department
- Functions of Human Resource Management (HRM)
- How HRM differs in every organisation
- How can I begin a career in human resources?
- Are you suited for a career in HR?
- What is it like working in HR?
Human Resource as a Strategic Function
Human Resources is a key strategic support pillar in any company (for those who can afford such a service) and their use might be different depending on the company’s strategy.
- First, the HR department is known to take care of recruitment and pay the employees. Which are the two mains functions.
- Moreover, it might deal with performance reviews, trainings and career management within the company.
- HR will also deal with internal issues related to work ethics, holidays and relationships between employees.
- More recently, HR have to handle corporate social responsibility, which is useful for the company’s image and to obtain certifications. This allows to attract new talents.
Human resources (HR) is the company department charged with finding, screening, recruiting and training job applicants, as well as administering employee-benefit programs. As companies reorganize to gain competitive edge, human resources plays a key role in helping companies deal with a fast-changing environment and the greater demand for quality employees.
A human resources department is an essential, if not critical, component of any business regardless of the organization’s size.
It is primarily focused on maximizing employee productivity and protecting the company from any issues that may arise from the workforce.
HR responsibilities include compensation and benefits, recruitment, firing and keeping up to date with any laws that may affect the company and its employees.
Why HR is needed in every organisation
Leadership discredits HR as a ‘cost of doing business’ and push it aside as none strategic player. HR needs a seat at the Executive table!
Here is what needs to be done:
- HR needs to step it up and instead of saying no all the time, they need to come back with an alternative solution that solves the problem. Compliance is important, but so are solutions to everyday issues managers deal with.
- HR needs to learn about other business metrics so they can speak the language of business, before presenting ideas in terms that no one understands.
- If HR must say no, they need to explain the why behind it, instead of leaving people in the dark.
- Executives needs to learn about the value that HR brings even though they don’t generate revenue outright.
Functions of Human Resources Management:
- Planning: Assessment of future man power requirement is done with the help of man power inventory chart followed by the recruitment and selection process. A clean job description is needed to lure people with the right skills for the right position. It is the responsibility of the manager of a firm to lay down specifications of the qualities and skills required by the workers and determining sources from where the workers are to be recruited. Selection is done by means of written test and personal interviews.
- Organizing: This involves proper designing of organizational structure, the inter relationship between jobs, establishing smooth channels of communication, assignment of authority, responsibility and creating accountability, establishing line and staff relationship etc.
- Directing: Issuing orders and instructions down the line and motivating the work force to carry out those instructions satisfactorily. Positive motivation in the form of financial and non-financial incentives, a good working environment is essential on the part of the management.
- Controlling: The motive is to ensure that performance of each worker coincides with the plans or standards. Benchmarking, Total quality management and Six sigma are some of the popular concepts of standardization.
How HRM differs in every organisation
While every firm must address these, the level of severity and sophistication varies greatly.
In general, the bigger and older the firm, the more it needs to cover itself with elaborate HR mechanisms.
- True start-ups. With fewer than 50 employees, you cannot afford a dedicated HR officer. Appoint one of the officers who is good with people and paperwork. Make sure they pick up a copy of a decent survey like HR for Dummies. Adopt a rudimentary handbook and get boilerplate employment documents from the Internet. Run them by a lawyer for a quick look.
- Mature small businesses. Again with 50 or fewer employees you will probably not have an HR officer. Hire an experienced office manager. Send him/her to annual training seminars to keep up with compliance. Have the company’s general lawyer periodically review the personnel handbook and standard employment documents. Consider retaining a law firm with at least one employment lawyer on staff — just in case.
- Medium sized business. With 50 employees, you need an HR office. You have something to lose and will inevitably attract some trouble. Have someone who really understands how to create and maintain personnel records. Be sure the company has a formal, consistent interview process. Consistently enforce basic company policies (e.g., no porn on company computers). Document and retain records on employee discipline and termination. It would not hurt to ensure your HR manager has SHRM certification.
- Publicly traded firms. You are in the big leagues now. You just added Sarbanes Oxley compliance. Your HR challenges have multiplied and your executive team can have 5 years of compensation clawed back in case of major infractions. Sarbanes–Oxley Act – Wikipedia You need an HR team that keeps up with every legal requirement and industry best practice. Everything major needs to get a look from legal.
How can I begin a career in human resource management?
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Attending a college is the first step towards any career.
A bachelor’s degree program in human resource management is common among the professionals and often includes different courses in leadership theories, supervision, organizational behavior, industrial psychology, and more.
Another relevant program is a bachelor’s degree program in business administration with a human resource concentration, comprising concepts such as workplace law, critical thinking and the integration of HR concepts with other business management principles.
Develop excellent communication skills
Liking people is not the only qualification for pursuing a career in human resources (HR). You will be required to work with employees at every level of a company, from the lowest paid worker to the CEO.
Thus, building good communication skills is important to communicate effectively with the senior management, drafting the procedures and policies, conveying it to the employees as well as addressing their complaints and grievances.
