Career in Human Resource Management

If you are attracted to the challenge of handling a diversity of people, excited to grab a chance of interacting with them, adept at gauging their psyche and potential, flexible in adapting to changing situations and efficient in multi – tasking, then Human Resource Management or Personnel Management is the right profession for you to successfully harness this potential.

In a technology – driven, fiercely competitive, dynamic and globalised business environment of the 21st century, providing, managing and retaining a quality work force to a corporate organization is a formidably multifaceted task that an HR professional accomplishes. Moreover, with the businesses growing by gallops across the globe and demand for seasoned HR professionals soaring high, this career has become lucrative and rewarding as handsome monetary returns are commensurate with the stimulating challenges.

Human Resource Management or Personnel Management implies the management of human resource or labour, an important input or factor of any organization or industry, apart from land and capital. The role of an HR professional involves optimally harnessing and utilizing the full potential and productivity of the manpower to the best advantage of the industry.

Human Resource Management has eventful history of change in nomenclature and nature of functions. It was known as Labour Welfare or Employee Welfare during pre – independence and immediate post independence era. In the wake of subsequent industrialization, the field grew with the influx of new inputs and technology and came to be renamed as Industrial Relations / IR in our socialism – oriental mixed economy, run by Five – Year Plans.

With the liberalization of Indian Economy after 1991 and its entry in integrated world order of competitive economics under the aegis of globalization, private sector expanded at an exponential pace. Business from foreign shores infiltrated through our porous economic frontiers, new industries cropped up and older ones caught up with the pace of development.

Commensurately, infused with greater knowledge and newer skills, HR was recast in the mould of a more reactive and proactive management from the former purely administrative one and acquired its current name. HR manager’s multifarious functions broadly include recruiting the right personnel, training them, providing them adequate remuneration.

As the pivot of the recruitment process, he / she puts advertisements for job opportunities, screens resumes for shortlisting potentially right candidates, conducts interviews for selecting those with qualifications suiting the work profile and prepares offer letters specifying the terms and conditions of employment.

An HR manager has to be conversant with preparing training programmes in consonance with the specific needs of the company and the job up to the six Sigma Level, currently followed by most companies. More importantly, he / she has to undertake the mammoth task of managing employees with diverse backgrounds, skill – sets and personalities by understanding their psyche, temper and professional conduct.

He / she has to devise strategies for realizing the full potential of manpower, like providing them with offers, compensation packages like esops, promotions, job change, rewards, incentives etc. Such efforts are also meant to retain employees, promote their talents, further their motivation and ensure their satisfaction. An HR manager has to be an excellent communicator to be understood well by the employees and to understand and empathise with their grievances, opinions and needs.

Further, he / she has to effectively redress their grievances, and complaints and negotiate with the management and employees for an acceptable solution, in accordance with the labour laws and stipulations of agreements between company and employees. Besides, they are engaged with sundry administrative jobs like maintaining employees records, payroll processing, calculating bonus, leave, etc. Corporate world, though ruthlessly competitive, has to be socially responsible by helping in the socio – economic progress of underprivileged or underdeveloped sections and promoting the general well – being.

Here comes the concept of Corporate Socio – responsibility which HR manager shoulders. Besides maintaining cordial relations between employees and management, she / he has to society, by preparing and implementing programs of social welfare like providing education, healthcare and civic amenities to a village.

This implies undertaking the construction of schools for children, or imparting professional training to the rural unemployed youth, opening charitable dispensaries for the treatment and medication of the diseased, laying roads, or arranging for sewage system, etc. The HR division thus plays active role in this area.

In such a multi – faceted professional capacity, an HR manager thus acts as a strategic partner and a vital asset to the industry he is associate with. He / she has to be abreast of the developments in the organizations in particular and the business environment in general. He / she also acts as the agent of change, staying alert to the changes in the organisation or the business environment and assiduously responding to them by making suitable customisations in the recruitment process and acclimatizing the employees to these changes.

Finally, he / she acts as an advocate of employees by effectively addressing their grievances, needs and concerns. Of late, IT (Information Technology) has been instrumental in facilitating and qualitatively improving the efficiency of the functions of HR. It has fully computerized the entire gamut of HR functions. HR info – system software packages have ensured the proper storage of the vast database of an organisation’s manpower in a computer system, which can be instantly accessed with the click of a mouse.

This has rendered the extraction of data of employees easy and effortless, so that the information can aid the HR manager to assess the relative work efficiency of employees and the need for training an employee to improve certain skills. Automation of routine functions like payroll processing has spared the HR professional from the drudgery of repetitive administration jobs like payroll, gratuity, leave, etc. Therefore, given the sea change brought about in the HR functions by the rapid strides in IT, being computer savvy is the key to successful multi – tasking in HR.

Eligibility :

The requisite qualification for embarking on the career as HR Executive / Management Trainee is an MBA degree or an MA in HR. An undergraduate with 50% marks is eligible for admission to such courses. The selection is based on their ranking in specific entrance examination of the Universities or in CAT.

Aptitude :

A keen aspirant to a career in Human Resource Management should cultivate certain soft skills, attitude and attributes befitting a competent HR professional. They include commitment to hard work, capacity to lead and manage groups and teams, and command over excellent communication skills. Ability to patiently interact with and deftly handle people will stand one in good stead in this profession.

Willingness and efficiency in strenuous multi – tasking is also imperative for undertaking this demanding job. A general informed interest in the economic and business affairs is an added advantage, as it will help one to develop the acumen to gauge the required skills – sets of an organisation’s prospective task force.

Human Resource Management Courses :

A two – year MBA or PG in HR is offered by some institutions like TISS ( Mumbai ), XLRI ( Jamshedpur ), Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies ( Mumbai ), Symbiosis Institute of Business Management ( Pune ), TAPMI – Manipal ( Karnataka ) and the IIMs.

An MBA course not only covers the core subjects of management like accounting, finance, communication skills, marketing, public relations, TQM, but also includes papers in HR management like performance management, training and development, compensation and benefits, labour laws and employees welfare, recruitment and selection, HR audit, etc.

Moreover, some HR super speciality courses have topics like competency mapping, train the trainer, personal growth lab, and data analysis and computational skills. Training in workshops, personal growth labs and outbound programs conducted by management colleges imparts knowledge of organizational behaviour and psychology, communication skills, managerial qualities and proficiency in computers to students.

Prospects :

Armed with a professional degree in HR, one can get abundant job opportunities in a plethora of industries in both private and public sectors like Manufacturing, Automobile, Electronics, Telecommunications, FMCG Industries, Steel, Cement, Fertilizer, Heavy Industry, Software, Banking, Finance, Transport, etc.

In this intensely competitive corporate world, any variation in the productivity level of man power can affect the goals of the business. Hence management of the labour force is vital to the creditable functioning of an organization. Profitable, fruitful and fulfilling careers await young and dynamic MBAs and Postgraduates in HR, as good HR professionals are in perpetual demand. The ambit of employment prospects of HR spreads beyond the industry to include the roles of teacher, consultant and researcher.

Remuneration :

Remuneration of an HR professional is variable in different corporate organizations. Generally, the starting salary of an HR Executive / Management Trainee is around Rupee 2 lakhs per annum.

This can rise to Rupee 5 lakhs per annum as one climbs the corporate ladder to reach middle management level in about 10 years and the position of Vice President – HR and General Manager HR in about 10 – 15 Years.

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