Dec 21, 2006

Advice about HR

A lot of mails I get are about HR careers and what someone needs to do a specific role. However this mail was a little different:

I'd like your advice about HR. Frankly speaking, whatever's taught is all very interesting and fine. However, how much of this does a typical HR Manager get to apply within any organisation? I've asked a couple of 'heads' of HR from respectable cos. (consulting and IT) and the replies I got were vague enough to sow the seeds of doubt.
If I'm committing 6 months of my prime to a field, I'd like to know if there's more to it than just being punching bags for the chaps in line functions.
Would you be so kind as to clarify the same? If that is too much to ask (and it very well may be), would you please point me in the right direction?

This is what I replied back to the chap:

The basic foundation of HR is Organizational Behavior. Knowledge and Skills of OB is essential to be a HR professional. Everything else is job contextual and can be learnt :-)
The purpose of HR like other support functions like finance, strategy and marketing is set by top management, and therefore the answers you would get depends on whom you ask.
However, the role for all HR professionals is to influence businesses to pay more attention to the people side of the business.That's my personal viewpoint. That will not happen unless a HR person knows how the business works. The challenge would to be first gain that insight and demonstrate how the topline and bottomline of the firm will get impacted due to any people related initiatives.
Was he satisfied with this answer? I don't know. Maybe he wasn't, as he did not reply back to me. What do you think?