Ask HR-What is it like to work in HR

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    A question I frequently get from those individuals outside of HR is, “What is it like to work in HR?” Well, the answer to that question can vary greatly by HR professional and organization. Human Resources (HR Profession) can include a broad spectrum of specialties within organizations. Some examples of specialties include recruiting, payroll, policy, safety, training and development, and performance management. In smaller organizations, the HR professional may handle all of those specialties, and in larger organizations, each specialty is most likely its own department. The roles within HR can vary greatly as well as with many departments from the purely administrative to the executive. Another related and perhaps more important question that is often discussed is, “What should HR be doing?” For me, HR’s primary purpose is to ensure that the right people are working in the right places to accomplish the organization’s goal. In other words, HR is responsible for developing programs that will attract, select, develop, and retain the talent needed to meet the organizational mission. So whether you are an HR department of one or a combination of multiple departments that include hundreds of employees, your primary responsibility is talent management. Here’s a quick test to see if your programs are aligned and focused on the primary purpose of HR. See if you can answer the following questions.

    1. What is the primary mission of the organization?

    2. What talent is needed to meet the mission?

    3. Which programs do you have in the following areas:

    Identifying and Attracting Talent?

    Selecting and Hiring Talent?

    Onboarding Talent?

    Developing Talent?

    Retaining Talent?

    4. How is program success measured?

    5. In what areas do we need to improve?

    If you can’t answer these questions, you have some work to do.

    For more resources, See the Human Resources library.

    Sheri Mazurek is a training and human resource professional with over 16 years of management experience, and is skilled in all areas of employee management and human resource functions, with a specialty in learning and development. She is available to help you with your Human Resources and Training needs on a contract basis. For more information send an email to or visit Follow me on Twitter @Sherimaz.