Are You Considering A Career In Human Resources?#HRLADYSHIP Heather Gupta • August 22, 2017
13 years ago I was happily enjoying my life as an Advertising Account Director running Unilever’s detergent business across Asia. If you’d told me then that my career was about to take an unexpected lurch into the HR space, I’d have laughed in your face.
As far as I was concerned, HR departments were generally made up of policy junkies who paid my salary and bothered me about timesheets, a career choice for people who didn’t really know what they wanted to do in life. Definitely not an area I had ever considered working in. Then in 2005 I was thrown a curve ball of an offer to head HR for Lowe in Mumbai. It was either that, or leave India (my Account Director role was relocating out of Mumbai). I’d fallen in love with India and really didn’t want to leave, so I accepted the challenge, not at all sure what the future had in store for me.
Fast forward to today and I have the rather grandiose title of “Chief Talent Officer”. This is my third HR Head role, having gone on to lead HR teams at UTV and now The 120 Media Collective. Thankfully, I no longer think that HR people are irrelevant. On the contrary, I’m loving being in HR, and believe that it’s a vital function for any organization.
Here are a few reasons you might want to consider a career in HR (even if you’re currently doing something else!).
1. You’ll be in a position of influence
HR plays a key role in the company’s strategic approach, helping identify the company’s vision, mission and values. HR ensures that values are turned from words into clearly articulated behaviours, which are cascaded down through the organization. On top of that, the HR leader should have a seat at the Management table, ensuring that employees are fairly represented in business decisions.
2. You’ll have the opportunity to really affect people’s lives
As an HR partner, you’ll have the opportunity to influence the way people think. Provided you build rapport with employees (the no 1 requirement for an HR person), you’ll become their coach, confidante, teacher, mentor, guide and even agony aunt. Your intervention could be a crucial part of their future!
3. Each workday will be different
No two days are the same if you work in HR. While you can attempt to plan your day, the only guarantee is that it will end up going off plan. The beauty of HR is that you’re living “in the moment” a lot of the time, being responsive and reactive to employee needs. Who knows what will happen tomorrow?!
4. You get to organize fun stuff
Most HR folks enjoy creating fun events for employees. These can be training, development and learning experiences, or purely hedonistic events, designed for people to blow off a little steam. Everyone has an opinion on what should be done – here’s your chance to decide!
5. You get to partner with brilliant minds
As an HR business partner, you’ll get the opportunity to work with a wide range of business leaders, constantly stimulated by the challenges they face. Partnering with the people who are running the business, day to day can be extremely rewarding, especially if they trust your judgement and ask for your opinion.
6. You learn something new every day
Every employee interaction you have creates a new learning experience. You’ll also get to attend some or all of the training courses your company runs, so your knowledge of a range of topics will be second to none. Soak it all up, and enjoy the growth.
7. You get to resolve conflicts
Though sometimes you feel like a cross between a referee and a diplomat, smoothing internal wrangles and clashes and resolving conflict can be rewarding. A calming, unbiased viewpoint can be all that is needed to make warring factions shake hands and part with a smile.
8. You get to hear the most incredible excuses
From convoluted stories about various modes of failed transport, to gory details involving bodily functions, you get to hear the most creative excuses for absenteeism and late-coming imaginable.