Human Resources as a career

What are some of the skills that a HR professional of today requires? Read on …

The human resource (HR) department has undergone a significant transformation over the years. Once restricted to keeping records, determining wages/compensations, and keeping an eye on whether the policies are being followed, the HR department has come a long way and now fosters employee engagement and capability enhancements to help organisations adapt to a constantly changing work environment and operate in a smooth manner.

The role of HR has evolved, from managing the employee life cycle to playing a significant role in strategic decision making. In order to become an integral part of the HR department, aspirants require thorough understanding of the employer’s business and the ability to creating a positive motivating work environment so that the employees stay with the company.

Career growth in HR

What are some of the most relevant skills that HR specialists should develop in order to survive and thrive in an organisation:

Specialised Skills: Every HR professional must have excellent communication, planning, problem-solving, and collaboration skills.

Education: A postgraduate degree/diploma in Human Resource Management is essential but a Master’s degree in Psychology or Organisational Behaviour helps enhance interpersonal interaction abilities.

Certification: HR certifications for professionals are testament to their specialised knowledge and skills. A range of dedicated online certification courses on HR analytics, compensation and benefits, line management, and more are available.

Functions and scope

The best HR departments are creating dedicated centres of excellence (COEs) in strategic areas, including organisational development, talent acquisition, and talent management. This is a diverse field and offers several options apart from hiring:

HR business partner function, management information system, compensation and benefits, and performance management

Employer branding has also gained momentum in the last decade to improve the employee value proposition and is a sought-after role.

Branding the organisation externally and internally with the best use of social media

Data literacy and building analytics are also critical areas.

Having a technology background can offer an edge as companies are using analytics to improve the decision-making process. The growing relevance of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning helps professionals collaborate seamlessly with machines.

The effects of uncertainty and market disruptions on employee well-being have made the role of counsellors crucial. Therefore, one with a background in psychology has become important.

Learning and enablement are proving to be the differentiators for a well-managed organisation. With a slew of new-age technologies, training as a function is also gaining significant popularity .

With the changing times, HR has undergone significant transformations to move beyond administrative functions into a range of diverse fields.

The writer is Senior Vice President, HR Operations, Newgen Software.

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