Whenever companies go for campus hiring, they hardly get many candidates opting for HR as a career. Many of such candidates carry the notion that HR is all about administrative, back-room work with no real rewards, learning, excitement or “kick”. They feel it is the preserve of people who couldn’t get into the mainstream functions, lack the ability to grow and are bereft of any ambition to drive “real” things in life. These individuals are sadly mistaken. They realize the hollowness of their perceptions when they enter a corporate set-up.
HR is no longer regarded as an administrative function. It is playing the role of a strategic business partner. Rather than a “Cost center”, HR function is evolving as a “Value creator”. No wonder, Business heads have HR Leaders as their “trusted ally” and get involved in all facets of organizational decision making. We also see experienced business managers wanting to have a stint in HR to develop a fuller perspective of people and fine-tune the art of managing and galvanizing them to drive business results.
Here are the five key reasons why anyone should chose an HR career:
- Drive the real competitive advantage– All tangible resources that an organization needs for running a business can be replicated easily, which also exhaust with their use, sooner than later. The real differentiators and “competitive advantage” for any business are its ‘people’. They have unlimited potential which keeps multiplying as one invests in it. HR career offers unique opportunity to work closely with wide cross-section of ‘people’ and influence the productivity, potential, motivation and retention of those who matter the most to the business. How many professions can you count where an individual has the opportunity to work from new hires to front-line managers, subject matter experts, to middle managers, leadership team and Board members?
- Industry agnostic: Every now and then, the economy passes through a cyclical process where certain sectors do not perform well while others keep flourishing. The industries that are not growing, usually come down heavily on people as cost-saving measures and hapless employees are ‘let-go’ without their real fault. People who have only industry-specific skills and are single-bread earners, find it difficult to handle such challenging situations. Enter the ‘world of HR’, where once you have developed the experience and essential skills that are transferable across industries, you can virtually carry them anywhere in the world. It enables an HR professional to maintain their relevance, employability and beat the tough times. This however does not come easy. An HR professional has to be constantly learning, evolving, networking and upskilling, if he/she wants to be in this advantageous situation.
- Big Picture Thinking– Most professionals in other functions, be it Operations, Finance, Sales, Administration, seem to have a view of ‘their part of the world’. There are very few who know the other side of the organization and are able to connect the dots. Again, compare an operations manager with 10+ years of experience and responsible for delivery of a particular project in one business vertical of an organization, with an HR Manager of similar 10 experience, who is an HR Business Partner either with the complete Business vertical or supports the entire organization’s leadership team in developing people strategies for achieving business success. The latter has visibility to goals and priorities of the business vertical and the larger organization, which he/she relates to the people dynamics, management principles, policies, practices and success stories to guide and support not only that operations manager, but so many others like him/her. They develop an understanding of the diverse moving parts of the organization and how they contribute to organization’s success. They help in putting place an organizational framework, develop people capabilities and prepare the organization for the future. The canvass to paint is simply very big for an HR professional.
- Helping Create a Unique Culture– One of the most important glue that binds the people within the organization is the culture. It is said that Culture defines the organization and sets it apart from others. But how is Culture shaped? Without doubt, it is the shared set of norms, values, practices, policies and processes, actions and inactions of the managers and leadership team etc. that shape the culture. Can we see a common thread among all these? Yes, it’s the people, who ‘incidentally’ also top the agenda for any HR department. While culture is certainly formed through shared perceptions and beliefs among majority of the people, HR professionals along with the leadership team plays a very decisive role in setting the right culture, aligning policies, processes and actions accordingly, and being the key custodians to institutionalize it across the organization.
- It’s Challenging– Just like the Companies and business models evolve, similarly, workforce also keeps evolving. Baby boomers are giving way to millennials who have completely different set of needs and expectations. A technology or a process, once mastered should ideally deliver predictable results all the time, however, it doesn’t happen that way. Reason is that “every human being is unique” and “it’s the person behind the machine who makes all the difference’. The human factor not only enhances potential of business for future growth, but also contributes to unpredictability and variability. We all know that performance, motivation, attendance, commitment, initiative, engagement and contribution levels of each human being is different. It is this diversity that adds complexity and challenges in the lives of HR professionals and make their learnings invaluable to any organization.