Why do you want to take up HR as your specialization?” the interviewer asked. “Because I enjoy being with people” I answered naively a few years back.
If you are one of those who has a similar answer in mind, firstly you are wrong, secondly, this post is for you. It is time for you to act in a sensible manner and know things which would not only help widen your horizons but also would give you more clarity on what you missed out on. Those considering, for an MBA-HR but are not sure what exactly it would entail, this post will help you get a basic understanding of HR.
What exactly an HR is? What comes with an HR specialization? Troubles my mind every time I tend to think of it
In a layman language, the process of hiring and developing employees so that they become more valuable to the organization is human resource management. HR is a huge domain and there are a lot of different roles. Either you start as a Generalist or a Specialist. As a Generalist, you get to handle some or all HR systems and processes of an organization, but as a specialist, you have extensive exposure in one of the HR system or processes.
I will put across you some jargon which every HRM post grad flaunts around. If you plan for a specialization, it becomes my responsibility to acquaint you with what you get to hear for the rest of your life.
Talent Acquisition: Talent acquisition comprises of creating a talent pool within the company. I l now tell you facts which no one does!
Initially, organizations undertake Workforce’s budgeting (done by HR along with other functions) to determine how many employees they would need the next year for the organization. During the year, manpower requests (candidates for a vacancy or a new job position) are sent by various departments to the HR. The HR then needs to source candidates for that request. The hiring then gets done through lateral sources or campus. HR then screens the various applications & conducts various rounds of assessments. Selection of prospective candidates is done after following up the screening process, after which he/she negotiates the salary to be offered.
Key Skills Needed: Communication, Negotiation, Persuasion, Networking Skills
Talent Management: It includes managing the talent pool in the company and encouraging them to achieve an organization’s goals. The subsystems and sub-processes involved are:-
Performance Management System: PMS is nothing but a mere effort by both an HR manager and an employee to work together to plan, monitor, and review an employee’s work objectives and overall contribution to the organization. HR has to continually follow up with the employees and ensure their KRAs ( Key Result Areas) and goals have been set after which he/she makes sure they get reviewed as per planned.
Compensation & Benefits/Payroll: Payroll is a collaborated effort of both finance and HR department to make sure- employees receive their salary on time. As an HR your role would be to benchmark how much would be paid to the candidate in consideration with:-
- The criticality of the position
- Market value of the position
Key Skills: Analytical Skills, Communication Skills
Learning and Development: Learning and Development nowadays have become a common activity among most of the organizations. At the end, an organization prospers because of the collective efforts of its workforce and hence leave no stone unturned on investing in their skills. The onus gets placed on the HR to drive this activity. As an HR your role would involve identifying the training needs, the programs needed, kind of trainers needed-external or internal.
Key Skills: Communication, Negotiation, Persuasion, Analytical
Industrial Relations: It is the time that I acquaint you with the non-glamourized yet challenging face of Human Resource. To begin with, An organization’s manufacturing processes get carried out in a plant. For that particular plant, IR becomes the management of human force involved over there. IR comes with hell many Labor Laws which need strict compliance. One day of the lockout or strike could cost millions to the company. Therefore Plant HR’s job is one of the most critical ones.
Key Skills: Communication (Especially the local language), Negotiation, Organizational
Workforce Analytics: This is the relatively new kid on the block. A lot of hype has been created around it and most organizations at least the ones who can afford are experimenting with it. HR decisions for the longest period have been based on assumptions or gut, but here comes the technology to capture data, so as to make data-driven HR decisions. If you have good data interpretation skills, enjoy statistics or have already worked in the data analysis field and now want to pursue HR this might be your thing.
To sum up, as an HR professional you would end up being both the good cop as well as the bad cop. In circumstances, you need to be warm and friendly but at times you stay stubborn as well.
To know if HR is your cup of tea, I would suggest you try your hands on it. You can try going for internships and I am sure you would explore much. Hope my little effort to share my HR experience with you would land you in a better position someday.
Some Frequently Asked Questions:
There is a common perception among many that HR is for women?
HR is not just for women, nor is IR just for men. Depending on your interest and capability you can succeed in any role you choose.
HR, as I have seen seems more of a desk job. Is it so?
No, it might not be so. Depending on your profile, you might end up traveling as much if not more so than marketing professionals.
What are some of the best B-schools for studying Human Resource Management?
XLRI, SCHMRD, TISS, MDI are some of the management schools well known for pursuing Human resource management.
About the Author: Shivani Sharma is an HR professional, who believes that “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients and your business”. An IMT Ghaziabad alumni, she is currently working with the Piramal Business group. She is passionate about understanding how human capital and technology can be leveraged to drive businesses. Apart from business and economy, she takes a keen interest in world politics and philosophy.