I Want to Work in ...... HR (Personnel Management)

 

Human Resource Management (HRM), also known as Personnel Management, is not social work!

How to select the right person for the right job

Put one hundred bricks in a ten by ten rectangle on the floor of a closed room with an open window. Then send two candidates into the room and close the door.

Leave them undisturbed in the room for two hours, then go back into the room to analyse the situation. 

  • If they are counting the bricks, assign them to the Accounts Department.
  • If they are recounting them, assign them to Auditing.
  • If they have messed up the whole place with the bricks, assign them to Engineering.
  • If they are arranging the bricks in some strange order, assign them to Planning.
  • If they are throwing the bricks at each other, assign them to Operations.
  • If they are sleeping, assign them to Security.
  • If they have broken the bricks into pieces, assign them to MIS / Information Technology.
  • If they are sitting idle, assign them to HR.
  • If they say they have tried different combinations, but few bricks have been moved, assign them to Sales.
  • If they have already left for the day, assign them to Marketing.
  • If they are staring out of the open window, assign them to Strategic Planning.
  • If they have thrown all the bricks out the window, assign them to Business Process Re-engineering.

And then last but not least, if they are gossiping with each other and not a single brick has been moved, congratulate them and assign them to Senior Management.

There are three main routes for graduates into HRM:

 

Employers: any employer with a sufficient number of employees to justify a specialist personnel section may employ HR managers: e.g. manufacturing or service industries; local government; health authorities; universities and colleges; commercial organisations.

Experience relevant to personnel work can also be gained in other related fields, particularly retail management and recruitment consultancy.

Qualities required include good communication and negotiating skills; persistence, tact, self-reliance and patience, some analytical and numerical ability and commercial awareness.

Competition for vacancies in HRM is invariably keen and applicants therefore need to be strongly motivated towards this work; to demonstrate that they have considered what the work is likely to involve and whether they are personally suited. Try to shadow a personnel manager, get office experience.

According to the Frazer Jones Global HR Workstyle Report the UK has the best work/life balance compared to other countries with 77% saying they are happy with their work/life balance. 93% of respondents are satisfied to be working in HR, and 72% would select HR as their chosen career if they started again.

The UK, is however, the least content with their work. 13% said their job satisfaction was poor or very poor: the highest of the regions surveyed. Only 44% of UK respondents believe the function is exceptionally or highly valued, while 13% feel it is not valued at all.

Large amounts of applications but many of poor quality

The Graduate Recruitment Insights 2014 report found that HR had the worst application to hire ratio of any main graduate job function. On average HR sees 277 graduates apply for every position.

This huge amount of applications for a small amount of posts can make it difficult to select. A lot of companies struggle to recruit good staff as it is seen as an easy option by those with non-vocational degrees or who have done limited research with crude statements such as: ‘I want to work in HR because I am like working with people’ common.

PROFILE: Personnel Manager

INVOLVES: organisation & manpower planning, recruitment & selection, disciplinary grievance & appeals, termination of employment, training, management development, Industrial relations, contracts of employment & job descriptions/evaluations, payroll/database management, employee services administration, welfare/sickness absence management/ maternity/special leave.
EMPLOYERS: Any employer with a sufficient number of employees to justify a specialist personnel section: e.g. manufacturing or service industries; local government; health authorities; universities & colleges; commercial organisations. Experience relevant to personnel work can also be gained in other related fields, particularly retail management & banking.
RELATED JOBS: human resource management; industrial relations officer; training officer.
SATISFACTIONS: High people contact; variety; seeing the human resource used effectively.
NEGATIVES: Administration & paperwork. Not always valued at corporate level. Outcomes can be difficult to measure i.e. employee effectiveness.
SKILLS: written communication, negotiating, cooperating, listening, persistence, tact, self-reliance & patience. Analytical & numerical ability.
ADVANCEMENT: Trainee Personnel Officer, Personnel Officer, Personnel Manager, Deputy Director of Personnel, Director of Personnel. Mobility will ease your career path.
POSTGRADUATE STUDY: Any degree subject is acceptable. Law, psychology, business studies, industrial relations & related degrees may be helpful.
POSTGRADUATE STUDY: Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development qualifications may be obtained through part-time study or through a one-year postgraduate diploma course which gives exemption from the first two stages of the Institute's exams.
VACANCY SOURCES: Personnel Management Magazine
TIPS: Contact company personnel departments, offer to do vacation work, don't be afraid to take a low paid first job. Competition for jobs in personnel is invariably keen & applicants must be strongly motivated towards this work; to demonstrate that they have considered what the work is likely to involve & whether they are personally suited.

 

PROFILE: Equal Opportunities Officer

INVOLVES: Assessing & implementing the equal opportunities policy of the employing organisation. Conducting case work, chairing & attending meetings, providing guidance to groups or individuals.
EMPLOYERS: Very large organisations, especially, but not exclusively, within the public sector. For example, local government, the BBC, universities.
RELATED JOBS: personnel officer, training & development officer, recruitment consultant, occupational psychologist.
SATISFACTIONS: Involvement in senior policy implementation. At cutting edge of employer/institutional change. Working with a wide range of other staff.
NEGATIVES: Negative attitude from other employees, Difficulties & challenges met when effecting change.
SKILLS: organising, leading, negotiating, persuading.
ADVANCEMENT: From Personnel Assistant/Trainee to Equal Opportunities Officer to Personnel/HR Manager.
DEGREE: Any degree - Industrial Relations/Human Resources Management & Psychology in particular.
POSTGRADUATE STUDY: CIPD qualification recommended.
VACANCY SOURCES: Personnel Today, Times Higher Education Supplement, Guardian (Tues, Wed.)
TIPS: Entry advisable either with exemption from all/part of CIPD qualification or into junior Personnel position. Graduate management training schemes in Personnel are hard to get, but a very good route in.
Profile: Equality and diversity officer www.prospects.ac.uk/equality_and_diversity_officer.htm

 

PROFILE: Training Manager

INVOLVES: Training in people management skills at all levels, training, planning & designing training courses & programmes. Developing trainees.
EMPLOYERS: Usually larger organisations in all areas - manufacturing, commerce, finance, retail & the public sector.
RELATED JOBS: teaching, personnel management.
SATISFACTIONS: Watching people develop; being able to use your own creativity
NEGATIVES: Fighting the perception of training - a ‘nice to have not need to have’ mentality - totally erroneous.
SKILLS: planning & organising, cooperating, verbal communication.
ADVANCEMENT: May need to move into personnel at some stage otherwise may have limited career options. Possible to become a freelance training consultant after building up sufficient experience.
DEGREE: Any degree subject but business studies, psychology & education especially relevant.
POSTGRADUATE STUDY: None required but personnel, training or teaching qualification useful.
VACANCY SOURCES: IPD Magazine - People Management, Personnel Today
TIPS: Apply as a generalist for personnel. Common sense & lack of arrogance a must!

 

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Last fully revised 2013