When I joined HR two years ago, the first question I asked my boss was, “What do I do here?”
Her answer was simple, but one that I remember to this day, “The experience is what you make of it.”
The role I was appointed to was ‘People Strategy’ and as the link between operations and HR, it was an opportunity to understand the relationship between manpower planning and business targets.
I was also advised that it could potentially be a brief stint for me to get a grasp of how HR works. Or, it could be the first step before going deeper into a specific HR discipline. The flexibility was there.
While both are interesting propositions, I’ll decided on the latter. After some soul searching, I decided to pursue a career in Learning & Development. I even made it the subject of my doctoral research.
Joining HR has enabled me to broaden my perspective on the dynamics of an organisation and even if I’d decided to move to another role outside HR next, I would still highly recommend at least a short spell if the opportunity arises. Here's why…
My prior knowledge of HR was limited to processes that I go through as a staff e.g. hiring, remuneration, mobility. Being in HR has exposed me to a wider range of roles including organisation design, employee relations, and capability development. It has been an eye-opening experience.
With the workforce as its main stakeholder, being at the policy design end has enabled me to witness first-hand the immediate impact of our work. Simulating the scenarios can be challenging, but it's fulfilling to observe how the policies that you help design are brought to life.
In my previous functions, the considerations that I had in assessing business decisions were limited to the basics e.g. financials, operations, governance. Coming from HR has given me the breadth needed to appreciate people-related factors such as manpower requirement, workforce productivity, and labour laws.
Being in HR has exposed me to a wider range of roles including organisation design, employee relations, and capability development. It has been an eye-opening experience.
The way I frame my thinking has also changed - or at least that’s how I see it. In allocating resources, for example, I find myself more aware of the optimal sizing of teams to ensure that roles are distributed accordingly and job satisfaction is sustained. It’s a trait that I hope could help me in the long run as I grow in the organisation.
I've always wondered how my HR colleagues managed the unending flow of questions that come their way - especially the account managers. From leave application to car allowance, I've heard HR being asked about almost everything under the sun.
When I joined, I was also at the receiving end of the questions but as much as I can, I would try to get answers for them. If the subject wasn't under my purview, I would reach out to others within the unit. The will to help out seems to come naturally, somehow.
I would go as far as saying that it’s my favourite part of being in HR -- the ability to help others. I might not have the answer to everything. But I will surely do my best to find out!