The human resources department is responsible for ensuring that a business has the best possible people to work and that their rights are protected and their benefits are successfully organised. Recruiters in human resources are searching for candidates to take care of all aspects of a business's functions such as employee relations and retention, applying and giving guidance on employment law, pay and benefits, health and safety, recruitment and training.
When you start your career in human resources you will be required to work a range of different jobs. You may be expected to partake in recruitment and be involved in taking on new employees, or working as a recruitment consultant for a recruitment agency and matching job hunters to their ideal position.
The role of the human resources professional is continuously evolving and has gone from being a support/administration role to a much more strategic position. Businesses realise that people strategies such as recruitment, employee retention, talent management and staff engagement are crucial to the overall success of a business. HR professionals are accountable for designing and delivering these strategies and ensuring they are suitably aligned with business objectives.
Qualifications and Skills
When considering a career in human resources, it is essential to have the correct skills to ensure you are successful. The Diploma of Human Resources Management (BSB50320) is designed to help you gain the skills and knowledge to secure an entry level position in this exciting field.
If you are looking to start your career in human resources you will require a set of crucial and integral skills that will include:
- First class communication and interpersonal skills such as empathy, sensitivity, understanding and discretion.
- The capacity to get on well with a range of different people and work well within a team.
- Strong organisational and administrative skills.
- Exceptional time management, adaptability and flexibility.
- Strong IT skills, especially if you are interested in training as this will require new software.
- Data, numeracy, financial skills and budgetary control.
Demonstrating your commitment to the industry will be evident if you choose to study. Some employers may even encourage you to study part time to gain the necessary skills needed to excel in the industry. Work experience is highly regarded in human resources, especially if you specialise in a relevant area. Any role within human resources can provide you with useful experience, particularly if you use the opportunity to observe people’s interactions, as a great understanding of human behaviour is crucial for HR roles.
When preparing for an interview, the questions will most likely be designed to find out about your interpersonal and team skills, be prepared to give examples to back up your claims. You may be required to have one or more interviews, however formal assessments are usually uncommon. A career in HR is highly competitive, so be prepared to start at the bottom of the ladder in an entry level role.
When applying for an HR role, you will need to highlight how you differentiate yourself from the rest of the competition. It is highly common to gain experience from another office role, such as administration or a secretary role before you can progress to a position in human resources. Lateral moves into the sector are quite common. You can improve your chances in the industry you need to keep up to date with the current trends and practices in the sector.
Many human resources professionals work across many different sectors while others specialise in certain areas. A small company may only require one personnel manager who is able to oversee all areas. Although, if you work for a large organisation with a large HR department your expected areas of work may include:
- Employee Relations:
Designing and implementing policies to balance the needs of employees and management in terms of working conditions, equal opportunities and grievance procedures etc. The main idea is to make employees happy so they will work hard, therefore increasing productivity, efficiency and profitability.
Working in recruitment will require the overseeing of the entire recruitment process, from finding potential candidates to recruiting new employees. Duties can include writing job descriptions, advertising for staff, analysing applications, holding interviews and assessments, helping select candidates and issuing contracts.
- Training and Development:
Coordinating external training and delivering and organising internal training sessions, as well as running induction schemes for new employees.
- Employment Law:
Understanding the laws relating to employment and providing advice and guidance to employees and the business. Ensuring equal opportunities legislation is followed during recruitment processes, understanding the laws around unfair dismissal and providing advice to employees regarding harassment, maternity leave and work-related benefits.
- Health and Safety:
Looking after the physical and mental health of employees. This role requires providing support during illness or time of stress and preventing injury by implementing rules for heavy lifting and providing other advice to maintain a safe, risk free workplace.
- Pay and Benefits:
Developing a businesses salary structure, including superannuation, bonuses, managing payroll and negotiating salary increases. This also includes the arranging, overseeing and giving guidance and advice on a range of benefits including annual leave, pensions, health insurance and loans.
It is important to remember that the responsibility for progress rests largely with you to take ownership of your career. If you ensure you are extremely proactive when it comes to networking, sharing experiences and knowledge, others will notice this. It is highly important for HR professionals to gain as much experience as possible outside the restrictions of their field and make a strong effort to understand the wider business implications.
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