Most times when I interview prospective employees, I like to ask about their career goals and future plans. For most admin and operations talents, the answer is mostly, “I want to work in Human Resources.” When I proceed to ask why, the most common response is, “I love working with people.” I always chuckle at that answer.
Before I started my HR career, people would ask me why I was hellbent on working in HR, and I’d always say, “I love interacting with people and I love identifying training needs and coming up with training plans for people.” Of course my answer is slightly different now, but let me scream this loud – I AM TIRED OF INTERACTING WITH PEOPLE!! Not tired in that sense, but you get the gist. Now let’s get down to you – the key thing is to start where you are. If there’s no HR dept in your company, here are some things you can do:
- Offer to write/tweak the handbook.
- Draft some policies (proper office conduct policy, recruitment policy, attendance policy, drug and alcohol usage policy, etc).
- During recruitment, ask your boss if you can assist with sorting CVs and recommending talents.
- If your company does not have an employee relations system, build one. Talk to your bosses about bonding as a team, it can be weekly, fortnightly, monthly or quarterly. Introduce fun activities that everyone can participate in. If you’re not a fun person, it’s okay to ask someone to assist in organizing. If you are vocal and tactical, you can be the spokesperson of the staff, and be the bridge between your employers and employees. This is a very tricky one since you’re not exactly the HR person, that’s why I mentioned tact.
- Now at this stage, I don’t expect you to have access to employee files and documents, but how do take control of that? Easy. Implement an on-boarding process. Before a new staff resumes, ask your boss if you can handle orientation, then show your boss the on-boarding system you’ve come up with and tell him/her/them how you plan on implementing it. When you’ve proven that you’re capable of handling this, your boss should be more than happy to hand it over to you.
If there’s an existing HR department in your company, start assisting, let the HR Manager know you are available to help with some of their responsibilities. Please do not desert your own responsibilities while doing this as one of the key skills of an HR personnel is multi-tasking.
People will tell you to get certified first but you really do not need that to start a career in HR. Actually, most organisations do not ask entry level HR officers for certifications, this only comes up when you’re applying for a mid-level role. So like I said earlier, start from where you are – build an HR team/department or learn from the existing HR team in your organization. Three to six months after this, you can start working towards getting certified.