The role of Human Resources (HR) has never been more vital – in fact, HR-related job postings have grown by 87% since 2020. HR professionals are the backbone of any organization, driving the growth and success of their company through their expertise in talent management, employee development, and strategic workforce planning.
"It's not just about being a people person - that’s only one part of the equation. For me, it's also about helping the business. I'm interested in solving business problems, and my worldview is that in order to solve them, you need to lean into the people side of things, because ultimately, business is done by people,” says Rebecca Lee, Director of People at Kudos.
Choosing a career in HR brings many possibilities – HR professionals empower individuals to reach their full potential, driving overall organizational success.
The concept of Human Resources Management (HRM) can be traced back to the early 20th century when organizations began recognizing the importance of employee welfare and productivity. In the early 1900s, personnel management emerged as a discipline focused on administrative tasks such as hiring, training, and payroll.
HRM gained prominence in the 1970s and 1980s, emphasizing a strategic approach to managing employees, aligning HR practices with organizational goals, and focusing on employee engagement. In recent decades, HRM has evolved into Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) and talent management, focusing on attracting, developing, and retaining top talent to achieve competitive advantage.
More recently, we’ve seen the integration of technology into HR processes, with the emergence of HR technology solutions, such as applicant tracking systems, performance management software, data analytics tools, and employee recognition and culture solutions like Kudos.
Among many other responsibilities, HR professionals are the champions of organizational culture. With their expertise, they create and nurture a positive work environment that embraces diversity, fosters inclusivity, and nurtures company culture.
HR professionals take on many responsibilities and are put at the forefront of building thriving workplaces that drive employee satisfaction, business growth, and much more.
HR professionals play a crucial role in shaping and nurturing a positive company culture. By fostering an inclusive, diverse, and engaging work environment, they cultivate a sense of belonging, which enhances employee morale and productivity.
“Culture is about aligning people's behaviour to what you want the organization to drive in terms of results and strategy,” says Charlotte Collett, VP of Human Resources at NorthRiver Midstream.
Recruiting and retaining top talent is a top priority for every organization. HR professionals are responsible for attracting skilled individuals who align with the company's goals and values. By implementing effective recruitment strategies and designing comprehensive employee benefits and retention programs, HR ensures the organization has a competitive edge.
HR professionals facilitate continuous learning and growth within the workforce. Through training and development programs, performance evaluations, and coaching initiatives, they help employees maximize their potential, boosting individual and organizational performance.
Staying on top of labor laws, regulations, and compliance requirements is crucial for businesses. HR professionals ensure that companies operate within legal boundaries, mitigating risks and safeguarding the rights of employees.
In the world of HR, not everyone aspires to become a Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO). Many professionals develop a passion for specific HR disciplines and choose to specialize in areas such as:
If you're considering a more focused career path within HR, there are many exciting areas to explore:
HR Coordinators support various essential functions within the department. They assist with recruitment and onboarding processes, coordinating employee benefits and payroll administration, maintaining employee records and databases, and ensuring compliance with HR policies and regulations.
HR Generalists have a broad range of responsibilities across all aspects of HR. They handle recruitment, employee relations, training, performance management, and policy implementation. This versatile role provides a solid foundation for those starting their HR careers.
Recruitment or Talent Acquisition Specialists focus on attracting and hiring top talent. They utilize various sourcing strategies, conduct interviews, and evaluate candidates to identify the best fit for the organization. This role requires strong interpersonal skills and an ability to assess candidates effectively.
“First and foremost, you need to be extremely people-oriented. You need to be comfortable having conversations about anything with candidates and clients left, right and center. I think authenticity is also really important, “ says Niki Murphy, Canadian Talent Acquisition and Talent Advancement Lead at ABB.
These professionals design and implement training programs to enhance employee skills and knowledge. They assess training needs, develop curriculum, and deliver engaging learning experiences. A Training and Development Manager needs a strong grasp of learning principles and a knack for instructional design.
Compensation and Benefits Analysts are responsible for designing and managing employee compensation packages and benefits programs. They conduct market research, develop salary structures, and ensure the organization remains competitive in attracting and retaining talent.
As an HR Director or VP, you serve as the driving force behind the development and implementation of human resources strategies that align with the company's overall goals. They are usually responsible for the creation and execution of HR policies and procedures, ensuring compliance with labor laws and regulations while fostering a fair and inclusive work environment.
“My favorite thing is working with people and the interconnectivity between people and business. How, if you put people in the right positions, and give them the right tools, you can build an organization from nothing to something successful. It’s an amazing thing to see,” says John Odike, Vice President of Human Resources at Wesley Enhanced Living.
HR Business Partners align HR strategies with overall business objectives. They work closely with department heads, providing guidance on workforce planning, organizational development, and employee engagement. This role requires strong analytical skills and the ability to drive change effectively.
HRIS Specialists manage and optimize HR technology systems, such as human resources management software. They ensure data accuracy, streamline processes, and leverage technology to enhance HR operations, reporting, and analytics.
There’s no secret formula when mapping out a career – everyone's career paths are different and even with the same starting point, two people can end up in very different careers. The good news is the possibilities in an HR career are endless.
Career mapping can be a daunting task, but we’ve broken it down into five simple steps to help you map out your ideal career:
For more in-depth career mapping, use our downloadable career planning worksheet to help establish your career goals, reflect on where you’re currently at in your career, and helpful questions and conversation tips to discuss with your manager.
The importance of Human Resources in today's dynamic workplace cannot be overstated, and it is certainly not an area of business that is going away any time soon. HR professionals contribute significantly to creating a harmonious, engaged, and high-performing workforce. There are endless HR career paths – think about choosing a specialization that aligns with your interests and strengths, and what will make you feel successful in your journey.
Remember, whether you are an aspiring HR professional or an HR veteran seeking growth opportunities, investing in your HR skills, staying up to date with industry trends, and continuously expanding your knowledge will propel your career forward and make you an invaluable asset to any organization.
Kudos is an employee engagement, culture, and analytics platform, that harnesses the power of peer-to-peer recognition, values reinforcement, and open communication to help organizations boost employee engagement, reduce turnover, improve culture, and drive productivity and performance. Kudos uses unique proprietary methodologies to deliver essential people analytics on culture, performance, equity, and inclusion, providing organizations with deep insights and a clear understanding of their workforce.Talk to Sales