Human Resources

Human resources (HR) is such a broad area of work; some HR professionals take the general route and do a bit of everything, while take more specialised routes such as occupational psychology, or move up to a strategic level making decisions on how a company’s employment structure should be organised or changed.

Some HR professionals organise the hiring of new staff and help to train and develop talented employees throughout their career, whereas other members of the HR team use their social, emotional and psychological skills to help improve and maintain the quality of an employee’s working life.

An entry level HR officer is a vital part of any organisation, commercial or non-commercial, private or public sector, large or small. These professionals are tasked with all responsibilities connected with employee and resource management. Job responsibilities cover a wide range of areas, from employee recruitment, training and development, to the provision of compensation and benefits, the enforcement of disciplinary procedures and conflict resolution. All this, while ensuring that the company continues to meet its business and organisational objectives.

Jobs in employee relations

HR professionals in employee relations, engagement and performance need excellent communication skills to be able to interact with their company’s employees. They may help managers to motivate and build good relationships with their support staff; they might act as a mediator between trade unions and the business; and they might help to resolve conflicts between team members. When carrying out their responsibilities, they constantly need to consider legal risks and issues, business goals and personal issues.

Jobs in occupational psychology

HR professionals in occupational psychology offer valuable psychological insights and provide assistance in many different areas of HR activity, from recruitment and talent development, to organisational change. They might even be responsible for providing personal counselling to individual employees in regards to their health, stress and mental well-being. Occupational psychologists are especially useful when it comes to helping people cope with redundancy, strike action and disciplinary hearings.

Jobs in compensation, benefits & rewards

Other HR professionals might specialise in compensation, benefits and rewards. These workers are responsible for devising policies for an organisation’s salary, bonus and incentive schemes. These might include: salaries, bonuses, commission, company cars, pensions, life assurance, profit sharing, dental plans, medical insurance, vouchers, and apital bonds reward schemes.

They are then in charge of administering, managing and evaluating the payroll, salary structures, and incentive schemes. Basically, they make sure that the right people get the right amount of money, at the right time.

Jobs in organisation development

Some HR professionals could move into organisation development. Careers in this specialist area of HR are all about analysing, refining and changing how people fit into organisations. It’s not just about making job cuts, creating new opportunities, and re-organising people into different areas of the business; it’s also about developing an organisation’s culture and harnessing the skills of its employees more efficiently.

People in this area need to be able back up their plans, ideas and proposals for change with evidence of why they will be effective. They need to use their top class analytical and assessment skills to help them consider risks and other possible challenges to their proposals.

Human resources apprenticeships

School leavers wanting to work in this sector will probably need A-levels. They could then do an Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3) in areas like HR support. School leavers with A-levels could also access these schemes.

For those with a good set of A-level results, or those who have completed Advanced Apprenticeships, there are Higher Apprenticeships, in roles like HR executive, HR officer, assistant HR manager and assistant HR advisor, even HR consultant / partner.

School leavers could also look at the human resources courses on offer at further education college and university. 

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