Unlike positions such as Accounts Manager, Finance Manager or Legal Manager which require at least a diploma or degree in Accounting, Finance or Law, a Human Resource (HR) Manager does not need to have a degree in Human Resource to be such. You could be a graduate in Business Management, Sports Science, TESL and so forth, but as long as you are willing to work hard to acquire the necessary knowledge and experience, then you are ready to map your career towards becoming a Human Resource Manager.
In many instances, HR officers are promoted through the ranks of the company. This is because such HR officer have acquired a firm understanding of the policies, environment and culture of the organization . They know how the company works, the issues commonly faced and the way the company handles those issues.
But how do you know whether you are suitable for the job? Let’s start from the beginning.
Functions of the Human Resource Department
The process of managing relationship between employees and the organization that employs them is known as Human Resource Management (HRM). It is not an easy thing to do as it requires an understanding about managing people effectively – starting with placing the right person (with the right skills and abilities) in the right position within the organization in order to meet the needs of the organization, to creating a harmonious working environment, and resolving conflicts or disputes when they arise.
Human Resource Officer
Begin your career in HR as an HR Officer/Executive. But before that, you should ask yourself whether it’s the job for you. A career in HR necessitates a range of personal qualities and skills, from the ability to work with a diversity of people to the advancement of the organization’s goals.
Basically, you could be a good Human Resource officer if you :
- Love helping others grow and succeed, but is also able to stand firm on matters of principles;
- Are interested in developing employees’ skills and abilities according to the company’s needs;
- Possess a good written and oral communication skills;
- Adequate computer and mathematical skills;
- Discreet and able to keep office secrets; and
- Have the patience to deal with problems involving people and the organization.
The functions of an HR Officer are diverse but generally it involves helping others in the organization with their work-related problems, and sometimes, even not-so-related problems….:D
It would not be a bad idea if somewhere at this stage, you attend courses or acquire a certificate as a certified HR officer. Through the course, you will gain knowledge on the specific laws, practices and procedures that are used in human resources.
Once you’re good at doing your job as a HR officer, and has been promoted to a Senior HR Officer/Executive then start striving to reach another stage – Assistant HR Manager.
Human Resource Assistant Manager
After a few years of experience as an HR Officer/Executive/Senior Executive, you could be promoted as a HR Assistant Manager. Unlike HR Officers who are monitored and supervised by the HR Manager, an HR Assistant Manager has bigger responsibilities and needs to be able work under minimal supervision. An HR Assistant Manager will be given more control and will also be delegating duties to others besides monitoring their performance.
If you want to be an HR Assistant Manager you must have:
- Leadership quality – necessary in supervising and monitoring those reporting to you. Be a good role-model and lead by example. Their performance will reflect on you.
- Organization skills – you are no longer reliant on getting orders from the HR Manager, instead you’ll be managing others as well as doing your duties. So, you must know how to manage time, dateline, delegating duties and so forth.
- Training – you will be responsible not only for training those that report to you, but also assisting other departments in ensuring that the staff are well equipped and trained to perform their functions well.
- Motivating other employees and helping them to improve their performance for the benefit of the organization
- Be aware of the employer’s and employees’ needs and expectations – always find ways to fill the gap to make the organization stronger.
Among the functions of an HR Assistant Manager are:
- Supervise employee relations which includes managing absence, handling disciplinary actions, grievances, etc.
- Measure employee satisfaction and identify areas that require improvement, and always ready to advise employees on company benefits.
- Assisting other Managers and their teams in handling performance management issues and processes.
- Working with other Managers, identify areas that require attention or improvement and determine trainings and development plans.
- Knowledgeable on matters of the organization’s policies, procedures and processes, and ensuring their proper implementation and also that they are in line with current employment laws.
At this stage, your oral and written communication skills must be excellent, and that means being excellent in both Bahasa Malaysia and English. And your knowledge in employment laws must be tip-top. Be prepared to stand confidently in the middle of conflict on a daily basis and dealing with challenging employees, including senior colleagues.
It would not be a bad idea at this stage if you were to acquire a degree in Human Resource Management (HRM). It covers a wide array of topics such as HR Management, HR Development, Industrial Relations, Law of Employment, Conflicts in Organization, and so forth. These days, it should not be a problem as there are many off-campus or part-time and also online courses available for your convenience.
After you’ve gained the necessary skills and experience, you could be ready to handle the larger responsibility as an HR Manager where you would be in charge of heavier tasks including ensuring that the company policies are in compliance with local, state and federal laws.