How did you get into a career in HR?
By accident in a way. HR had never been a position I had previously considered, however in a previous role I had a good working relationship with the HR Manager and he discussed his role and the challenges he faced, but how much he loved being able to make a difference to his colleagues. A few months later an opportunity arose for a Trainee HR Administrator role at a large local organisation and I’ve never looked back since.
What are the key responsibilities in your role?
Having recently started in a new role, my main priority at the moment is to ensure legal compliance. This has involved studying each employee handbook for the 15 companies within the group and updating them to match the current legislation. It doesn’t stop there though, then any changes have to be agreed and an implementation plan put in place to ensure it is delivered effectively. Other projects I have been involved in include developing a disciplinary and grievance process and ensuring line managers have had training on how to follow procedures. Something I really enjoy is compiling monthly KPIs for the executive team to help drive business decisions, I attended a 2 day CIPD Workshop on HR Analytics which gave the confidence to experiment and develop the data I would report on. Other tasks would include supporting with absence management, mapping out career pathways for succession planning, job descriptions and organisation structure mapping.
Describe a typical day.
It always starts with a coffee for a caffeine boost ready for the day ahead and a quick catch up on the inbox. I will then have a catch up with the HR Director and discuss any projects I am currently working on, or anything that has come up that I can support with. Then it’s also being there for guidance and support, it could be a phone call about maternity allowance or advice on completing a fair investigation following the relevant procedures.
What skills are needed for this role?
Organisation, self-drive, team player, passion for helping people, and a positive outlook.
What challenges do you face in this role?
There are tough days, sometimes I may have to conduct an investigation or support in a disciplinary meeting and you do see some colleagues are in a bad place personally that you maybe wouldn’t realise day to day at work. Sometimes it is hard to stop the feeling of compassion towards colleagues when having to protect the business in line with policy and procedure, however I am currently very lucky to work for a family Group of companies, where compassion is in the philosophy of everything we do.
What keeps you motivated to go into work every day?
Knowing that you can make a difference. I have previously helped a colleague being made redundant, who had never made a CV. I spent time with him detailing all of his skills and the list was twice the size of what he had imagined. It was great to see that change his outlook. We then did a few mock interviews and I was delighted when he secured a new role. He still says thank you now when our paths cross but it really is just part of the job, making a difference. It is also a fast-paced environment which means there is never a dull moment, time flies when you are having ‘fun’!
What advice would you give someone considering a career in HR?
If you enjoy working with people and want to make a difference then go for it! There are so many informative websites and case studies that you can read. I would also consider looking at a Foundation Certificate with CIPD to give you some knowledge and confidence in your new role as well as access to some great factsheets and other resources.
Explore career areas within the people profession, and the typical activities you may find yourself doing
Information and guidance to help you excel in your role, transition into the profession, and manage a career break
Read the CIPD’s November 2023 submission to His Majesty’s Treasury