The Counsellor: How can I succeed in the HR function?
Vivek Paranjpe, Consultant & Strategic HR Advisor to Reliance Industries answers professional and ethical dilemmas faced by our readers at their workplace.
I am an MBA in marketing from a reputed university and I have been working for more than five years in sales and customer relationship roles in the insurance sector. From September, I have been asked to try my hand at the HR team and I will be handing the recruitment function for the north region with a complete team of HR professionals. During my discussion with my manager, it was identified that as part of my grooming for future leadership roles, I would be required to rotate in key functions of the organization. What can I do to prepare for this role? I am not an HR professional and I am not sure if I will be able to perform. Your advice and experience will be of great value to ensure that I make the best of this opportunity.
It is not uncommon for non HR people to succeed in HR. What you need is the right aptitude, knowledge and skills. Skills and knowledge are not difficult to acquire as long as you have interest and a compelling internal need. Job rotation is certainly one of the methods to groom the future leaders and to that extent it is certainly a good idea to spend some time in the HR function.
Take one step at a time. Now that you are assigned to lead the recruitment function, try to gain adequate knowledge and develop skills in this HR vertical as early as possible. I am sure your company will be willing to make right investments in you for this. Just surf the net and acquire as much information as possible. Read few relevant books and attend some training programs related to interview and selection skills. Engage with your own team to understand the issues, challenges and the opportunities that exist in the recruitment space of your company.
Some specific knowledge areas for you to focus will be: manpower planning, sourcing strategies, interviewing skills, role of job descriptions, competencies for success, etc. Understand the space of job markets, portals, power of social networks in sourcing, the world of head hunters, placement firms, campus recruitment, etc. As you get deeper into recruitment, you will invariably get exposed to other aspects of the HR function like sign on bonuses, compensation fixation, retention plans, etc. There is no one way to develop. Start networking, become part of HR associations like NHRDN, relevant e-groups, and try to get a mentor/coach. I am sure you will quickly come up to speed.
To sum up: Just fix realistic targets and goals for yourself that are aligned to the business. Based on what is on your hand, plunge into learning the relevant things. Try and get a coach/mentor to help you come up to speed. I am sure you will do well with the right efforts.
You can post your questions to Vivek by writing to email@example.com