Profession of Human Resource Management and Development – Who Should Join and Who Should Not

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Profession of Human Resource Management and Development (HRM & D), call it by any name – HR Operations, HR-Generalist, Recruitment, Talent Management, Training and Development, Employee Relations, Industrial Relations, Organization Development, Performance Management or Compensation and Benefits…they all come under the umbrella of HRM & D. So, let me start with one question for HR Professionals across the globe, why you joined HR Profession? Was it your first choice or you joined because you didn’t had any other choice? I like to ask the HR aspirants, why they want to join this profession? What do they think is the skill required to enter into this profession and excel in this profession? Is it that anybody or everybody can join this profession and there are some qualities that one must posses before even thinking of joining this profession? Recently we had discussion that many people hate HR, so what you have in you…as a professional that people should love you and this profession.

These and many more similar questions just stormed into my mind and I thought of discussing these questions with you. Let’s start with a set of skills which, I think a HR Professional should posses, first do be in this profession and secondly to excel in this profession.

Why should you join HR Profession? Who should join?

One should join HR profession, if they have any of the following qualities:

1) You are very good in legal aspects particularly Labour Laws. You have thorough knowledge about various provisions of Labour Laws, Various forms associated with those laws and implications.

2) You are excellent in Database Management and can Generate N number of reports in just fraction of seconds.

3) You are very good with Number- statistical tools, Mathematical Formulae, Income Tax Provisions (particularly those related to Salary), Costing (Cost Analysis).

4) You have a sharp eye for recognizing the talent, talent identification, talent management and talent development. (Just like Bhuvan did in movie Lagan – Oscar Nominated Movie)

5) You are great negotiator and can negotiate a best deal with management and employees (Read it as Trade Unions)

6) You are an excellent motivator and can motivate any person to get best out of him. You have a talent to motivate and inspire a non-performer in such a way that over a period of time that person gets counted in the high-performers of your organization and starts getting rewards for his performance.

7) You are a great strategist. You can think like “Chankaya”; you are clever “Birbal” (Both are characters from Indian History) and an Cajole people like Lord Krishna (A mythological Character)

8) You are much matured. You don’t think from your heart but you are empathetic. You are not emotional but can understand the way people think. You can solve any work related or professional problem of any of your employee, without getting carried away.

9) You are great in crisis management. If there is any incident or accident in the organization; if there is any rumour in the organization or any crisis…you can ensure that a minimum possible damage is caused…keeping in mind the interests of the organization and its people.

10) You have deep knowledge about various industries. You are like a knowledge hub. You know all about who’s who in the field; business models; success stories (case studies) and best practices being adopted by different companies in different industries.

11) You are not a great leader but an excellent leader, who can inspire their team and can get best out of them. No one wants you to be Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela but yes, you need to be like Ricky Pointing or Steve Waugh (Cricket Captain of Australia ) or like Hansie Cronje (Former Cricket Captain of South Africa) or like Saurav Ganguly (Former Cricket Captain of India).

12) They are life long learners. They never think that…it’s enough. They keep on learning…new HR related Techniques, HR Strategist, about new-new businesses etc.

But, why people join this profession?

A. I spoke to few people, those who are freshers or who are just pursuing their MBA’s with specialization in HR and they mentioned that they want to be in this profession because it is a “Tension Free Profession”.

B. Most of the females join this profession for following reasons:

a) Of course they want to work and this is the only “decent job” in corporate world which, gives them respect and dignity.

b) They don’t want to join “field jobs” (Marketing).

c) They hate mathematics so don’t like finance and

d) This is the only profession where time suits them…as per the family needs and restrictions.

C. Some people say “we tried to get into many professions…my father wanted me to be a doctor; my mother wanted me to be an engineer; my brother wanted me to be a Chartered Accountant and I wanted a scientist; my brother asked me try in Hotel Management and my uncle who is a Air force wanted me to be a pilot…I tried all…but I failed. Now, I am living…so need to do some work to earn and grow hence at last I joined HR”.

