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What to Expect as a Human Resources Professional

By: Lindsay McKay

Published On: October 19, 2021

What to Expect as a Human Resources Professional

The life of an HR professional can vary from day to day depending on the experience of the HR professional, whether they are a generalist or a specialist, the size of the company, the department structure, time of year, and so many other reasons. No matter where you may work, you are sure to make a big impact as an HR professional. That is why it is important, once you finish a human resources diploma program and start your career, to continue upskilling and updating your knowledge with continuing education courses. The primary roles of an HR professional are to cultivate a relationship between the employees and the organization, support employees, promote a positive culture while looking at ways to improve it, and deliver company objectives and policies. This can be quite a balancing act and is part of the reason why days are so varied as an HR rep or manager. So, instead of writing out what a potential day could be like, I will give an overview of different tasks that could fill your day. 


Unfortunately, you will never be able to hide from emails, you will arrive at work with new emails, come back from lunch to new emails, and leave at the end of the day with new emails. Your emails will range from corporate check-ins, payroll questions, employee grievances, job candidate emails, new policy emails, and anything else you can think of and beyond. 


Checking in on employees is an extremely important part of the job. Many HR managers will have an open-door policy to allow employees to come to their office and speak on any personnel matters. If there are any new hires you will be dealing with onboarding and training, or on the other hand, if anyone has handed in their resignation—which could happen a lot if you are a large organization—you are handling offboarding paperwork, an exit interview, and really looking to see if there is any feedback to bring back to the leadership team.  


Training and development are key functions of HR professionals. Any given week you could be facilitating an array of seminar training for employees or having the employees take some online training you have approved of. These training seminars could cover many topics including diversity and inclusion trainingcommunication in the workplace training, or if there is some big news coming from corporate it is in this kind of setting you would share the details and use your change management skills to hear everyone’s thoughts while still getting all the proper information across. Doing this type of training requires lots of prep work beforehand and for you to keep up to date with HR standards and policies by doing human resource courses online and following HR blogs or listening to HR podcasts.  


Another thing that you will be a constant in your day is meetings. One-on-one meetings with executives and employees, meetings with all of corporate, and potentially meetings with external members such as stakeholders and clients depending on the scope of your role.  


And now, here comes the task that everyone thinks of when coming to human resources, recruiting. Recruiting can be a long and tedious process, but also fulfilling and exciting once you gain some experience. Depending on the size of your company, you could have multiple job openings every week or have a few job openings every month. This process includes the writing of all the job postings as well as combing through emails and resumes, calling potential candidates, pre-screening candidates, and you could even be part of the in-person interview process. Initially, the process of combing through resumes may be tedious but you will get quicker and start to be able to weed out 50% of candidates who are trying to play the systems, whether that is through lying about qualifications, faking work experience, or filling the resume with keywords.  

Administrative Tasks 

And lastly, you will have a part of your day dedicated to administrative tasks including anything from payroll and employee records to approving/updating policy handbooks and recording complaints. The further you get into your career, it is likely you will have an assistant to do a lot of your admin tasks for you, or you can specialize in areas like hiring, compensation, or employment law and only have specific and more complicated administrative tasks.     

The human resources industry and constantly evolving with WFH becoming more popular and technology changing how recruitment and complaints are handled. If you are looking for an industry that will always be needed and has continuous opportunities, a career in human resources should be something you explore more.


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