Human resources professionals serve a very important purpose in the business landscape, and any business could benefit greatly from having an HR professional on their team. Not only do HR professionals have to deal with business, strategy, planning, and development, but they also play an important role in conflict resolution and promoting company values.
At the end of the day, employees are people with human emotions. There are situations that need to be handled by someone who is emotionally aware and understands all workplace contracts, regulations, and rules.
The role of an HR professional
The role of an HR professional has changed drastically in the last decade or so. These professionals need to keep up with all current business trends and demands in order to offer a comprehensive and satisfying service. While each business model will require some sort of flexibility in the roles of an HR professional, the general roles and responsibilities of an HR professional include:
- Promoting change within a business- an HR professional should have the insight and ability to assess strengths and weaknesses within a business and come up with strategies that develop certain capabilities while making the most of dormant skills within your team.
- Hiring new staff members- HR professionals are often involved in hiring new staff members, ensuring that they meet the stipulated criteria, and ensuring that they’d be a good fit for the business’s specific environment.
- Employee advocate- listening to employee problems, understanding their point of view, and acting as a medium between management and employees. HR professionals should be able to deal with employee issues in a delicate manner.
- Promoting workplace values- when there are many different types of people working together, it’s important that they share the same workplace values in order to work towards a common goal and avoid issues as much as possible. It is the job of an HR professional to promote company values.
- Skill development- in order to safeguard the future of the company, HR professionals need to focus on developing the skills of the employees to ensure that they’ll still be relevant within the company in the long run.
- Finding solutions to problems- as a functional expert, HR professionals assist in pinpointing structural issues within a business and finding innovative and effective solutions to them by using their knowledge, skills, and background.
- Strategic partner- HR professionals work very closely with management with creating plans to reach goals and advising leaders about what needs to be done in order to achieve these goals.
- HR Leadership- HR leaders are HR professionals that lead the HR teams. Their roles are very much the same but are considered to be amplified in terms of responsibility and management.
- Change in regulations- when new workplace regulations and contracts take place, HR professionals are often heavily involved in this process as they have value to add in terms of employee advocacy and benefits to the company.
- Handling disputes- Unfortunately, disputes in the workplace are quite a common occurrence. Handling disputes, and acting as a mediator, is often the job of the HR professional within a business.
As you can probably gather, it is very difficult to pinpoint the concise roles and responsibilities of an HR professional, as their skills and abilities make them useful in a myriad of different ways within a company structure. The roles of an HR professional are many and diverse!
What qualifications does someone need in order to call themselves an HR professional?
Whether you are looking to hire someone in HR, or you’re looking to become an HR professional yourself, it is very important to take qualifications seriously. There is a lot of competition in the field of HR, and the right qualification could make or break a career.
The qualifications that are required for HR professionals will differ from company to company and from position to position. For example, there are entry-level HR assistant jobs that only require a handful of GSCEs. For more important HR roles, you will most likely be expected to have some sort of degree in HR management. Degrees in business and psychology are highly advantageous but often not a prerequisite.
Those who are looking to one day hold a senior Human Resources role should seriously consider getting accredited professional qualification from the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development. A qualification from the CIPD will show that you are completely up to date with all of the latest HR developments and procedures.
In addition to qualifications, what many business owners are looking for from potential candidates is experience. An HR professional with impressive and successful levels of experience in the field is sure to add value to any team and is therefore highly sought after.
Another very important factor that adds value to an HR professional’s qualifications is your personal skill set and attitude. Most employers are on the lookout for an HR professional that will be a good fit within the company. The more personable you are and the more personal skills you show, the better your chances are of getting hired.
The qualities of a good HR professional
There are certain personal qualities and skills that are very advantageous when it comes to working in the field of HR. Just because a person doesn’t inherently possess these skills doesn’t mean that they can’t develop them over time.
- Flexibility- Flexibility is a very important quality of any HR professional. They’ll most likely need to manage multiple tasks and projects at one time and be able to quickly decide where they’d make themselves most useful at any given time.
- Good listener- Being an HR professional means a lot of listening! Listening to employee issues and listening to manager feedback. It’s important to be a good listener and not zone out of important conversations.
- Confidence- HR professionals, will sometimes need to deliver speeches about new workplace regulations and deal with large groups of employees at a time. Having confidence will not only make their jobs so much easier but also more enjoyable.
