Have you never considered a career in Human Resources? It is definitely not as sought-after as a career in engineering or medicine. We can’t blame you, given the stereotype of HR as simply a support function – it has got a bad rap for years!
Some even joke that HR stands for Hardly Relevant. That may have been true for the beige, corporate cultures of the past that promoted conformity, suit and jackets and a hard adherence to the 9-to-5 clock with files, folders, punch-in-punch-out, appraisal forms, payslips leave and attendance as the main job responsibilities of HR.
Or so we thought.
And then the world changed. With the rise of entrepreneurship, startups and a shift in existing norms, suddenly everything was turned upside down. People realised they had choices, and that they could choose not to work at places they didn’t enjoy, and where they weren’t valued. Suddenly, companies had to prove they were worthy of employees, not the other way around!
In this new age, the role of the Human Resources team – or anyone who worked on People and Culture initiatives – became very important. Previously, employee tenure normally went into double digits, but then, companies started seeing employees staying for shorter periods of time, resulting in an increased focus on hiring and retaining staff in order to meet business goals. There grew a need to find a way to make jobs attractive to top talent through a nuanced combination of engagement, learning, growth, compensation and recognition that would allow employees to see the value in staying with an organisation. This led to what many call a rebirth of Human Resources as a career, and the start of a focus on People and Culture, not just Humans as Resources.
Today, HR departments are much more dynamic, playing an essential role in a business’ long-term talent development strategy. As you’ll start to see around you, those who are able to effectively harness the power of people have the ability to transform the future of companies!
Not yet convinced? Here are five reasons why you should consider a career in Human Resources:
1. More than just hiring and firing
The field of HR has something for everyone. Passionate about data and making sense of numbers? Data scientists and analysts are in high demand to help companies take data-driven decisions when it comes to their people. Do you have a flair for communication and crafting impactful messages? Employer Branding and Internal Communications is a growing field within HR where marketing mavericks can impact company, branding and facilitate transparency within internal teams for better productivity. Help the business to identify future leaders who will ensure the company’s long term sustainability by working in Learning & Development. Work hand-in-hand with functional heads to anticipate needs and plan for effective people development strategies by being an HR Business Partner.
2. HR in times of AI and ML
With more and more industries talking about adopting Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, there is a chance some roles may be automated and eventually eliminated. However, machines still need human intervention, interpretation and analysis. As much as we can automate and outsource certain services, the Human Resources function will still play a key role in ensuring that there is meaningful interaction between the business and the technology. Adoption of technology requires extensive change management – something that HR teams will have to facilitate by demonstrating skills such as negotiation, strategic planning, resource allocation as well as conflict management to address the adoption of these technologies. This serves as a great career path in Human Resources.
3. Driven by data
Human Resources teams employ a keen mix of data, behavioural science, organizational systems design, competency frameworks and performance data to both attract, develop and retain the best and brightest talent. Today, leadership development, succession planning, training and improving performance are all driven by data points, metrics, evidence and structured programs that help track returns on investment.
4. From Business to Career in Human Resources
If you’re wondering how to make a start in HR after never having worked here before, that’s not a problem! HR needs people who know the business. One of the biggest complaints business leaders used to have about HR teams was the fact that almost everyone in HR had never had any experience in any other departments. By bringing your experience from Sales, Marketing, Product Design, Finance or even IT, you bring valuable perspective for the business on what is actually needed for employees and you’ll be more successful in designing programs, policies, initiatives and addressing employee concerns if you’ve been-there-done-that!
5. Human Resources is a training ground for C-suite
A great example of this is Mary Barra, CEO of GM Motors who previously served as Global VP of Human Resources. Closer to home, Mohandas Pai stepped down after 12 years as CFO at Infosys to head the HR function. Whereas earlier, the progression of a career in Human Resources was thought to be capped at the CHRO level, today HR experience is seen as invaluable for CEOs. In fact, an HBR article also mapped and found that leadership styles, emotional traits and competencies of CEOs most closely matched those of CHROs, compared to any other chief executive.
If you needed further proof of why a career in HR is the best thing you could take up right now, LinkedIn lists People Management as one of the Top 5 most in-demand Hard Skills this year. There’s no better place to pick up those skills and understand the nuances than working in HR!
Interested in applying for positions in HR after reading this? Head to this link to apply for openings with Shortlist.