Work that involves recruitment, training and management of people in an enterprise - both employees and contractors.
Scope of Work
People working in human resources usually work in an administrative capacity. They work with people to ensure appropriate outcomes for both individuals and organisations.
Human resources employees help source new staff, by reviewing resumes, conducting interviews, and putting together recruitment packages. They may also negotiate with potential new hires. Human resource managers also deal with grievances, complaints, and general dispute resolution. Many HR professionals also manage continuing learning and professional training opportunities.
What You Need to Learn
- Project management - how to manage large scale projects, particularly when recruiting for a specific project or purpose
- People skills - how to engage and interact with people, particularly for dispute management and resolution; managing a team
- Administrative skills - meeting deadlines, paperwork, delegating, speaking with people
- Coaching - working through changes in personnel, helping with meeting professional development goals, working with higher ups to design workflows and well-integrated teams
- Writing and editing - creating and proofreading reports; effective written communication for dealing with staffing issues and grievances
- Non verbal language cues - reading a potential hire's body language, recognising how people interact
- Team work - collaborating with others, delegating, effective use of resources
- Organisation - managing different tasks, timely completion, working to deadlines
- Conflict management - discreetly managing complaints, staff grievances, working with clients/customers
- Influence and empathy - ability to listen to issues and concerns, and then use rapport to present reasonable solutions
- Problem solving - ability to assess problems and implement reasonable solutions
- Onboarding - having a strong onboarding process reduces employee turnover, reducing costs overall
Starting a Career
There are many pathways into working in the human resources field. The important thing is to develop your experience in working with people, communicating, and project management. Opportunities include:
- Coursework or other learning. Taking counselling and communications courses online, or reading relevant industry books, can help you get a sense of how to communicate effectively in a business environment. If you study counselling, you'll learn skills that will help with grievances, dispute resolution, and general mediation.
- Entry-level admin work. Developing administration skills is key. Entry-level work will help you learn the ropes and prove how flexible and adaptable you are to potential employers.
- Volunteering in project or event management. Many charitable and non-profit organisations need volunteers to help manage events and projects. Helping out will give you the chance to develop your skills, network, and learn tips and tricks on the job.
- Invest time in broadening your skill set and cultivating networks. Attend seminars, trade shows, and conferences, and make sure you stay up-to-date on trends and developments in HR.
Progressing a Career
Human resources is a broad field, with many opportunities. There are many pathways for advancing your career, especially if you invest time in furthering your learning. Opportunities include:
- Executive Business Coach -- working with existing executives to improve company outcomes and assess environments
- Consultant -- many corporations hire HR consultants to help improve productivity and run in-house training in speciality fields
- Trainer and Assessor -- delivering and assessing professional development work
- Project Manager
- Event Planner
Note that many of these roles can be undertaken as part of a company, or on your own. The skills you develop in HR are transferable -- you can move around different industries, or continue moving upward in the general business arena.