Is HR Easy?

“It sounds so easy!” – seems to be a popular belief surrounding the HR profession. For some reason, the role of HR is perceived by many as merely consisting of walking around the office and making sure that the staff are happy, smiling and getting along. Job done. However, anyone actually experienced in this sector, will be keen to point out that HR is comprised of much, much more.

Of course, staff satisfaction and welfare are an imperative focus point for HR; but managing this is a lot more complicated than just asking your team if they’re alright every 4 months and leaving it at that. Employee satisfaction has significant and proven implications on their quality of work and productivity, and consequently; the overall success of the business. For example, an investigation conducted by Gallup found that highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability. It is therefore vital for HR to find efficient methods for improving staff work lives; but this usually needs to be done on budget. Finding, testing and evaluating such strategies is an intricate and sometimes longitudinal process, and it is fundamental these methods work. So indeed, nurturing your employees work experience IS a factor of an HR role (and a very important one too), but the work doesn’t stop once you’ve found a way that makes your staff a little cheerier in the morning.  

Other than focusing on ways to increase staff productivity, HR is highly law orientated. If you’re not up to date with and practicing all the current workers legislations, you can find yourself (and your company) in big legal trouble. HR is also predicting the future. Can you sense a work-walk-out? If so, what are you going to do about it in order to avoid an empty office and thousands of pounds worth of production loss? HR can be counseling, and acting as a medium between several work bodies, in order to avoid miscommunication that may act as a detriment to the organization.

Truthfully, HR is just a tidy acronym for the title Human Relations, but fundamentally, HR is really an umbrella term for “everything” – everything human anyway. One thing, however, that HR is not, is limited to merely being nice and getting a cheque for it every month. In fact, a lot the realities of HR is the complete adverse. In many organisations, it is unfortunately the responsibility of HR to deliver the worst of bad news; redundancy, cut backs, demotions to name a few. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the phrase “don’t shoot the messenger” was originally an office plea from an HR manager. These tasks are emotionally toiling and are often be worlds away from being “easy”. “The hardest challenge being in HR is that sometimes you have to be the LAWYER, the JUDGE and the HANGMAN.” – Hassan Choughari

HR also includes a lot of accounting. The word “human” in Human Resources is also sneakily deceptive; as one of the major resources (or sometimes the lack of) is money. A lot of the time, HR will be asked to find ways to cut company costs. This can sometimes mean limiting staff benefits, denying someone a pay increase and not renewing an employee contract. Being given strict numerical targets and harsh deadlines can be overwhelmingly stressful especially whilst simultaneously trying to avoid negatively impacting your employees.

So, as we’ve established. HR is not a laid-back profession and is much executive than many people first realise. The decisions HR make are of great significance and sensitivity; felt all throughout its organisation. However, HR is a highly rewarding and enjoyable career, and although it is not necessarily easy, having the techniques to deal with pressures; such as efficient organisation and communication skills and emotional resilience, will make the job lucid and much more manageable.