ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Business and Employment»
  • Human Resources (HR)

Who Wants to Work in the Human Resources Field?

Updated on May 31, 2013
ChrisMcDade8 profile image

Christine McDade is a Human Resources professional (PHR & SHRM-CP) with over 18 years in the public sector.

The job of a human resources professional can be very challenging due to the issues dealt with on a daily basis.
The job of a human resources professional can be very challenging due to the issues dealt with on a daily basis. | Source

Working in Human Resources (HR) is not an easy job for the staff responsible for the personnel tasks of an organization. Despite years of work experience and college level education, many HR professionals find the nature of what they do to be challenging due to the unique situations that arise with the human beings that make up a workforce. For those who have worked in the HR field, there is a general understanding that , "No day is ever the same." For this reason, it is easy to understand why many professionals are turned off by the profession. The "gray areas" of dealing with human problems is not attractive to people that prefer a more scientific approach and solution to a problem. While there are employment laws in place that must be respected in the workplace, there is often interpretation and analysis of an employee situation that does not quite fit other similar situations that have occurred in the past. Many situations get referred to attorneys who help guide HR professionals in what decisions to make. For this reason, HR is more of an "art" than a science because of the need to be flexible and understand that analysis and interpretation are part of the HR work. When HR professionals understand the kind of work they are to perform in the workplace, they will have better understanding whether it is a profession they wish to have.

Human Resources Responsibilities

HR consists of certain personnel functions that are common to most organizations. They are:

  • Recruitment
  • Employee Relations
  • Compensation
  • Labor Relations
  • Benefits
  • Pension
  • Training

Other areas of specialization that are often found in an HR Department are Safety, Risk Management, and Payroll. Depending on the size and structure of the organization, the makeup of the HR Department can have the areas listed above. When budgetary constraints limit resources for HR Departments, some of the areas of specialization get combined to accommodate a smaller HR staff.

Open Door policies in organizations invite employees to come to HR for answers to workplace questions.
Open Door policies in organizations invite employees to come to HR for answers to workplace questions. | Source

The Answer People

Many employees instinctly call HR when it comes to a policy question or workplace issue. There is almost always an assumption that HR will be "in the know" about whatever the issue is. The questions that get asked and the situations that get presented demand much discernment from the HR professional who is in the position of helping the employee. "Will there be a raise this year", or "Do I have to sign my disciplinary write-up," are examples of questions that get asked of HR staff. It is their job to answer in a respectful manner with the needed information. If the HR staff does not know the answer, they should indicate to the employee that they must get back to them with the answer once they have done some research.

"HR La La"

Years ago, I had the occasion to be in a meeting with an accountant who referred to the work being discussed as, "HR la, la". This experienced accountant expressed his dislike for the nature of the work being discussed, and, therefore, insulted the very profession that he clearly did not understand or have an appreciation for. While the work in HR is often not as clear as a debit or credit, it does play an important role in any organization. Some of the "HR la, la" that HR professionals deal with are:

  • Recruiting new employees for vacant positions. This work involves screening applications, conducting background investigations and making job offers to final candidates. This work can be especially challenging for hard-to-fill positions and having limited salaries to offer the selected candidates. Dealing with angry applicants who are not selected can also be a challenging issue.
  • Negotiating salaries and benefits with unions. HR professionals often sit at the table with unions to negotiate the terms and conditions of employment for workers. These talks can become heated as both sides must work toward a common goal for the employees and the organization.
  • Investigating charges of discrimination. HR professionals must investigate charges of discrimination and other mistreatment as protected by employment laws at the federal, state and local levels. These situations are made a priority for HR who must apply the laws which define protections in the workplace. Determining whether mistreatment has occurred takes a thorough investigation as the HR professional works with the emotions of the employee making allegations and the alleged harasser.
  • Dealing with employees who have health issues and need insurance assistance. Employees who have health issues often seek the assistance of HR to help with getting the available medical benefits.
  • Meeting with the family members of a deceased employee to discuss life insurance benefits. HR professionals often meet with the spouse or children of an employee who has died to discuss survivor benefits and beneficiary information. The need for respect and care in these situations is paramount to successfully serving these grieving people.
  • Workplace Violence. Human Resources professionals must work with managers to maintain a healthy and safe work environment for employees. Because human beings are all unique with their own set of values and opinions, it is not unusual for personalities to clash with one another. Verbal and physical attacks must be strictly forbidden and addressed when they occur in the workplace. HR professionals work with managers to maintain a respectful work environment for all.
  • Discipline and Termination. A very difficult part of the HR field is dealing with employee discipline and termination. Being sure that employees are treated fairly and in a manner that supports their ability to be successful in the organization is a very important role for HR. When performance is not meeting the expectations of the job, HR must be sure that managers are addressing the issues to provide them the opportunity to improve their performance. When all avenues of performance and employee behavior have been explored, termination is the final step in the working relationship. These situations are very difficult for the employee and must be handled with care.

While the list above does not include all the challenging "HR la, la" that HR professionals perform, it does show a few of the difficult tasks that are part of the HR profession.

Understanding the HR Profession

Human Resources has its pro's and con's like all other professions. It is helpful for people working in the field to understand the importance of being professional with patience and respect for the people they support in the workplace. Employees deserve an HR staff who will look out for their best interests while creating a healthy and productive environment for all. While it is often a misunderstood field, its importance in the workplace is undeniable, not "HR la, la".

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • ChrisMcDade8 profile image
      Author

      Christine McDade 5 years ago from Southwest Florida

      HR is a difficult job. Dealing with the tough topics puts HR folks in an unpopular light for many in the workplace. These employee issues must be handled with care, and with the interests at heart of both the employees and the employer.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      The HR is the department that everyone loves and everyone hates. What most employees don't understand is that they bridge top management and the employees. They are often caught in the middle of what the top guys want and the concerns of the employees. It's a hard job. A little appreciation from the rest of the company will go along way for the HR people.

    • Martin Lu profile image

      Martin Lu 5 years ago from Palmerston North, New Zealand

      After I read your hub , I got a general idea about HR . Thanks

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)