Career in Human Resources Management – An XLRI Student’s Perspective

Human Resources Management has moved way beyond only recruitment, training and compensation. HR is the department that holds the social fabric of an organization together. An increasing number of companies have admitted to the HR department being a vital cog in their functioning.

Ritika Chadha, a second year HRM student at XLRI, spoke to us about the opportunities in this sector and what the companies look for while recruiting for this role.

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What are the different roles and functions of HR managers? Are there differences among the skill sets required for excelling in these types of roles?

HR Management is broadly divided into two roles: Plant HR and Corporate HR. Both require different knowledge and skill sets. For a Plant HR manager, it is imperative to have a good grasp of Labour Laws and Industrial Relations issues. There are further divisions in Corporate HR roles, but majorly, knowledge about compensation, benefits, talent acquisition and organizational changes is important. A lot of people shuffle between these two roles to get a holistic view of the profession. It takes time to adjust to the challenges of both roles, but when you study HRM, you invariably study and prepare for both types of roles.

How do you prepare yourself for interviews for HR roles during the summer internships process? What to do if you’re from an engineering background and have no prior knowledge of HR?

The companies are aware of the fact that most people don’t have a background in HR in UG. The questions asked in interviews revolve mostly around the courses you study in Term 1 and your clarity about HR as a profession. Most successful HR managers realize that employees are the most important asset of any organization and know how to strategize to utilize their potential to the fullest. This is achieved while creating a healthy work environment for them, be it a plant or a corporate office.

What type of company is a good option to begin your HRM career?

An FMCG company is a great way to start your HRM career, both for Plant and Corporate HR roles. They have very dedicated teams working in both areas, and they have very well-defined policies with very experienced people in the teams. There is a lot of scope for learning a lot in such a company because the market conditions are fast-changing and throw up a lot of challenges. That being said, HR roles in other established organizations can also be very fulfilling as they employ best practices in each function and have a distinguished employee roster in HR functions.

How would HR roles for start-ups differ?

Start-ups must look to build their HR functions from the very beginning to manage their employees effectively. Their HR policies would depend a lot on how the company wants to develop its HR, its number of employees at that stage and the planned growth. In the initial stages there is a lot of idea generation and experimentation. So, while the policies might be uncertain and the experience factor may be low, an HR role in a start-up is very exciting because you get to be a part of developing that company’s entire HR policy from scratch. The option of Human Resources Outsourcing has also been picking up these days, where young companies outsource their HR operations.

In big organizations, HR policies would be standardized and fixed, leaving very little room to develop your own ideas or make any serious changes to it. What is the level of satisfaction or ownership while working for such organizations?

In any organization, you get exposed to a lot of domains within HR. The sort of exposure bigger companies would provide is quite unparalleled. Also, their HR practices are developed and changed with changing requirements, so the notion that they are rigid is not true. There is always scope for improvement. The entire experience of working in a bigger organization and the learning you gain provides a lot of satisfaction.


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