The Real-World Job (HRD)
(An Interview with a HR Manager)
16th, April 2013
Human Resources Management (HRM) is core to any organization. Every organization has its own HRM department, which is in charge of managing the greatest assets in the organization, which are the employees. Since employees are key determinants of the productivity of an organization, the HRM of an organization must manage them in an effective manner, which will ensure that they deliver optimum performance, while enjoying doing their tasks. Human resource managers head the HRM department of an organization, and therefore, control the human resources activities in an organization. In order to find out detailed information about HRM, and the position of human resources management in an organization, I interviewed a human resources manager of a local bank. This essay therefore, focuses on the details of the interview, and from this interview, one gains a deeper understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a human resources manager.
This interview was conducted face-to-face, after seeking an appointment with the human resources manager, who was kind enough to spare some time for the interview, despite her busy schedule. Before the start of the interview, I made some one observation. The interview was scheduled in the morning at eight O’clock. However, when I arrived at the manager’s office, I realized she was in the office earlier than that, and was just from a meeting with other managers from other departments in the bank. Therefore, this showed me how early she had to report to her work. Nonetheless, the interview was insightful, and knowledgeable. I acquired great knowledge and familiarity with the role of a human resources manager, and what entails to be in that position. Considering that this is my area of specialization, the knowledge from this interview will be of great importance to my practice in future.
After the initial greetings and introduction, the interview set off. I first asked her how she began her position in the Human Resources department. She explained that she began from a much lower position in the bank. After her Bachelor’s Degree in human resources management, she applied for the position of a management trainee with the bank, which she was successful to secure after the recruitment interviews with the bank. She was posted in the HRM department, where she worked in this position for about one year. Her roles included keeping and maintaining records of employees, assisting the human resources manager with orientating new employees in the company, and assisting in the process of selection and recruitment in the company, among other tasks. After one year as a management trainee, she was offered an entry-level position in the bank. After three years in this position, she was promoted to an assistant HR manager, then after three more years, she was further promoted to head the HR department of the bank.
Therefore, overall, this HR manager has served this bank for seven years. These are many years; therefore, I sought to know what attracted her to the company. She loves working for the bank, and since her passion was in the banking industry, this is what inspired her to apply for a job in the bank. Therefore, she holds the title of Human Resources Manager in the bank, and has the main function of managing the Human Resources department staff in the bank. In addition, she performs different HR activities, which her juniors cannot perform. These include developing policies for the department and negotiating with business partners.
Human resources manager is quite a senior position in an organization, which requires vast experience and skills. Therefore, I asked her to explain whether the company had trained her while, she was working there, considering she has worked with this company since after her university graduation. She explained that being a management trainee for a year was very important for her, considering she did this in the human resource manager’s office. Therefore, this period gave her vast experience. Additionally, the entry-level and position of assistant HR manager imparted in her great skills and knowledge, with regard to her present position. Overall, at every stage, from being a management trainee, the company offered on-the-job training, which further increased her capability and expertise in her work. Apart from the on-the-job training, she had a mentor who guided her. This was her supervisor during her management traineeship, with whom she developed a close relationship with. This mentorship changed her and developed her professionally, and today, she is a mentor to one of the entry-level employees in the company. Since she realized the importance of mentorship, she wanted to develop other young people too in their careers.
Seven years seems like a long journey in the company. Therefore, I asked her what motivated her to continue working for the company, whether she was offered promotions or other rewards, which motivated her to stick with the company. One thing she likes about the company is that it offers growth opportunities to its employees. Specifically, she has received various promotions, and these come with a pay increase. Therefore, this is part of her motivation to remain in the company. She was promoted from a management trainee to an entry-level job, then to an assistant human resource manager, and finally to her current position. However, she added that the pay increase is justified, since promotions come with added responsibilities. Those are quite a number of promotions within such a short time. Most people wait for many years before getting any promotion. However, for her case, she was considered an outstanding employee. In addition, she had enrolled for a master’s degree programme after her management traineeship, out of her personal decision. She also obtained voluntary certification of Professional in Human Resources (PHR). Therefore, with increased educational level, came promotions. She considers education as a continuous process in life; therefore, she has plans to advance her education beyond a master’s degree. However, she plans to remain in the world of business.
Since I am still a student with aspirations for a career in future, I requested her to advice on how I could get an entry-level job in a company, like a bank. She advised that there was no specific way of doing that, but it all depends on the company. While some companies recruit directly to entry-level jobs, others require one to begin as an intern or management trainee before being promoted to an entry-job level. However, for those recruiting directly for entry-level job, they require both professional experience and academic qualifications. On the other hand, those requiring one to be an intern first, will recruit fresh university graduates with no professional experience. Nonetheless, one must portray the relevant skills in communication, among others, apart from academic prowess. Personally, she likes those young people who are self-driven, time conscious, fast learners, creative, and responsible. Therefore, when it comes to hiring, she would consider these qualities of a person, since these show that the person is promising. She would therefore, recruit a person with these skills but lacks experience, than those with experience, but are complacent, non-thinkers, poor communicators, and irresponsible.
Having worked with the same company for seven years, I wondered whether this human resources manager had realized any major changes in the company. To her, the company seems to be highly dynamic. Within those seven years, the company has expanded, and developed other branches in different cities. Additionally, the number of employees and clients in the company has increased. However, most employees she was recruited with are still working in the company. She associates this with the increase in benefits and rewards, which the company offers employees, including paid leaves, training opportunities, promotions, annual trips, bonuses, among others.
It is common for everyone to have challenges, therefore, besides all the great things that her company offered, I asked about her major challenge in the company. Her greatest challenge in the company roots from the aspect of globalization. The workforce in the company is highly diverse; therefore, employees have different moral, cultural, religious, and social backgrounds and perceptions. Therefore, sometimes it is challenging managing such a highly diverse workforce. However, she manages this by dealing with each employee in his or her own context, and at a personal level. This means she seeks to understand each employee as an individual, and this has worked for her. However, despite working for seven years in this company and all challenges faced, she has no plans of leaving the company soon.
In HR, the interviewee explained that there are various unwritten rules. First, one has to interact with employees at a personal level and at group level to understand and form a relationship with employees. Secondly, a senior HR professional must serve as an example to other employees by adhering to company rules and expectations. This way, employees will ape him or her, thus making it easier for the company to achieve its goals. Asked about actions her office takes when things go wrong or right in the company, she explained that when things go wrong in the company, there is a meeting by senior managers to decide on the most appropriate course of action. On the other hand, if an employee performs well or the company achieves a set target, all employees are rewarded either financially or non-financially, to motivate them.
Finally, as a future employee, I inquired her opinion about hanging out with one’s supervisor beyond working hours. She highly discouraged this, and suggested that it is better to have boundaries, and interact with other employees at the job level, since going overboard might strain the employee-employee relationship and affect one’s work detrimentally. However, this is open and depends on how one relates with their supervisor. About work-family balance, she considered it less straining since she was single, therefore, had no family and children to take care of. That marked the end of the interview, after which I thanked her for her time.
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