3 Tips for Entering the HR Profession in 2017

If you are studying to become a human resources manager, you’ve made a great career choice.  While this field is growing at a rate of 9% (which is about the average), it is a highly-paid profession.  Indeed, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that you can earn a median salary of $51.40 per hour, or $106,910 per year.  But human resources is a field which is transforming swiftly.  How can you land a job after you graduate?  And how can you be sure you will excel?  Here are some tips to make sure you succeed in 2017.

Specialize in recruiting leaders.

First of all, this is an unusual time to be embarking on a career in HR, because human resources are going to be needed less and less in business.  Indeed, one prominent Oxford study mentions that around 47% of all US employees may be replaced by machines within the next few decades.

Naturally in a world where human resources are considered less valuable on the whole, you too will need to adapt if you are going to hang onto a job in HR.  One idea is to specialize in recruiting candidates into leadership positions—and to take on a leadership role yourself.  As employee engagement insights company Engage Rocket points out, technology can do a lot of things, but it cannot design your corporate culture or guide your team.  You however can.

Understand Millennials and how to recruit and engage them.

Another unique challenge of becoming a human resources manager in 2017 is working with Millennials, who are quickly becoming the dominant population in the workforce, and whose values are transforming corporate culture.

Of course, if you yourself are a Millennial, you may not find this to be challenging in the same way you would if you are a Boomer or a member of Gen X.  Odds are you have plenty in common with the candidates and employees you will eventually be working with.

Still, it pays to understand what Millennials are and are not looking for in a job.  Millennials dislike performance appraisals.  They are used to jumping from company to company.  Many will leave at the drop of a hat, but others will stay if they are offered a vision or cause to believe in.  They like mentoring programs, but also value their independence, and often enjoy working on their own.

Perhaps the greatest challenge for a human resources manager in 2017 where Millennials are concerned is in bridging the generational gap.  Even if you are a Millennial and the employees you are managing are mostly Millennials, others in your company may be older, and may not understand their own employees.  It will be up to you to facilitate communication and help create an environment where everyone can work together effectively.

Make use of technology.

While automation is threatening to take away a lot of jobs, it also is making it easier for existing employees to do their jobs—especially Millennials, who have grown up with computers and mobile devices.  

Millennials particularly enjoy using technology for communication, and even prefer it over dealing with co-workers and associates on the telephone or in a face-to-face meeting.  As such, becoming an expert in apps which help to drive engagement and communication can help you to create a productive and comfortable workplace for younger employees.

Conclusion: In a Changing World, New HR Managers Will Need to Be Ready to Evolve to Succeed

Becoming a human resources manager today is a very different ballgame than it was ten years ago, or even five.  So if you are graduating into this field, make sure that you are deeply familiar with the ways in which technological evolution and differences in the generations are spurring workplace transformation.  If you can stay on top of those trends, you can become an effective and successful HR manager.


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