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Debunking the myths of HR jobs

Shanjida Hossain | Published: September 19, 2019 00:16:45 | Updated: September 19, 2019 19:10:37


One of the most common statements a potential corporate worker or an undergraduate student  is that human resource management (HRM) jobs do not have value. The value here refers to relevance and competence of the job. Hence, while pursuing a profession, one gets easily steered away from such jobs by senior advisers or friends who unfortunately hold many misconceptions about the field.

Generally, HRM does deal with humans but its functions simply does not end there. And as a developing nation, Bangladesh has to put significant amount of emphasis on developing this particular sector for a sustainable economic growth of this country. Before that, it is necessary to endow the citizens of this nation with proper knowledge about how crucial the role of HR professionals are.

Here are five myths of HR jobs that frighten potential HR professionals away from a lucrative career path.

HR only hires and fires employees

Many people have a common perception that HR professionals just sit on the interview board, assess interviewees and offer jobs to people who they like.

"HR ensures constant productivity by fitting the right people with the right job and transforming them into suitable resources with everything at their disposal. This is done to prepare them for their professional lives. The intent is to carefully plan about the present and the future with the right group of workers," commented Jannatul Fatima Orni, coordinator, HR and Capacity Building of SAJIDA Foundation.

The purpose of interviews is exceedingly generalised by people, especially those who think they are done as a formality. Interviews are done to comprehend which candidates will lead to a perfect person-job fit and person-organisation fit. The interviewers prepare a checklist beforehand that contains the required criteria of a probable offeree which needs to be met. The entire session needs high analytical skills and intense decision-making capacities since an organisation's future depends on the quality of employees that are hired.

Moreover, HR professionals suggest appropriate training and developmental modules for newcomers and even existing job holders of the company. They plan on ways to motivate employees and bring them back on track. They plan on giving tangible rewards to employees to maintain their motivational levels and strategise to improvise job satisfaction levels. The role of HR workers encompass the workplace environment, psychological welfare of the employees and taking concrete initiatives to maximise the talents of the firm's employees by aligning them with the organisational goals and objectives.

There are less opportunities in HR jobs

With the ever-increasing pace of technology and introduction to artificial intelligence (AI), a lot of threats are being imposed on several job sectors. However, that is not applicable for HR jobs and it is predicted that the human resource fields are predicted to grow by 21 per cent by 2020. These kinds of careers are involved with decision-making, problem solving and having even the slightest human emotion and understanding for other people. Such forms of higher mental functions are nearly impossible to replicate in machines since brain is the most complex part of a human body.

Naim Uddin, serving a bank in Bangladesh, stated, "Until robots and AI are becoming that great to replace, there is a vast scope for HR to develop their organisational members." He further explained that critical issues such as salary negotiation is still a key performance indicator (KPI) for many HR professionals and when someone is negotiating with a human, skilled people with empathy and business understanding will be required there. Moreover, understanding the development areas of a department or its employees and arranging required personal development training will be a key opportunity for the HR people. HR professionals need to have stronger networking skills to know what competitors are doing and what else they can do for the wellbeing of the employees. There is intelligence and analysis required here which for the time being machines cannot do. Also, developing a better recruitment process to find out the best candidates without any bias is another opportunity for HR in the coming days.

HR jobs do not require qualifications

 HR professionals must have excellent communication skills, convincing and negotiating capabilities, management skills and multitasking skills. This set of skills are rare to find and hence not everyone can embark on the journey of this field.

Nusrat Ferdous, a new employee also working in the banking industry, has said, "Bangladeshi corporations often do not believe in equality, fairness and justice. Employees are often not treated as humans who need a proper work-life balance. The workers' concerns and issues are overlooked or neglected because managers do not understand the importance of security, safety and motivation of its workers. A board of aware and educated HR members will teach managers about such matters and bring out solutions to these problems."

Value for money is only delivered when employees feel the need to put up a splendid valuable performance. It has to come from within and it is the duty of HR managers to nurture and sustain this feeling within its workers.

HR always takes the company's side

Angela Nguyen, vice president of talent management at Ad Exchange group, stated, "In its highest form, HR endeavours to uphold the values of the company and take compliance, budgetary needs and strategic goals in mind when navigating opposing views and needs." 

Without employees, organisations are as good as human beings without bloodstream. Employees act as the fluid dimension for transmission of all tasks and their satisfaction levels are important.

HR makes the decisions

"HR makes recommendations, not decisions. HR should be the key strategic department, but that is rarely the case. Operations are determined by ownership. That line between the recommendation/decision-making is often misunderstood by staff. Obviously, if a company is not profitable, it must downsize or close," said Patricia Sharkey, founder and HR consultant of Sharkey HR Advisors. Hence, it is incorrect to blame the HR for all sorts of deviations of the firm and assume that all problems can be sorted out by the HR department.

The importance and contribution of HR jobs are underestimated in Bangladesh. These are more attributed with clerical tasks that involve doing day-to-day office tasks, such as answering phones and computing values in spreadsheets. However, an HR profession is more than that. The HR team is the skeleton of an organisation.

Just like how a family is run by parents who oversee and monitor all the activities of the household and any deviance is sorted out tactfully and with care, HR professionals do the same for a firm.

Hopefully, the five major myths of HR jobs have successfully been debunked in this article to motivate the upcoming talents to think about such a lucrative career path. 

The writer is a second-year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka.  She can be reached at
shanjida7f@gmail.com

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