Sep 22, 2006

Want to work in Core HR?

It must be some new jargon that has caught on.

Over the last few months, have been hearing it quite regularly. People come up and ask (or email) "I am stuck in a admin/recruiting job, I have done an MBA. So how do I get into "Core HR"?"

The first time I heard that, my reply was "What utter rubbish!" (and I was tempted to say it with the full Yorkshire accent ;-). As far as I am concerned there are HR jobs, and there are jobs that fall within the cusp of HR and other functions (like HRMS groups, or Internal Communications), but there are no "core jobs" in HR or any "peripheral jobs".

Then I actually thought what these people were saying about their jobs.

Most of them had an MBA with a specialization in HR, and when they joined an organization, they expected to start doing a HR manager's job almost immediately. When they were however given a target of X headcount to hire with Y and Z skills, with experience of 5-6 years in organizations like L,M and N, they fugured that this wasn't what they thought was HR.

Or when they sit in front of a computer screen and enter data into the HRMS system, they can be forgiven to believe that they don't have a HR job. Or when they compile and report training metrics or attend a pointless meeting with the cafeteria chaps.

The fault lies between the industry and the academia. A true image of the role is never built up when a student in the MBA program specializes with the choice of electives. A single summer internship is not a window ino how various organizations function.

The definition of what is core and non-core is a dynamic one.

Payroll no longer is considered part of HR.

Operationalizing recruiting is done mostly by third party vendors. Same holds true for training specially for skills that are not context-dependent on the organization.

What outside vendors cannot do, is being done by the Shared Services model and technology. In an IT company, employees can call up a helpdesk number for any employment related query that gets answered by the HR call centre located at Kuala Lumpur. This work could as well be done by third party BPO providers.

Forget the low-end, even high end work tends to get outsourced, like change management often is designed by an external consultant who works directly with the CEO or business leader.

Core HR is a mirage, my advice would be to not chase it!