Years ago, HR management was primarily considered as a “paper pusher” role. The HR professionals were supposed to hire and fire people and to maintain employee records. Today, HR department is far more dynamic and is playing an essential role in a business’s long-term talent development strategy.

Apart from all the different caps the HR professionals wear, their primary role is to help an organization’s most valuable asset: its people. So before you begin your career in human resources, make sure to thoroughly go through the core requirements of the industry and the functions you’ll be expected to perform.

Understanding the ‘Human’ side of HR

Compliance and policies aside, a human resources professional is always expected to focus on the human aspect of HR. It’s a part that requires them to read souls, balance a cast of personalities, speak different emotional and professional languages, and strategically place people where they can be the most effective.

Leaving a legacy

The best HR people are driven by an intrinsic desire to leave a legacy of positively impacting lives. The best idea is to know the business just as well as your business partners and to lead your conversations with both data and passion for people. If you want to leave a legacy, you’ll have to treat each colleague empathetically.

Understanding the realities of HR

HR is often very transactional and administrative so there are hardly any colleagues visiting HR office each day. According to HR experts, if people are visiting HR office on frequent basis, HR department is not doing its job. It’s the HR’s responsibility to make sure that the right policies, procedures, training and benefits are in place to help employees remain productive, engaged and motivated.

Serving as an unbiased business partner

The real HR leaders are those who have the ability to suggest, influence and drive change. You can begin by learning what to share with whom and when. By being a consistent, fair and approachable player of your organization, you’ll be able to build meaningful professional relationships. This attitude will help you strengthen your proficiency in driving company initiatives and delivering result that are required within the business.

Networking with the HR leaders

Professional networking is the key to your success in the HR industry. Find mentors who are already industry leaders and success coaches. Network with them, listen to them and learn from their vast reservoir of experiences. By doing this, you won’t just be contributing to your own career development but will also become valuable to the organization that you’ll be serving.

Not all HR positions are equal

While you build up your career in human resources, keep in mind that not all HR positions are created equal. While a human resources professional at one company might entail a range of HR duties, another company may have him do duties that are split up. You need to research different functions and areas of HR such as recruitment, employee relations, benefits, payroll, etc. – and see which interests you the most.

Bringing it all together

The primary role of a human resources professional is to help people. Although many other functions fall under the umbrella of HR, the common desire of all HR professionals should be to work with and help others. If this prerequisite doesn’t give you a sense of satisfaction, think twice and it might be best for you to pick another field.