HR’s evolving job role in the new world of work

Hiring is often considered the core function of human resources (HR), but it comprises a lot more than that. HR management is the end-to-end process of recruiting, utilising, and managing an organisation's employees. It handles all aspects of the workforce, including hiring people, imparting training and development, providing employee benefits and compensation, conducting performance appraisals to retain talents, and more. Human capital is a company's greatest asset as it fuels growth and innovation, leading the business to an upward spiral of success. The HR department, therefore, plays a strategic role that shapes a company's development, policy-making, and culture.

Understanding HR’s job role needs 

Careers in human resources (HR) can be many and varied, and they will suit a wide range of individuals, including those who understand the concepts behind human motivation and behaviour. HR professionals have a unique perspective because of their position within the organisation. They understand the company's priorities and challenges, and they have the ability to influence those priorities and challenges through employee retention, hiring practices, and restructuring plans. HR Directors and Managers play a critical role in shaping the culture of an organisation, making sure employees feel valued and appreciated. They also help companies recruit top talent, create career paths, and manage change.

HR professionals play an important role in helping organisations to succeed. They help employees grow professionally through performance reviews, coaching and mentoring. Using tools like exit surveys and 360 degree feedback, human resources professionals can collect valuable information about employee performance. This helps them identify areas for improvement. By improving the overall performance of the team, HR professionals can create a positive environment for all employees. No wonder those who excel in this field find themselves in great demand on the job market.

Technology cannot easily replace the interpersonal responsibilities of a human resources department. Technology can help automate many aspects of the job, like payroll, benefits and scheduling, but it cannot replace the human element. There will always be a need to hire, onboard, train and retain employees. Those who choose to pursue a career in human resources will enjoy a rewarding career path. With all the disparate sub-departments that come under the HR umbrella, it's fair to say that HR influences just about all aspects of a business.

Communication is vital for success in HR roles

Human resources professionals deal with all sorts of problems at work. You'll need to be able to think critically about the situation and come up with solutions to problems that may seem insurmountable at first. You'll also need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively with colleagues and clients. In many instances, you could end up acting as a neutral mediator in disagreements between individuals, so if you're good at acting in an independent manner, there is every chance that you could become a successful HR Manager, HR Officer or similar.

HR professionals help organisations create a positive working environment by providing services and resources that foster employee engagement and productivity. An effective HR department provides opportunities for growth and development through career planning, benefits administration, and other HR services. Many companies also provide health insurance and retirement plans to their employees. HR professionals may also assist with organisational restructuring and mergers and acquisitions.

A well-qualified HR professional is the best candidate for the job

A degree in business management, accounting, economics, finance, human resource management, marketing, psychology or even law could give candidates the skills to land a job in the HR sector. They'll also gain valuable experience during their studies, which could come in handy when applying for jobs after graduation. Some employers will expect applicants to have an undergraduate degree, but there are many ways to get experience before going to university. Some qualifications combine academic study with practical work placements, giving valuable industry experience while preparing the individual for a career in HR.

It may be advisable to consider studying Human Resources Management if you're interested in working in an organisation that provides employment opportunities to people. You'll get a broad overview of all aspects of the role, including recruitment, selection, induction, training and development, remuneration, benefits, HR systems, communications, legal issues, employee relations and many others. 

A role that can positively influence everyone

HR professionals help employees and employers alike by providing advice, guidance, and solutions when issues arise. Some of the job roles that HR professionals hold include recruiting, benefits administration, payroll processing, employee relations, compensation management and compliance. Interacting with people on a daily basis is a major part of this role, and that's why this sector attracts so many people who enjoy making a difference to those around them. Many think the best part about working in HR in a commercial organisation is getting to meet new people. Many others feel that they learn a lot about other cultures and ways of doing things when they get the chance to work abroad. Some even claim that they learnt something new every day.

Needless to say, the further up the corporate ladder you go, the fewer opportunities there will be to interact with so many individuals and business partners on a daily basis. Overseeing the HR strategy of a business, irrespective of the industry sector in which it operates, can be fast-paced, exciting and rewarding, but it can also be stressful. One of the highest ranking roles, that of HR Director, will likely mean more interaction with fellow directors and senior managers than with lower level employees. The traditional HR career path has you start out as an HR Assistant, moving on to HR Officer, then on to HR Manager, and finally to HR Director.

In Hong Kong, renowned HR management bodies such as the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM) and Hong Kong People Management Association aim to develop, maintain and enhance professional HR standards as well as increase the value and influence of the HR profession. As the most representative professional HR institute in Hong Kong, HKIHRM has a membership of close to 5,000 members, around 520 of whom were corporate members.

Finding the strand of HR that suits your needs

HR is of course a broad term that encompasses a number of different strands. Most HR professionals become highly adept at doing administrative work, like writing job descriptions and managing employee benefits. Some also end up specialising in recruitment, while others work with legal counsel to draft contracts and review applications. And then there are those who have an influence on workplace culture, via conducting surveys and making recommendations about improving working conditions. The opportunity to explore different areas of HR and get exposure to a range of different issues is an important part of its appeal.

If you'd like to find out whether HR is the career path for you, consider making a job application for a role that fits in with your skill set. Having a positive impact on people is an enjoyable factor in this field, as is using such talents to help with the professional development of various employees. The hiring process for an HR specialist will touch on differing aspects of the human resources field, and if you already have the relevant experience and interpersonal skills, you'll have an increased chance of success.

Human resources professionals are critical to any organisation, and they tend to be highly respected. Working in the HR sector can be interesting and enjoyable, and it's worth noting that it tends to offer an above-average salary. HR is a good career choice, it has been for many years and it will continue to be for some time to come.

If you are on the lookout for HR jobs, Michael Page has a variety of opportunities available. Search HR jobs now, or set up an email job alert with us so we can notify you of new roles in the sector once they become available. You can also send us your CV or get in touch with a consultant to discuss potential roles according to your skillset and preferences. Enter your job title to see how your salary compares to the competition using our salary comparison tool.