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Is HR The Right Career For Me?

If you think you’re right for HR, then maybe you are. HR is such a diverse environment, that regardless of your personality type, if you’re prepared to work hard, learn a lot, and want to be there, then there is a role for you. Now, this isn’t the same as saying HR is easy and anyone can do it, the reason I often speak about HR as a discipline is because it takes work (aka discipline) to learn and do well – and then it takes more work and more learning.

You’ll find online numerous lists of ‘(Insert random number here) attributes you need to be an HR Rock star’, and typically they’re simply link bait and hold very little if any value. The organizations we work in are diverse, so the HR teams that serve these organizations likewise need to be diverse. Early on in my career, I worked with a person who we will call Frank. Frank was very much a people person, gregarious, an extravert, and quite likable. Counter to that you have an individual like myself, I’m an introvert, I’m not really the life of the party, I prefer to get to the meat of the conversation rather than spend endless minutes on small talk. So Frank and myself were quite different. However we were also both successful in our roles, he was out amongst the business talking to managers and employees, guiding performance management conversations and generally carrying out the duties that Generalist HR Consultants do, while I was having a great time sitting in front of my computer screen working through data and responding to emails, phone calls, and the occasional meeting with managers or employees, in my role as a Remuneration Specialist. My point is that regardless of your personality type, your orientation towards introversion or extroversion, etc, you will find countless people like yourself have had very successful careers in HR.

To the above there is a caveat, not every role is suited to every person. My colleague Frank was great with people but didn’t have the attention to detail to work in a policy or data role. And as for myself, I have very little time or interest in poor performing employees, my preference is to spend time with high performing employees – so performance management conversations which are a large part of a generalist role don’t interest me. So just like any career, you need to find the right fit within the career – and I hope this site helps you do that.

By Brendan Lys

Operating at the intersection of Human Resources and Data Science, I leverage extensive specialist experience within Human Resources, with the methodologies and approaches of Data Science. This focus on the discovery of actionable insights from data, has been applied to areas such as: remuneration & benefits, workforce planning, recruitment, health & safety, diversity, and training. But what does the application of data science to HR challenges and opportunities actually look like. Within an HR framework the data we work with typically comes directly from our HRMIS, an advantage of using data science methodologies is that we can bring in additional data either held within the organization or from external sources - data which is out of reach from a pure HR analytics approach. Consider for example position descriptions, these contain a wealth of data that we typically ignore as its not in a analysis ready format. A side project I'm working on currently (April 2019) is using text mining on job descriptions to provide insights into which job family the position may fit into. The insights of my work have been enjoyed by organizations across a diversity of sectors including: Government (Australia and New Zealand), ASX and NZX listed companies, utilities, not for profit and higher education.

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