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Human Resources Stereotype Breaker

If you’ve ever seen The Office US, you may recall Michael Scott’s (irrational) utter loathing of the HR guy, as someone who he believes has been sent to plague him as a fun sponge and deadly enforcer of ‘the rules’.

Some people might tell you that working in HR is essentially a lot of paper pushing, and that you won’t necessarily get that much variety in a role. Compared to the front office players within a bank or fund organisation, it can be very easy to overlook the work those in HR do in the first instance. So let’s sort that out! What’s the reality?

What’s the real deal?

The HR team in a business are the worker ants who keep everything moving along and link the departments together. From the initial recruitment stages, through to the career development and talent management and anything that comes along with the end of someone’s time with a company, in whatever manner that may be, they are responsible for selecting ‘the talent’, coming up with ways to hold onto it, and stepping in to handle any people problems in the work place.

It’s true that some HR roles will involve making sure that standards are upheld, for example as part of health and safety, or within specific recruitment or resignation or dismissal procedures. However, without these guidelines and rules, companies would seriously struggle to function properly and could put themselves at risk of running into trouble with regulatory boards.

Drones & auto-drive?

So does HR mean human robot? No way! Yes, HR professionals do have to be extremely organised (if they’re not then then the whole office or business could unravel!), but there is actually a great deal of creativity involved in these roles as well.

In areas such as talent management, for example, you constantly have to think up ways of motivating and developing the people in the company to get the best out of them. And you’ve got to have a good sense of people too; you have to utilise an empathetic stance to help mediate in complaint issues, negotiate between different parties, spot the shining star in a pile of (online) applications and listen to what staff need in order to succeed in this industry. A far cry from a robotic paper pusher!

HR reps: a qualified bunch…

Some people may also disregard HR as an industry that isn’t quite stimulating enough, or doesn’t offer them the career progression they crave following their studies. Again, this is quite a distorted image of what modern HR in business and finance involves.

Many people in this industry are highly qualified and have extensive knowledge of specialist areas. A grasp of employment law is essential at senior levels – some even have legal qualifications. There are a number of professional qualifications to obtain in this field, so there’s plenty of scope for career and personal development.

Entry routes aren’t restricted to graduate level either; you can find HR school leaver programmes and apprenticeships at a number of banking and finance employers!