What others think about this profession?

1) “Oh, your job is not that difficult. What you people does, anybody can do and for that you don’t even need MBA. Even a graduate can do this job.

2) “Oh, ok, so you job is that Na…which involves filling so many forms, maintaining files and settling the claims”.

3) “Ok, so you give the salary”

4) These days HR is a Synonym of recruitment. Tell anybody that you are in HR and they will reply, “Oh, OK so you are a recruiter”.

5) There was one CEO (my friend) looking for HR Manager for his company (He is a CEO of one IT company, where they have 150+ employees) and he asked me to help him in finding a right person. They one day he said, “Sanjeev, I have dropped the idea of hiring a HR-Manager, Admin guy is doing the “HR Work” and he is handling it in a better manner. Now the things are running smooth and I don’t want to complicate the process by hiring a HR Manager. Earlier, I had one HR Manager and at that time my organization was in mess”.


Image of HR Profession in the public or in the corporate world is not very good and we are not doing much to improve the same. I feel sad when people ask queries like:

1) What is the concept of CTC?

2) What is the difference between Offer-Letter and Appointment-Letter?

3) How many leaves we should give to our employees?

4) How to calculate attrition rate or rate per hire?

5) What components of salary are taxable?

And then when someone comes and says that we hate HR…such people just look at their face. It looks silly and sad. We need to raise our own standard, attitude and style of work. Nobody can help us. We need to help ourselves. Or else the day is not very far away, when the companies will be outsourcing the total HR-Functions and HR will only be there as “Consultancy Firms” or “Outsourced Company”. Nobody wants to hire and keep problems. I think, that will be good. Companies will be having choice to choose BEST (Consulting firm or Outsourcing Partners) from the market.


They also shared their views:

1. Mr. Atul Marwah: “I must congratulate you on being so candid and honest . I fully agree with every word of your article. I think that people like you who have guts to bring out the truth – rather stark nacked truth would be the one who would make a difference”.

2. Ms Rose Balana: “Thanks Sanjeev. I learned a lot. You are right we should raise our standards”.

3. Ms. Shirin Ladhani: “Thanks for this article………nice reading material on HR….infact a good help to people like me who are strongly motivated to start their careers in HR”.

4. Mr. Dip Ghosh: “The article really touched me. One cant hit the nail on the head more. After 12 years in this HR profession in cross section of industries, I have seen the ignomy and lackadaisical attitude of people towards HR as if it is a necessary evil. And as you said rightly, none but we r responsible for the mess we are in. Often I hear complaint from my colleagues that “Oh the CEO (Who is generally a marketing / Finance / Engineer guy) doesn’t bother to consult the HR”. But do HR contribute significantly in core company activity so that we can warrant attention from the CEO. Probably not. The chances of a Chartered Accountant compromising with his professional ethics is far less compared to a HR guy who easily succumbs to the whims and fancies of the top management because he hardly have a professional body to eport back”.

5. Mr. Prasad SKR: “You have raised an interesting topic that needs to be discussed at length”.

6. Mr. IVNS Raju : “I like the line of argument of Mr. Ghosh who is very clear in what he says. The HR profession probably becomes justifyable only when it can latch itself to a body of knowledge that is more reliable than the psychometric tests and various HR Models that are rooted in the ability to use the English Language with a unique knack. The Institutes rolling out batches after batches need to introspect about the knowledge and skill that they impart and the attitudes that they profess to have a positive impact on the delivery of HR services”.

7. Geetha Murthy : “Thanks Sanjeev. It is great food for thought.Agree with the ‘qualities which are a must’ for HR professionals.I can take pleasure and pride in saying I am in HR by choice and not by chance. I have a passion for HRM & D. And personally, when HR Aspirants ask me, I tell them what it takes to be there apart from their MBA degree. Within my own individual capacity, trying to bring about change in those who think wrong about HR professionals and I am sure such pieces from you would do us all good if we can forward the link to those who have mis-conception about HR department”.


Looking forward to your comments and feedback


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