If employees are the lifeblood of a company, then the human resources department is the heart that keeps everything moving as it should.
Human resources professionals have a lot of responsibilities. Their primary goal of HR management is about improving and managing workplace productivity. That’s the bottom line, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Because for a company to be productive, its people need to feel supported and satisfied – and it’s up to the HR team to ensure that they do.
Human resources professionals are passionate, driven, open-minded, relish a challenge and enjoy working with people. If this sounds like you, then a career in HR management could be the perfect fit.
Read on to discover what in-demand skills are needed to work in HR, what jobs are available and why you should follow a career in this integral sector.
What is HR management?
The modern-day HR department doesn’t look the same as it did some twenty years ago. There’s been a bit of a HR revolution in recent times, as companies begin to realise the pivotal role a well-structured HR department plays.
Gone are the days where a human resources department was solely focused on administrative tasks. Today, HR management is also about attracting the best workers (and keeping them), employee rights and welfare and building a strong company culture the business can be proud of.
Some of the tasks and responsibilities HR management focuses on include:
- workplace culture
- employee benefits
- occupational health and safety
- policy administration
- performance management
- organisation development.
Depending on the size of the company, working in HR management might mean that you focus on just one of these areas, or your responsibilities cross over several areas.
The best reasons to study HR management
1. You’ll learn a diverse set of transferrable skills
The skills you learn by studying a HR course and working in HR can be easily transferred across to other roles. Having transferrable skills is incredibly beneficial, as it gives you the flexibility and freedom to pursue different career paths and makes you an invaluable asset to any organisation.
2. You’ll become an integral part of the business
The HR department is a pivotal part of any business. After all, effectively managing an entire company of people is no small task. Working in HR, you’ll be involved in everything from hiring new talent to organising team events.
You may also be involved in developing a human resources strategy. This describes a business’s plan in how it will manage its people. This establishes the framework for key areas in HR such as hiring, development, employee performance appraisal and workplace culture.
3. There are plenty of opportunities for growth
Every company in every industry needs human resources management. The larger the company, the more responsibility the HR department has.
Because there are so many areas that come under the jurisdiction of the HR department, this gives you the opportunity to focus on one particular area or several. This allows you to find what responsibilities you enjoy the most, so you can discover your niche and build your skills in that area. Alternatively, you could develop key skills in several areas and work your way towards the role of HR Manager, HR Director or Chief HR Officer.
4. You can enact real change
HR professionals can be advocates for employees and change. Working closely with other members and departments of the company means that you have a deep knowledge of how things work. This enables you to act as the bridge between employees and upper management, relaying employee concerns or questions and making sure their voices are heard.
What skills do you need to work in HR management?
In HR, you’re often the link between the employee and the business, and communication skills are critical. You’ll be interacting with people frequently, no matter what area you specialise in.
Administration and reporting
There are a lot of admin tasks that need to be fulfilled in HR. This includes things like payroll and leave, so you need to make sure that you’re focused and detail-orientated to avoid errors. And as technology evolves, HR departments are becoming more reliant on accurate, up-to-date data that can help
Interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence
Human resources involves dealing with – yep, that’s right – humans. Whether they’re employees of the business, part of the leadership team, government agencies or industrial unions, you need to know how to effectively deal with people to get results.
You may also be required to help new employees onboard, facilitating training programs, managing employees’ performance, resolving conflicts and dealing with complaints. All of these tasks and more will require top-notch interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence
Cultural understanding and sensitivity
One of the great things about working in HR is that you get to deal with a variety of different people every day. If you work for a large, international organisation, this means that you could be working with people in other countries. Whether people are based overseas or in the same location as you, you need to be aware of cultural differences and anything people could find discriminatory.
Cultural sensitivity on the whole is important, and it’s part of developing a strong and cohesive workplace culture – something else the HR team is involved in.
Teamwork and collaboration
Working in HR means that you’ll be dealing with lots of other departments within the company, as well as other members of the HR team. You need to be a strong team player and be able to see both the big picture and the small picture.
Career paths in HR management
Training and development
For many companies, the training and development of staff plays a crucial role in securing the business’s success. Training usually focuses on current employee need, such as needing to learn about safe cybersecurity practices. While development focuses on priming people for future responsibilities.
Compensation and benefits
Those who work in compensation and benefits are responsible for coming up with policies for a company’s salary, bonus and incentive schemes. This includes things like wages, bonuses, company cars, incentives and commission.
Recruitment and retention
There’s a lot of choice out there today for employees. So if you work in HR and specialise in recruitment and retention, it’s your responsibility to make sure that you’re attracting the right kind of talent to the business and holding onto it.
This involves analysing and forecasting workforce supply and demand to ensure the company has the people power to fulfil its business goals. This can be simplified as ‘right people, right skills, right time, right place’. The workforce planning area of HR helps the business make informed decisions about staffing.
Do I need a university degree to work in HR management?
You don’t need a university degree to work in HR management. In the world of HR, proving your skills and experience will often impress people more than a university degree.
However, to get your foot in the door a VET qualification could help you land a new job or a promotion. And if you’re aiming to become a Manager or a Chief Officer, it’s recommended that you obtain a qualification in human resources.
OC offers the BSB50618 Diploma of Human Resources Management as an online course, which means you can fit your study around your life’s other commitments. This course will help teach you the advanced skills needed to progress in HR. The Diploma of Human Resources Management also acts as a pathway into university if you’re considering further study.
What are you waiting for? Enrol today with Australia’s first distance education provider and discover how we can help you unlock your potential.