2020 has been a really strange year for all of us, but one of the benefits that has come from the year, has been the time to reflect and focus upon what are the most important things to us.
We swapped our boardrooms for kitchen tables, created home working spaces and got our head around Zoom really quickly! But for many people it has given them an opportunity to review their careers and development plans, for some, this may mean changing careers altogether.
Previously, HR was primarily seen as a processing department, hiring and firing and keeping employee records up to date. Today, HR departments are much more dynamic, and have played a pivotal role in leading businesses through the most challenging climate which has never been experienced before.
HR has been in demand from the start of the pandemic, and with it becoming a business priority, the demand for HR support is essential for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Having started my own HR consultancy in February 2020, I’ve seen my business go from strength to strength, starting out with only 3 clients in the beginning, to now having over 30 clients based throughout the UK. Additionally it was awarded Best Virtual HR Consultancy 2020 by SME News which was incredible to achieve in Rebox HR‘s first year of trading.
Despite the challenges faced by HR, for some it seems like incredibly interesting work and it certainly is that; to quote my book Launch Your HR Career “Ultimately it’s the variety that attracts most of us to the profession in the first place. After all, when you work in a people profession, only one thing is guaranteed, and that is its unpredictability”.
Finding purpose – it’s all about you!
When you are passionate about what you do, you will work through the challenges, you focus on the tasks at hand and you find a sense of purpose, that is something that can only be found when you are doing a job or have a career you love. HR is now more than ever in a position to make a difference to businesses and the employees within those businesses, so it is quickly becoming a career with purpose.
As with any career change, it is always important to do your research, from a personal level, I researched HR for eight months before I began applying for HR positions, my only regret is not having the confidence to do it sooner! Here are my top tips to consider before making the leap into HR:
Research and understand the realities of HR
HR is very transactional and has a heavy administrative focus, record keeping, data accuracy and ensuring this is up to date at all times is incredibly important. HR’s role is to make certain the right policies, procedures, training and benefits are in place to help employees remain productive, engaged and motivated and sometimes a counselling service to line managers!
Impartiality is your best friend
It is easy to get caught up in the business politics, but by getting involved with these politics, really takes your eye off the objectives and also hinders your ability to have an unbiased view, this impacts upon your reputation so keep your ears open, but remain impartial at all times. Strategic HR professionals are trusted advisers who can influence and drive change, your ability to be consistent, fair and approachable will build meaningful relationships and improve your professional profile making your contribution valuable to the business.
I remember at the beginning of my career, I was super excited and keen to impress my peers, whilst this is a good thing, sometimes it can seem like we are running before we can walk. So take it one day at a. time, take time to listen and absorb the work environment, the characters within it and focus on developing yourself to become the best version of yourself.
Make mistakes and learn from them
The best moments of my career aren’t the award nominations, it’s the journey it has taken to get there, it is what shapes us into the HR professional we eventually become. My advice is to simply take your time, make mistakes, but be accountable for them and remember you are human, don’t let it knock your confidence. HR is written in full colour, not black and white, I didn’t have all the answers and I would make mistakes along the way, but would always put my hand up and admit those mistakes; this helped me grow and develop into the career I am privileged to enjoy today.
So if you are considering HR as a career, I cannot recommend it enough, the past few months have indeed been a rollercoaster, but that is what makes us more resilient and relevant to the businesses we work with and for. Embrace the journey, good, bad and ugly!