- Caring heart- It is definitely advantageous for employees to have an HR professional with a caring heart. This means that the employee’s needs will be carefully considered when it comes to complaints, new regulations etc.
- Communication- Clear communication is absolutely vital as an HR professional as you often act as the go-between between certain parties, and you don’t want to end up with a game of broken telephone on your hands.
- Management- While HR professionals are not exactly managers, many of their responsibilities are closely linked with managerial roles, and they work very closely with the management team. Therefore it is great to
- Organisational skills- Having organisational skills as an HR professional will definitely come in handy. As HR professionals always have to come up with new structures and plans, organisational skills help them construct these plans cohesively and efficiently.
What are some of the biggest challenges that HR professionals face
There are many challenges that HR professionals need to overcome in order to be successful at what they do. Some of these challenges they may have to overcome daily, while other challenges they may never encounter.
One of the biggest challenges in being an HR professional is an emotional one. As HR reps are advocates for employees, they may need to listen to many disputes and injustices. It may be difficult to remain objective and not become emotionally involved. They need to be able to separate work and their personal lives so that they are able to execute their jobs to the best of their abilities.
Other challenges include:
- Keeping up to date with the latest HR developments and furthering their education
- Knowing how to prioritise their time with important tasks
- Dealing with difficult, personal disputes
- Restructuring poorly developed structures that have been used within a company for years.
What can an HR professional add to a company?
There are many ways in which an HR professional can add value to a business. Some ways in which an HR professional can benefit your business include:
- Help build your business’s culture and brand
- Develop growth strategies
- Make the most out of your employee’s skillsets
- Ensure that the right people are hired for the right jobs
- Minimise employee turnover by ensuring that your current employees remain relevant
- Promote natural leaders within your company
- Help with conflict resolution
- Cultivating passion within the workplace
- Helping you think outside the box
- Ensuring that you are in line with HR developments and regulations for your industry
- Implementing change
Hiring an HR professional
While almost any business would benefit highly from the occasional services of an HR professional, once you have more than around 30 employees, you should definitely look into bringing a full-time HR professional on board. The more employees you have, the greater your need for an HR professional will grow to be. Companies with very large numbers of employees have entire HR teams working with them.
There are more than a few major risks involved when operating your business without an HR professional on board. Many things could be missed and overlooked, and you may find that management has to deal with issues that they are not quite equipped to handle.
If you’re a business looking at hiring an HR professional, ensure that they are legally allowed to work in the UK, have the relevant knowledge, skills, and qualifications that you’re looking for, and that they would be a good fit in your workplace. Knowledge of your specific industry would be highly advantageous.
Becoming an HR professional
Are you considering a career in Human Resources” Becoming an HR professional is an exciting and often fulfilling career path. If it is your dream to become an HR professional, you should ensure that you finish your GSCEs (if you haven’t done so already) and aim to achieve the highest marks possible. From there, you can look at getting a degree in HR while perhaps looking for an entry-level HR job to start gaining the experience that you’ll need. You may also want to look at developing your personal skills to make you a stand-out candidate in the field of HR. Later down the line, you can start gaining knowledge about the HR specification you’d like to go into and ensure that you have the relevant accreditation with CIPD.
If human resources are still something that you know very little about, you may want to look into spending a day job shadowing with an HR professional or doing some additional research so that you know exactly what the job entails and what an average day in the life of an HR professional looks like before you make any major decisions.
In conclusion, what does it mean to be a good HR professional
A successful HR professional will need to realise the importance and significance of their role in the workplace and how their decisions and attention to detail can affect the lives of the employees. They need to act fairly and be able to put themselves in the role of the employees as well as the manager and make decisions that are in the best interests of both the company and the employees by reaching compromises. This is an ongoing requirement of this role in all that they do.
They should take a keen interest in developing their HR skills by continuing their education and keeping up to date with the latest in HR developments so that they remain relevant within the workplace.
A good HR rep will take the right steps to ensure the betterment of employee’s lives and careers within the workplace and will find ways to structurally improve the business and make the most of an employee’s skills. They’ll need to take their work seriously and maintain organisation and clear communication to stay on track with their goals.
Being an HR professional in the UK can often prove to be a truly rewarding and fulfilling job. As a business owner, it is vital for you to realise the many benefits that a dedicated HR professional can bring to your team.