So you want a career in HR?


careers human resources

Across South Africa, various educational institutions and training providers offer introductory courses in the principles of human resources management. For those readers interested in a career in HR, here's information on what those courses would cover.

1. Human Resources Management in South Africa

This section would cover the history of HR practices in SA. A fair amount of teaching time would be dedicated to understanding SA labour law and legislation such as the Labour Relations Act, Employment Equity Act and Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

2. Recruitment and Selection

In this section, learners are introduced to the recruitment process from CV screening to interviewing. Learners may also be introduced to employee induction to orientate new employees to an organisation.

3. Training and Development

This section considers how employees can be motivated through workplace skills programmes and development. Learners are introduced to training needs analysis and developing individual employee training plans. This section often leads on to managing work performance through the performance appraisal and career management processes.

4. Payroll Management

Payroll is often separated from other HR functions within organisations. Due to its close association with company finance, Payroll departments are often located within organisations' finance divisions.

HR professionals still need to be aware of remunerating employees and the pay-scales and systems associated with remuneration. In an organisation, it is normally the HR officer who introduces new employees to company incentives and benefits schemes as part of retention management. Top talent is attracted by an organisation's employee benefits schemes.

Payroll management also involves job evaluations and job-grading in order to correctly remunerate employees for their experience and qualifications.

5. Industrial/Employee Relations

This section is closely linked to South African Labour Law. Learners will be introduced to disciplinary policies and procedures within organisations such as workplace attendance or sexual harrassment policies.

Industrial relations also covers legislation and practice around dispute resolution, collective bargaining and negotiation and industrial or strike action.

6. Employee Wellness, Health and Safety

Learners wanting a career in HR will also deal with work environment safety. For an organisation's human resources to effectively produce the goals of the organisation, HR includes employee health and wellbeing policies on various health-related topics e.g. HIV/AIDS, TB, substance abuse and dealing with traumas.

With the increased demand for key skills portrayed by a skills shortage in many areas of the South African economy, employee wellness has become a talent retention strategy that many more organisations are adopting to prevent employees from leaving.

A career in the field of HR also requires knowledge of HR IT systems. Novices are introduced to organisational HR systems and trained on-the-job. Furthermore, the novice HR professional will be introduced to HR administration.

As with many other functions in an organisation, HR does not escape its administrative load. The new HR professional would do well to apply a good filing system for documents such as interview schedules or CV's from job applicants. In this information age, most of these documents can be filed electronically on an organisation's main computer server.