If you are interested in working in the field of human resources, you have chosen wisely. Human resources professionals are needed in nearly every business, regardless of business type. The people working for a business are that business’ greatest asset, and that is why more work places than ever are making it a point to have a good, strong human resources department. If you are the type of person who feels like you can effectively recruit, screen, interview and place workers, chances are somebody out there wants to hire you.
Maybe you are not quite sure what the job will entail though. Maybe you have had someone tell you that “You should work in HR,” and you have not quite understood what that means for you and your career. In this guide, we will be looking at some of the basic functions and responsibilities of a Human Resources professional, and from there, you can decide if this career path feels like a good fit for you.
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What Does Human Resources Mean?
Speaking in literal terms, “Human Resources” is the workforce of a given company. Other terms you may have heard include “Man Power” and “Personnel”. Businesses need workers if they are going to succeed, and therefore, those workers are looked at as a “resource”. Now obviously, that term sounds a little cold and mechanical. People do not like to be thought of as capital or as commodities, because that seems impersonal. It does not take into account their individual needs, backgrounds and feelings. It is for this very reason that Human Resources jobs were created.
The fact of the matter is that employees are extremely valuable to a company. It is the job of a Human Resources professional to manage and maintain those employees, and to make sure they are as happy and productive as they can be while working there. Businesses are willing to invest a lot of money into the people they hire, because those same people will, in turn, help the business thrive. Having a department dedicated to retaining those employees is where you come in.
What Do Human Resources Professionals Do?
You have probably heard the term “HR” thrown around in response to several different types of situations. Perhaps it was a conflict between employees, an issue with office rules, or even something having to do with salary. The bottom line is that Human Resources professionals are there to help. While the CEO was hired to make the business profitable and successful, and the marketing director was hired to get the business name out in the public spotlight, the Human Resources manager was hired to keep things moving by making sure every employee has what he or she needs.
One of the most important aspects of the HR department is that of hiring new employees. Whenever there is a job opening, the HR department is in charge of recruiting, vetting, interviewing and hiring whomever is the best fit for the company. This is a huge responsibility considering how much money most companies pour into the process of training someone new. If someone gets hired, but then decides the job is not for them after a month or two, that is seen as lost time, lost money and lost potential. That is why so many companies see the value in the HR department. Professionals who can suss out the best fit for a given job are worth their weight in gold.
Another frequently cited reason for visiting the HR department is conflict resolution. When you have employees from different backgrounds, cultures and ages all coming together for 8 hours every day, there is bound to be disagreement some time. Helping employees by mediating conflict, and guiding them towards an amicable resolution is so important. Happy workers are productive workers, so keeping everyone happy is a big part of the job.
Sometimes, employees may need help with their work/life balance, and that is another area in which the HR department can be of considerable help. Working parents, employees attending training or school, and unexpected illness or emergencies can all lead to unforeseen difficulties for employees. Coming up with ways for employees to work staggered shifts, or to work outside normal hours, or to work from home can mean a lot in terms of employee retention and morale. Being able to effectively plan for, and accommodate all different life scenarios will lead to a better overall work environment for everyone.
Most of all, being a good listener will make sure that your employees feel important to the company and to you. When people feel valued, they feel motivated, and that is part of what makes jobs in the HR sector so valuable.
How Can I Make Sure I Am Ready For This?
A great way to begin working your way towards a job in Human Resources is to simply let your current employer know that you are interested. Ask them what they would require of you before you might be considered for the job, and take their recommendations to heart. There may be opportunities for you to shadow someone in order to get on the job exposure to the position, or you may be able to begin the interview process.
Of course, there are always tricks you can employ to help make sure your interview goes as well as it possibly can. Taking a little time to prepare ahead of time can make a world of difference. Ask questions, research whenever possible, and just generally make it known that you are ready for this new position.
Most of all however, just be sincere. Sincerity is actually a terrific trait to have if you are going to be working with lots of different people. The company will be sending people to you when they are in need, so you should demonstrate that you can be there for them. Show that you are the kind of person who can handle that work load gracefully, and you will be more likely to land the job. Good luck!