Working in HR is so much more than doing some administrative work here and there as it as it was traditionally known. It requires a high level of creative thinking and problem-solving skills to manage the variety of complex tasks that are critical to the success of the business. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in this field, check out what our People Partner, Mandy Randon had to say about her experience in this role.

What does it mean to be a People Partner? What do you do?

As a people partner you are the first point of contact with the most valuable part of a business, its people. Our responsibilities vary from conducting interviews, reviews, regular check-ins and working on any people related projects. You’ll be a fundamental part of both the people and the business, demonstrating an understanding of the business and acting as a leader
by building relationships with all managers, by supporting and strengthening their teams to achieve their strategic goals.

What should one expect from a typical day?

No day is the same, it’s ironic as when I first started expressing my interest in HR I was often faced with ‘but HR is so boring’ and that couldn’t be further from the truth! There is so much variety in my day-to-day and in fact you need to be quite the multitasker! An ordinary day for an HR professional includes a wide variety of tasks and duties, including:

  • Supporting our people.
  • Searching for talent.
  • Onboarding new employees.
  • Administrative duties.
  • Work closely with management and employees to improve work relationships, build morale, increase productivity and retention.
  • Identify training needs for teams and individuals.
  • Manage performance.
  • Organize team events & wellness programmes.
  • Provide a great workspace for employees.

What are key traits to thrive in this position?

When it comes to my role as a People Partner, helping others is the number one reason why I love doing what I do. It is so rewarding to offer an ear to listen, offer solutions, or help brainstorming how to tackle challenges.

You need to be helpful, empathetic, caring, and have strong problem-solving skills, whether that involves working out disagreements among co-workers, figuring out how to educate your employees on benefit offerings, or explain why particular company policies are important, people partners should always be prepared to think and act fast.

In this type of role, you must be a good listener and a great communicator. A core function of every HR professional is to act as an organization’s facilitator of effective communication between employees and management, being able to communicate your ideas and decisions effectively will help you tackle whatever comes your way.

Are you super organized? Great! You need strong organization skills, because HR professionals are entrusted with many different types of confidential information, and you need to provide security and protection of that information. HR is pulled in so many directions and interrupted throughout the day that you need to be able to switch gears at the drop of a hat. Invest in sticky notes, to-do lists or whatever helps you prioritize your day!

What are the main challenges you will be faced with in this role? Any tips you can share on how to mitigate these challenges?

Making tough decisions! As much as it is great to be a ‘People Person’ you also need to keep in mind that you play a big part in the requirements for the business. Unfortunately, you’ll have to put what is best for the company ahead of your personal desires, whether that’s assisting with layoffs or scaling back employee benefits, being able to make the right call for the good of the business is a challenging yet important and necessary skill to have.

Are there any benefits that usually revolve around this role?

You meet great people and work with great talent, and you get the opportunity to work with a variety of people from different backgrounds!
Another perk is it’s so easy to weave your hobby into the job, if you’ve got the social media bug, you can get into employer branding. Perhaps you have a flair for creative writing? Then you can create content for original job ads or descriptions. Maybe you’re a gym rat or social king or queen you can organize company events or health workshops, this list is endless!

You never get bored! One day you may be helping an employee with changes in their health insurance application, and the next, you could be dealing with company re-organization. Challenges like these can keep work interesting and fun no matter how long you’ve been in the field.

 What advice would you give to someone who wants to start in this line of work? 

Almost every company, large or small, needs HR professionals to manage employee relations, oversee recruitment, and administer benefits. From growing employee engagement internally to working as a high-level recruiter, there are a variety of HR career paths you can pursue depending on your interests.

While some companies may allow experience as a substitute for a degree, People Partner positions typically require a bachelor’s degree, ideally in human resources, business management or a related field. If a degree sounds too daunting, you might want to start off with a certified course that could be a good introduction to the HR world, such as:  Employment Law & New Technologies, Recruiting Foundations, HR Diplomas, and so on.

If you don’t have any experience, look for internships or entry-level jobs like a HR Admin or Assistant roles. Work on your resume and cover letter to make your current skills and tasks relevant to HR to help you get your first foot in the door.

 Working in HR can sometimes be hard, but it can also be immensely rewarding. If you consider yourself a people person, a strong problem solver, and can communicate well, then a career in human resources might be your calling!

Mandy RandonPeople Partner