To Be Or Not To Be An HR

We talk about the rising criticality of the role of Human Resource Management in times of dynamic volatile markets. Despite the plethora of articles, magazines, blogs, books that talk about the impact Human Resources Managers create, the aspirants of MBA continue to have a myopic view of the specialisation. Various MBA aspirants do not know what to expect from the course or from life in general once you make a decision to step into the world of People Management. You ask any aspiring MBA enthusiast or even a Human Resource Aspirant for that matter, what are the responsibilities of an HR professional, and all you get to hear is Recruitment, Hiring, Selection and other transactional roles which do not have a proper growth and career map. Until last year like many other MBA aspirants, I had this big decision to make – To be or not to be an HR. I had converts from a few other colleges that offered me courses like International Business, Marketing Management and various other usual PGDM courses.  All I wanted then was some guidance from the people who have experienced this in person to help me make a sound decision that was to determine the course of my career.

So this article is a humble attempt to introduce aspirants to the world of Human Resource management before they take the big decision. When I first started the course, I was taken aback when the first lecture was that of Financial Accounting being taken up by one of the most revered professors of the country. In a fortnight we found ourselves creating balance sheets, reading Profit and Loss and cash flow statements of the biggest firms in the market. The next completely alien aspect that I was introduced to was that of Labour Laws. Labour Laws being one of the distinguishing factors of XLRI, the college provides you with a course on the same on almost all the trimesters of the degree. It equips you to deal with Trade Unions Act, Contract Labour Act, Employee State Insurance Act, PF and Gratuity Act and more than 10 of such Labour Acts. This gives you an opportunity to learn to appreciate the ‘science’ of labour and workforce management.

Talent Strategy continues to be one of the prime drivers of success for the functioning of the organisations and the structures that companies adopt greatly determines the hierarchy, authority and work flow algorithms. Students are taught about the various structures that the organisations can take up depending upon the stage of business and the kind of market they are in. Various Strategy courses, Organisational Behaviour Courses condition the budding managers to align their actions with that of the organisation’s goals.

James C Collins, in his book “Good to Great” talks about “getting the right people on board” to be the mantra for success of an organisation. The book asks the CEOs to determine “first who and then what”. This is the reason why CEOs all across the world consider Human Capital to be their no. 1 priority. Thus, to procure, recruit, incentivize and retain talent becomes of utmost importance for an organisation and here comes the role of the HR managers. Wage, Compensation, Performance Management, Training and Development, Recruitment and Selection are few other courses that help you gain insights into the core functioning of People Management in organisations.

Given the dearth of talent in HR, this is a lucrative career stream for high calibre students. It provides an opportunity to pursue something unique and hence may lead to a faster career growth. Contrary to the general belief that HR is a support function, after having spent a year with the course, I believe Human Resource has transitioned into the role of a change agent and is one of the factors that can bring competitive advantage to the firms.

For all those who are still unsure whether to join HRM or not, I would like to share a wise piece of thought that I came across a few years back – “Join Human Resources not when “you like people” or “because you get along well with people”, join Human Resources when you want to learn to derive profits from the Strategic Human Capital for your organisation”.




About the Author:

Utkarsha Srivastava. Currently pursuing PGD-HRM 16-18 from XLRI, Jamshedpur.


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