When people hear the words Human Resources (HR), they generally think of hiring and firing. It’s a common misconception. But, a career in HR is so much more than that. It’s as challenging as it is rewarding, and each day is as diverse as the next.
So, whether you’re looking to start a career in HR or you’re already in the industry and want to learn new skills, here’s what you can expect.
Not just hiring and firing
As a HR professional, you’re adding value to the business, not only through sourcing and recruiting the best talent, but by supporting employees, creating a great employee culture and looking at ways to make a positive difference in the workplace.
“The employees are your customers,” says Open Colleges People & Culture Business Partner, Elyse Fowler.
“It’s all about supporting them, and that’s why I love working in HR. You can make a positive difference to employees lives through coaching and advising leaders in the business on how to better support them and contributing to company-wide initiatives that drive employee engagement and collaboration.”
It’s an exciting profession, where no two days are the same. You will be given the chance to learn a lot of different skills that will serve you well in a business environment.
“Starting out in HR, you could be working on everything from organising and maintaining personnel records; to preparing HR documents like employee contracts and letters; supporting with recruitment; coordinating orientation and inductions for new starters; answering general enquiries about payroll and employee relations; doing exit interviews; supporting the HR team with projects and company-wide initiatives; along with managing employee programs,” says Elyse.
People skills are a must
So, given the diverse nature of the role, what sort of skills and attributes are valued as a HR professional?
According to Open Colleges People & Culture Administrator, Mal Jayaratne, because you’re working with so many different people across diverse roles and teams, it’s important to have a high degree of patience, empathy, resilience and above all, strong communication skills.
HR touches all parts of an organisation and is central to supporting and driving change initiatives in the company, and ensuring they are effectively communicated. For that, you need excellent organisational skills, communication skills, and the ability to build relationships, says Elyse.
A stable career prospect with plenty of opportunity
HR is a very stable profession. Almost every business will need or require a HR department at some point!
According to Job Outlook, over the next five years, the number of HR professionals is expected to grow from 63,400 in 2017 to 66,600 by 2022. There are likely to be around 53,000 job openings over this time from workers leaving and new jobs being created.
If you’re considering a career in HR, there are many different pathways you can take. A perfect starting point is the Certificate IV in Human Resources. You will learn relevant industry skills related to staff recruitment, performance management and industrial relations. You’ll also learn how to establish effective workplace relationships, conduct research and analysis and understand workplace health and safety checks. It’s the perfect introduction to HR.
If you already have a bit of experience under your belt and want to pick up some new skills and take your career to the next level, the Diploma of Human Resources Management will give you the skills required to move into a management role. It covers areas including industrial relations, talent management, succession planning and implementing diversity and inclusion programs.