Sep 5, 2011

HR and that question again

On Twitter and on email I have had a couple of students of HR write to me, asking if they have done the correct thing by choosing to do a HR course/Specialization in their post-grad program.

Their doubts are fueled by their family members, and friends who tell them that career-wise HR is a dead-end job, how all employees hate it, that you never make enough money compared to other functions, etc. etc.

There are no easy answers to such questions.

My fundamental belief is that HR is one of the most impactful functions within an organizations. If done well, and if leveraged well (by progressive leaders) it can become the real competitive differentation between organizations.

However, it is easier said than done. And there are various reasons for that - here are the reasons:

  1. There are few organizations that understand the importance of HR - and therefore the vast majority of HR jobs that are available are clerical, administrative and mind-numbing
  2. Due to point 1. the much better talent choose to go to external facing roles like Sales or more strategic roles like Finance
  3. The quality of HR faculty in B Schools - with a few exceptions - is quite dismal. The quality of curriculum is worse, if its possible.
  4. The number of HR openings is low - because its a support function - and students think they would have a better chance of getting a job in Sales
All these factors contribute to a vicious cycle that needs to be broken, and it can be broken by two different approaches. The growth of the HR industry and a revamp in the understanding what HR means - as well as an innovative HR leader who will act as a role model. 

Earlier post:

What do you think?

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