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Why the heck did I choose a career in Human Resources?

Why do I work in Human Resources (HR)?

This is a question that myself, and, I am sure, many other HR professionals ask themselves on a regular basis. We question it when people incessantly ask the same thing and, when staff believe that everything is HR’s fault. We question it when COVID hits the world and suddenly everything changes, and HR have to jump into action with furloughs and redundancies, whilst throwing a health and safety hat on, for good measure.

However, the reality of the questions that come from those people, and the blame they may throw at us, is because people just want to do well; they want to be recognised and want to feel motivated, and sometimes they just don’t understand what is going on, or what they are supposed to do, especially if communication is poor. When something like COVID happens, people become scared and confused because everything changes, and they don’t know what that means for them.

That is because people are human.

I had a little look at the Cambridge dictionary, at a definition of human, and one thing stood out to me - Human: having the qualities, faults, and feelings that people have, as opposed to gods, animal, or machines:

Wow; I’m not sure about the faults of gods or machines (animals I have seen), but there is one thing I do know; humans (people) have feelings, and many different ones!

That’s where I find, that questioning my career choice spins completely around. People have a multitude of feelings, and they need someone who can understand, empathise and retain that personal touch when they are going through difficult situations.

I can’t imagine a business world without HR, but maybe that’s because I am firmly placed in the middle of it. Can you?

I have no doubt that some would feel it would be a better place without us, however I would argue that you haven’t had the right HR people looking after you, both as a business owner and a staff member.

Business owners rely on us, not only to give them good advice but to act as a conduit between themselves and the people, for many reasons and different circumstances. 

Yes, sometimes they also forget HR are human, and they ask a lot from us. It’s okay - HR will sort that out. Ooh, there’s a problem with the toilets – HR have got that. What do you mean your company car has broken down – ok, I will get HR on it.  Let’s face it, these are additional reasons for questioning our career choices, however, I believe that, what makes true HR professionals thrive is the challenge, the variety, the frustration, and the satisfaction of knowing that you have resolved a situation to the best possible solution, with the human touch,

I have to admit that I thrive on the things that most people dislike, Those difficult situations, like redundancies, are so hard for those affected and those involved with them, but personally, what I try to do, is to make it as painless as possible for everyone by ensuring there is a human touch throughout the “process”. That’s not to say I enjoy making people redundant, but if it has to happen, let’s do it with dignity. People deserve the respect from us!

Friends often say to me “how do you do it?” or “I couldn’t do your job”. The truth is, anyone with an ounce of compassion, common sense and humanity could, but you need to throw in a chunk of bravery too.

Sometimes you hear people reference different names - Personnel (not for a while), Human Resources or People. I’ve even had my department called human remains in the past - seriously!?

There are so many different conversations about what we should be called, My team is currently called People and I actually love the reality of that. We are there to support both the people and the business with huge emphasis on the welfare of the people.

No matter what we are called, or what any of you choose to call us (behind our backs) we are there to do what’s right, for both the business and its humans. We will always be there to connect businesses with their people, and that is why, the heck, I chose HR as a career!

Sian Cox

Business Owner – People Connections HR Consultancy Ltd

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