Is A Career In HR Right For You?
Nearly everyone has had some involvement with the functions of a Human Resource Department, even if they do not realize it. Most people know that the Human Resources (HR) Department recruits people to work for a company; members of this department also interview and hire people. What else do they do? According to Ruth Mayhew, in her article titled “Six Main Functions of a Human Resource Department,” HR performs a multitude of tasks for an organization. They keep the workplace safe by providing safety training and tracking employee injuries. They oversee employee relations to improve relationships between employees and employers in both unionized and non-unionized environments. Training and development is another function of Human Resources. This ranges from conducting software or safety courses to developing managers for future positions. It is the responsibility of HR to ensure the employees have the skills to do the job for which they were hired.
However, the most important function Human Resources provides is to ensure the company’s employees receive fair wages and benefits. Benefits can cover anything from paid time off to healthcare to tuition assistance.
Ruth Mayhew describes why these Human Resources functions are so important to a company in her article titled “10 Reasons HR is Important to an Organization.” By creating fair and competitive wages and benefits, a company can attract the best candidates for a job. Benefits can even reduce the turnover of existing employees. The costs associated with recruitment, interviewing, hiring and training new employees is very high. By retaining good employees, Human Resources can reduce costs for the company. Maintaining employee satisfaction through the employee relations also reduces employee turnover and costs for the company. In the same way, maintaining a safe environment within the company prevents injuries and lawsuits, which is a cost avoidance for the company.
Human Resources also leads the strategic planning effort in the company. Strategic planning is about setting the direction and objectives for the company for both the long and short-term. In order to use the company’s resources in the best way, people and equipment are assigned to those objectives that are most important to the organization. In Strategic Planning Basics, a strategic plan is defined as “a document used to communicate … the organization’s goals, the actions needed to achieve those goals and all of the other critical elements developed during the planning exercise.”
Human Resources takes on a huge responsibility in leading the effort to develop a company-wide strategic plan. Strategic Planning Basics describes the planning steps as 1) analyzing the present environment internally and externally, 2) determining the best direction for the organization, 3) implementing the direction or strategy, and 4) evaluating its effectiveness.
Does HR sound like a department in which you would like to work? One of the potential careers you can pursue upon completion of Fremont’s Business Leadership Bachelor’s Degree Program is Human Resources. Graduates generally start out as assistants and work their way up the ladder to lead one of the Human Resources functions, such as employee relations, training, personnel, safety, etc., or, in a small company, even lead the entire department.
But what skills should you have in addition to a business degree to get started in this exciting field? Per the HR Daily Advisor in the article “The 9 Essential Skills of Human Resources Management – How Many Do You Have?,” Jay Schleifer and Steve Bruce present the following list of skills:
- This skill involves being organized with digital and paper files, as well as being highly efficient in getting work done.
- Human Resources covers a broad range of tasks, priorities and issues. Employees must be able to move quickly to the newest priority.
- Dealing with grey. Human Resource employees must be able to determine whether a conflict or situation could become a case of harassment or discrimination. They need to be able to figure out the issues quickly and accurately.
- When conflict arises, Human Resource employees must find a win-win solution to the problem that works for the employees involved.
- Human Resource employees must be able to communicate effectively through writing, one-on-one communication, and presentations with all types of employees including managers and employees of all races and cultures.
- Discrete and Ethical. Much of the communication in which Human Resource employees are involved must be kept confidential.
- Dual focus. Human Resource employees have the dual role of representing an employee while also enforcing management’s rules.
- Conflict management and problem solving. Human Resource employees work with employees to resolve differences with win-win solutions. When there is a problem that needs to be resolved, it is likely that a Human Resource employee is working on a solution.
- Change management. Not only do the Human Resource employees need to cope with constant change, they must facilitate change with the employees. Human Resource employees must keep everyone informed of future planned changes.
Does a Human Resource career still resonate with you? Well, now is a good time to start or finish your Business Leadership Degree while honing the nine essential human resource skills listed above.
*In no way does Fremont College promise or guarantee employment or level of income/wages.