If You’re a People-Person Then HR is Probably Not The Job for You

Posted in : HR Updates on 1 June 2022
Olga Pollock
firmus energy
Issues covered: International HR Day; HR

As I’m sure most of you are aware, the 20th May was International HR Day which is an opportunity to celebrate the work of all HR and OD professionals. But what do we tell people if we’re asked what it’s really like to work in HR and if we’re all “people people”?

My response would be, if you’re a people person, then HR is probably not the job for you. While this may sound like a strange statement, what I really mean is that HR is not suited to people pleasers, such as myself. Again, an odd statement but it is this self-awareness that has made me into a more rounded, less sensitive HR professional compared to the younger version of me in my early career. Back then I avoided conflict and would rather have people liking me than eye-rolling at me.

But anyone that works in this field soon realises that we can’t please everyone all of the time. We often have to face challenging, radically candid conversations including with our superiors if we want to do a good job and gain respect. And there’s often the less glamorous side of HR when we’re in the thick of a disciplinary or grievance process or impacting people’s lives through a redundancy exercise. We see tears, heartache, anger and frustrations and a whole host of upsetting emotions. We comfort those struggling with their health or those bereaved. We’ve maybe even dealt with death of colleagues or supported those with terminal illness.

It's certainly a tough ride this HR journey and not for the faint-hearted. But then there’s the nice side of HR which can be incredibly rewarding. For every tough dismissal there’s an awesome new hire. For every toxic employee there’s a superstar who’d bend over backwards to help a colleague and do a great job. For every death there’s a baby born.

So the next time you hear someone say they’d like a job in HR because they like helping people and it seems like a nice place to work you’ll probably want to tell them that being a nice person alone isn’t going to cut it. After all, we aren’t in the nice business, we’re in the fair business. It’s not about being people pleasers, it’s about treating people with consistency, kindness and respect. HR is about having empathy whilst not being afraid to give the tough messages. My people pleasing days are long gone!

Useful Reading:

What skills are required to work in an HR or L&D role? https://pmjobs.cipd.co.uk/article/what-skills-are-required-to-work-in-an-hr-or-l-and-d-role-#:~:text=Ability%20to%20understand%20and%20analyse,this%20means%20to%20the%20business  

This article is correct at 01/06/2022

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Olga Pollock
firmus energy

The main content of this article was provided by Olga Pollock. Contact telephone number is +44 (0)79 7389 3448 or email oppollock@firmusenergy.co.uk

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