- Naipal Singh
The Human Resource Management Department is known to be the heart of an organization. The HR manager plays a key role in any well established organization. This field is in the developing stage and is still facing challenges for its recognition in contribution to the business. This profession like other professions, need to be managed by professionals who play a crucial role in the growth of the organization and individuals. In the days of financial crisis and tight job market, HR profession is considered an important field. It takes responsibility to provide the human resources and becomes the strategic business partner in accomplishing the corporate goals. In the era of information technology, public sector and private sector companies have been focusing on this discipline and paying more to meet the challenges of an open market. At the strategic level the main function of HR is to develop the balancing act in the growth of the business of the company and its human capital. The HR function works like a catalyst in the organization. HR professionals act in the organization as a middleware between the management and the employees. The objective of HR professionals is to develop a positive and healthy working environment to increase the productivity and job satisfaction among the employees.
Functional Areas of Work
The main areas of work in HR function are:
- Recruitment and Selection: Involves preparing job descriptions, attracting people with right qualifications and skills, with right mind set and attitude.
- Manpower Planning: Assessing the present and future manpower requirements in the organization, succession planning and career planning. This area is very important in which the future strength of the an organization lies.
- Human Resource Administration: Defining organization’s HR policies and procedures and implementation thereof
- Compensation and Benefits: Determining salary structures, employee perquisites etc, covers health, security, safety, terminal benefits, and employee welfare facilities. This area is very important for retaining the talent in organization.
- Industrial Relations: Promoting healthy relationship between management and employees associations, addressing employees’ concerns, taking care of legal issues in the labour courts / labour commissioners.
- Training and Development: Arranging employee orientation programmes and providing technical skills and behavioral training to employees for effective performance. This area is very important for career progression of an individual in the organization.
- Performance Appraisal: Reviewing performance appraisal system of the employees from time to time using the assessment information for the purpose of trainings, promotions, and incentives etc. Using right tools & techniques to measure the performance of the employees in order to develop the sense of confidence in the employees and bring transparency in the system.
Beyond these regular roles, HR function in an organization is now actively involved in issues like talent management, initiatives to retain the talent, building brand image, improving work culture and transforming learning and managing within the organization.
Acquiring Profes-sional Qualifi-cations / Courses
After completion of undergraduate course in any discipline, a postgraduate qualification in Human Resource / Personnel Management discipline is required for pursuing a career in HR profession. To get admission in PG course one has to undertake the entrance exam like CAT, MAT etc which follows Group Discussion & Personal Interview. These days Master of Business Administration (MBA) has become the most sought after qualification. Various specializations are offered in MBA or post graduate Diploma courses in Management of which HR/Personnel/IR is also one. Specific Postgraduate management courses in HR or Personnel Management are like MBA (HR). A post graduation qualification in social work or industrial psychology may also help in building up a career in HR. In some of the organizations a degree in law combined with a post graduate qualification in HR is considered as an additional advantage. In the last few years many institutions /universities offering Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) or Bachelor of Business Management (BBM) courses in which HR is also taught. But these graduate degree qualifications are not considered sufficient to build a career in HR. The graduate degree courses should be followed by a post graduate qualification for two year regular / three year part time management courses. A diploma / degree course in HR with duration of two years is required to make the career in HR profession. Several institutes / universities offer the courses in HR, on regular basis for two years and on part –time / distance based education for three years. The part time or distance education courses are preferred by working employees , obtaining these qualifications has some advantages to the working employees like weightage in promotion, additional increments, career growth etc. it also varies from organization to organization. The degree in Law is also preferred in the HR profession along with the post graduate degree / diploma in HR/PM/IR and has some added advantage in building high end career in HR profession. As a matter of fact some public sector undertakings insist on a two years full time qualification for HR openings with them. After having postgraduate diploma /degree in HR/Personnel Management/IR one can enhance his skills in the specific areas of work in HR like possessing Diploma in Training & Development.
In HR profession you may have a career that offers good working conditions, excellent remuneration, good career growth opportunities and rewarding work. Every large and medium size organization keeps a fully functional HRM/HRD/Personnel department managed by HR professionals. With adequate qualification in HR you may be part of such a team. Public Sector companies recruit Executive / Management Trainees in various management fields at entry level in the organization in Executive cadre for grooming them into professional managers. This includes management trainees in HR as well. In public sector banks HR professionals are recruited as specialist officers in Junior Management Grade Scale-I. The Public Sector Banks (PSBs) have the huge potential/scope for HR professionals. The HR profession is still fighting for its proper recognition in the banking industry whereas it is well established in PSUs and now the PSUs are reaping the fruits by sowing the seeds well in advance.
Those interested in a career in consulting may join a management consultant or HR consultancy firm or a freelancer consultancy. There are a number of placement and recruitment agencies which offer good opportunities for HR professionals. Here the job would be to understand manpower requirements of organizations and finding suitable candidates matching these requirements. Such search agencies operate at regional, national and global levels. A career in job portals may also be explored.
If you are academically inclined there are opportunities to teach HR related subjects at universities, colleges and management institutes. You may pursue a research oriented career as well. Trainees in HR subjects are in great demand. Their role is considered important in making employees motivated, developing managerial and leadership competencies and teaching soft skills like communication, business etiquettes etc. A trainee may freelance or may join some training agency. With knowledge, experience and expertise in HR one may work as a coach, mentor or counsellor also. In social and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), there is a good demand for HR professionals. Software companies are in need of HR domain experts. Thus job opportunities for HR professionals are varied and exciting. HR is a key component of an organization’s senior and top management team. No corporate policy can be complete without contribution from HR. The strategic HR plays a very important role in strategic alliances at corporate levels and in mergers & acquisitions.
Apart from professional qualifications some extra skills can help a person to be successful in HR functions. The HR professional should have three qualities 1) a good human being, 2) a good citizen of the country and 3) a good leader. An HR professional should be a good listener and a good decision maker.
Possessing excellent communication and interpersonal skills can help in interaction with the people and solve their problems easily and boosting the morale of employees. Being a good judge of competencies and personalities certainly helps, especially during recruitment and promotion processes. Ability to work under pressure is also a requirement. An HR professional should understand the demands of the organization and be able to anticipate the future requirements to formulate policies for short and long term. An HR professional is expected to have an eye for details and also the ability of understanding the big picture.
The institutions for getting a post graduate qualification in HR include Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI), Jamshedpur; IIMs; Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), Mumbai; Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon; Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Delhi University; ICFAI; IMT, Ghaziabad and universities like Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra; Guru Jambheshwar University, Hisar; Aligarh University, Aligarh; GNB Garhwal University, Srinagar (UK); Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidayala, Haridwar; Lucknow University, Lucknow and many more universities offer MBA in HR discipline. Research studies in HR subjects can be pursued at IIMs as well as in other universities/ institutes. IGNOU, New Delhi, Sikkim Manipal University, Symbiosis Management Institute, Pune and several other universities /institutes are offering MBA under distance learning mode.
(The author is Personnel Officer with the Oriental Bank of Commerce, HRD Deptt., Head Office, New Delhi, E-mail id : firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com)