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Love Helping People? Don’t Go Into HR

Comments 37 Comments   Views 995 Views     About 09-06-2009

Like many HR bloggers, I field several questions a month about how to get started in HR. When I hear that their primary reason for considering entry into the field is that they really love working with and helping people, I almost universally tell them to reconsider HR as a profession. Look, I love the passion and optimism of people that truly love helping people that enter HR. Soon enough though, they figure out their talents can be better used in other fields.

Let’s get something straight: you definitely have to have empathy for people in this position and enjoy the challenges of working with different people in difficult situations. When you are laying off people with families, bills and good company loyalty, I don’t think you can react any other way. When you are helping a person figure out their payouts and beneficiaries for their life insurance because they have terminal cancer, you have to have the right personality and mindset going into the situation. When you are dealing with some of the more sensitive employee relations areas (discrimination, harassment, etc…), having the right approach can be the difference between success and failure.

I don’t know if “Fuzzy Wuzzy HR” (you know, all of the team building, cry on my shoulder, let’s hold hands and sing kum-ba-ya HR philosophies) was ever very successful but it certainly is going the way of the dinosaurs now. Businesses want savvy, business smart HR people that can also relate to the human side of our profession while still keeping the business solvent. It is a balancing act but businesses are demanding that more emphasis be placed on the business end of things.

The problem? People that love helping people (but are less skilled in other areas of HR) are being pushed out of the profession. What businesses are deciding is that you get a person who may be more skilled in HR but less skilled on the people side and perhaps you can prevent some of the instances where you actually need that super high emotional IQ person. If you can avoid layoffs due to better planning or you can offer better training to managers because you have higher skilled HR people, you can feel better about dropping the people person.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that having a high emotional IQ precludes you from having great HR analytic and leadership skills. In fact, the best HR people I know are strong in all of those areas. But I know that many of those people wouldn’t necessarily say their people skills are the biggest part as to why they are successful.

For people who are considering HR and love helping people, learn about HR and see if anything else intrigues you about the profession. If you are coming up short on that analysis, there are a lot of other ways you can help people in corporate America or elsewhere.

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Akshit 13-09-2009  
its very good
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Neha 28-06-2009  
Cool N decent explanation.....
Rams yadav
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Rams yadav 14-06-2009  
nice expaination s i agree in ressision time chance to remove HR people who r highly people oriented so v have different skills for survive ourselves
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Sunil 14-06-2009  
I would like to say it is very apt. that in staratin as hr profession every hr should love his or her work as well as appreceat the work done by worker, our collegue, subordinate, even our superiour and help them .. i would like to thak who has shared this news...

sunil s mudgal
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Elizabeth 11-06-2009  
Heyy.. felt as if this article was written for me....
Always thought (and still think) that HR would be the right profession for me coz I love helping people, being around people.. and basically reaching out...

What all are the qualities of a good and effective HR manager? How to walk the thin rope-line between doing good for the organization and doing ood for its people?
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Priya 10-06-2009  
Good article.. yup i feel the same tat a HR should be strong both in his knowledge about his job and also in being a people`s kinda person... who would need a HR who is more towards the people and isnt saving up money for a company ?? also employees will nevr like / love or respect a HR who is alwys trying to save money for the company rather than actualy listening to their end of the problems and helping them get solutions...

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