My first career after graduating from college was in the Human Resources field. It was an unexpected choice for me, but I enjoyed it. However, as with any career, I could have been better prepared had I taken advice from someone with HR experience. So here are some helpful tips for anyone looking to start a career in Human Resources:
You are an adult babysitter.
Employees look to the Human Resources staff for assistance with everything from payroll to benefits. They often come in HR for help with simple things such as finding check stubs or insurance cards. Even if information is readily available from another source such as the HR website, employees feel more comfortable coming straight to the HR department to get what they need.
Some of my biggest hassles with employees are getting them to meet deadlines, explaining information to them over and over, and begging them to participate in wellness and employee relations activities. If you are a people oriented person who likes helping people, this aspect may be appealing to you.
Technology is your friend.
When I first began my career in Human Resources, the whole department was on paper, literally. The job applications, benefits and payroll information, as well as time records were all maintained by printed forms that were stuffed into individual files. Can you imagine file cabinets everywhere? The worst part was having to calculate timesheets for hourly employees by hand. Your mind gets pretty tired after about three hundred employees.
Eventually, our department adopted some computer programs that could store our data and keep our records for us. This made life much simpler and it gave me relief that we could now trust that our records were accurate and we didn’t have to worry about hundreds of papers getting lost on their way to the file cabinets.
Your job description changes daily.
I was originally hired as a Human Resources Generalist with my main duties being time records management and assisting with benefits. I know, it’s often expected that position duties change over time, but if you work in HR, it changes a lot. Unexpected projects, reports, and even private investigations come out of nowhere and everyone is expected to pitch in to help. I am often called upon to revise policies due to employee inquiries or investigations, and thanks to the previous paper record keeping system, I often have to look into errors in records management. This can be a good thing for anyone who is looking for a career that isn’t static.
Customer service is a priority.
If you thought your way out of customer service was quitting your retail job. You’re wrong. Employees are customers too, and the main goal of Human Resources is to serve them. At my job, I will often have to stop working on a desk assignment to assist walk in employees, and usually the issue they have needs to be addressed immediately. It can be frustrating at times, but I remember, I’m sort of a babysitter and part of my job is to make HR processes at easy as possible for employees.
Another way HR delivers good customer service is by providing benefits such as activities to boost morale, wellness programs, and opportunities for training and advancement. This aspect is often over looked by HR departments, but it’s important. Happy employees are productive employees.
The Human Resources field is continually growing.
Although there is not much room to advance in Human Resources internally, the field itself is expanding. More and more HR departments are making wellness and employee relations a priority and they are constantly finding ways to provide more benefits to employees. This can be appealing to someone who wants to gain a variety of skills and grow with their department. Although Human Resources wasn’t my first career choice, the experience I have gained from working in the field is invaluable.