Pay attention to the developments in the field.
- Read publications and subscribe to e-newsletters providing HR specific updates
- Keep an eye on current affairs concerning unemployment, hiring statistics, court cases involving employment law, and other matters concerning workers or employers.
This will keep you updated on the latest happenings in the field and assist you in building your HR knowledge
After earning a degree, it’s time to enter the workforce. You can start up as an HR intern with a good firm to get an exposure and experience.
HR executives should have experience in the human resource sphere before they can take on the higher-level leadership positions. Some also get a foot in the door through entry-level HR positions, such as human resources specialist, recruiter or trainer.
With education and experience, human resources professionals often obtain voluntary professional certification to demonstrate expertise and dedication to the field.
There are Certification Institutes and bodies like Talent Management Institute, HR Certification Institute, Society for Human Resource Management, Human Capital Institute that offer many certification programmers.
A career as an HR executive generally requires at least a bachelor’s degree and 5 -6 years of experience.
Talent management has become an in thing today and has started working in tandem with the HR approaches. Recruiters these days prefer applicants with a certification and a graduate degree.
Why Choose HR as a Career
An HR professional always brings a distinctive perspective to the business.
These individuals have a strong sense of understanding about the priorities of organizations. They possess in-depth knowledge of the challenges faced by companies.
They are also capable of influencing future aspects of the company on the basis of their employment decisions.
Handsome salary package
As this position is very important for the growth of any organization, it is clear that care will be taken to hire a skilled candidate.
HR professionals are known to attract above-average salary packages, along with various other benefits.
Ability to alter people’s lives
These professionals can have a positive impact on the employees they will be hiring for the company. Apart from performing their daily duties, they can change the lives of the individuals who are looking for a job.
They can lend a helping hand to candidates who want to clear housing loans, giving health insurance or tuition reimbursements.
These professionals can also provide transferable skills as part of on-the-job training for new recruits.
Even if the advancements in HR technology and use of automation have brought a revolution in the working style of any organization, HR professionals are there to stay.
The software solutions cannot emulate all the elements related to this field, nor can it imitate common sense and intuition, which are necessary when hiring new individuals.
Helping with the development of other employees
They can help other employees develop professionally and also enhance their skill quotient.
Nowadays, with practices such as exit interviews and performance review tools, these professionals can focus on finding novel techniques that are useful in designing performance improvement programs for the employees.
This not only takes care of the company’s development, but also places importance on the development of individuals, thus giving them satisfaction.
These professionals play a pivotal role in business operations and hiring new employees.
As organizations continue to expand their businesses, there will be no shortage in the need for experienced professionals and specialists from this domain.
Sense of satisfaction
Spotting the problem before anyone else can see it and taking measures to minimize its impact is the main objective of these professionals.
Going out of their way to solve issues can make employees feel less frustrated.
These professionals devise strategies that help in developing communication between the employees and managers.
Hiring new employees and helping them with onboarding process is an essential task for these professionals. Helping new recruits know about the company and people, its processes and policies can reduce their stress and help them start work in a positive way.
Working with new faces
These professionals work with new people almost every day.
They have numerous interactions with candidates while leading job interviews and with employees when addressing their questions and complaints.
This career involves interacting with many different people and striving for their development.
Hence, if you like working with people and always want to make new connections, HR is the best career option for you.
What is it like working in HR?
I will answer from my own experience of working in HR at a very functional, happy small-to-medium non-profit in the U.S.
My days are hugely busy, full of ever-changing priorities, last minute emergencies, impromptu meetings and phone calls, good news, bad news, fun, tedium, and pleasure.
On any given day:
- I will speak to employees from every level of the organization about every imaginable thing.
- I will draft documentation.
- I may post a job opening, interview people, coordinate with a hiring manager, check references, or (my absolute favorite) offer a job.
- I will probably coach someone or give advice.
- I may participate in meetings that determine the destiny of your organization.
- I will file things.
- I might discipline someone, fire someone, or tell someone they got a promotion.
- Someone will make a joke about “don’t tell HR” as they do something silly nearby.
- I will solve multiple problems for multiple people.
- I will refer someone to the employee handbook.
- I will refer to the employee handbook myself.
- I will learn about some upcoming change to HR-related law. I will sigh.
- I will advocate for someone.
- I will know that I am making a difference for my company and my employees.
- I will go home happy and tired.
Conclusion – Are you suited for a career in HR?
Every field has it’s own advantages and disadvantages, HR Career is also having some pros and cons.
HR is always challenging. Any job that involves managing human nature always is. Also, your jurisdiction’s laws and organisation’s culture will regularly change and evolve. Keeping updated and adapting will be a consistent challenge.
It is not for everyone – no job is. And a “career in HR” will vary wildly between organisations.
If you like connecting to different people daily, like keeping yourself updated on industry news, like solving problems and more or less turning into a psychologist then this field is for you.