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Wednesday, December 18, 2002

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The art of managing people

ONE of the most defining factors for a successful career is finding the right job fit and work culture. The right job fit involves a whole gamut of other issues as well, such as compensation, job profile, perks, the human resource policy, employee benefits, career progression etc. One of the key departments involved in the process is the human resources department.

Human resources management involves researching and addressing staffing needs, hiring and training the best employees, and making sure that these employees turn out to be outstanding performers. It also includes dealing with performance issues and ensuring your personnel and management practices conform to various regulations.

In short, human resources are a resource, which is of immeasurable value for an organisation. The human resources department is entrusted with the vital function of keeping employees happy and thus assisting in enhancing the productivity of the company. For instance, productivity-boosting policies such as flexi-time, ESOPs, performance pay, personalised training for employees, 360-degree appraisals, etc are some of the trends that are fast catching on with most organisations.

Careering into HR

Any organisation with manpower as its chief capital, is a treasure trove of talent. It is the human resource department, which acts as the key to unlock, identify, develop, tailor and utilise employee skills and talents to further individual as well as organisational goals. The chief functions of the human resource department are recruitment, training and development, change management, salary and benefits, industrial and employee relations and performance appraisals.

The HR department therefore aids:

In planning, drafting, and implementing policies, rules and procedures regarding recruitment, promotions, benefits, retrenchment, conducting exit interviews, rehiring and firing, etc.

In planning, organising, and conducting inductions, orientation programmes, refresher and training & development programmes and seminars

The management in taking key decisions, and help them utilise and maximise the in house pool of talent.

As links between the management and the staff.

In recruitment and selection, the human resource department devises and frames policies to recruit the best-suited personnel for the requisite departments. They screen, shortlist, interview and select probable candidates for the relevant posts.

In training, they map employee and management needs, and conduct the necessary workshops to upgrade skills, identify latent talents and provide the necessary training. The human resource department also monitors and enables promotions and transfers. They act as links between the management and the employees. They keep employees informed of the happenings in the organisation.

Maintaining employee relations are a key aspect in human resource management. Boosting and motivating employees to perform well is also a part of the human resource personnel's schedule. Human resource personnel help solve disputes and conflicts between the management and employee unions/employees. Through counselling, they also help redress employee grievances and help them map their professional growth in the organisation. They also deal with employee reallocation.

Qualifications

As one of the more popular study options, there are various courses available in human resources, ranging from a diploma to a postgraduate degree. Some of the better-known institutes are National Institute of Human Resource Development, Academy of Human Resources Management, Administrative Staff College of India and the IIMs. Institutes such as the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan also offer a diploma in industrial relations and personnel management.

However, an MBA (HR and personnel management) is usually the first requirement to carve a career in HR. Other qualifications or experience in fields such as social work etc are also considered. Knowledge of industrial and labour law is essential.

Growth and remuneration

The hierarchical growth pattern in the human resource department is similar to other departments in an organisation. The hierarchical growth pattern begins as Executives / Management Trainees, who can later man posts of a Manager / Asst Manager, General Manager HR/personnel/ I.R. /Admn and Director HR / Vice President HR. Compensation are location, industry and institute specific. However as a beginner one can expect an initial monthly salary that ranges from a minimum of Rs.8,000 to 15,000.

Career clues

Managing human resources is an art and skill that can be acquired. Most aspirants wishing to make it big in HR have relatively no idea how important some very simple skills can be.

Compatible skills to the job (right employee for the right job)

Ability to hit the ground running

Multi tasking, high energy levels and excellent inter - personal skills

Effective communication skills and ability to be a team player

A positive attitude and a burning desire to learn more and grow

People oriented

High levels of empathy

Willingness to learn

Not be tempted to misuse power over people

Additionally, technological awareness is important in the present day set-up. Therefore, knowledge of the latest software packages (MS word 2001, MIS, etc) comes handy.

Problem solving and conflict resolution are the most important skills to possess. Good human resource personnel must be knowledgeable about labour and industrial laws, and their application in the workplace.

The future

Human resource management is fast becoming as enduring a field as banking. Research, education and teaching, consultancy, and even public relations are other employment avenues. HR personnel can be partners in business, taking strategic business decisions along with the top management to ensure optimum utilisation of the human resource talent.

For a person passionate about HR, recognising young talent, nurturing it and seeing it grow, training and developing individuals, counselling, guiding and appraising the performance and deciding compensation reviews etc, are more than just perks.

SAMYUKTA KODA

samyukta.hyd@cnkonline


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