With over 15 years of teaching HR to students in different colleges, Dr. Deepa Pillai has seen the Human Resource Departments in corporate houses gain importance, when earlier no such department existed.
Over the years, HR began being perceived as something meant for women. That is changing as more and more men are seeing the advantages of the ‘art and science’ of managing the human resources of an organization. They must know the art of behavioural patterns and have an insight into the science of the human mind. “Only someone who is really passionate about HR should opt for it. You can learn a lot in terms of behaviour and understanding people. HR is still unexplored,” Dr. Pillai says.
While the final onus of hiring someone falls on the department they will eventually work in, it is HR that does the initial work. They evaluate the applicant’s suitability for a particular job and see whether the applicant’s personal goals fit in with those of the organization. “It is a very challenging job today,” Dr. Deepa Pillai admits. “And HR is no more the domain of the girls alone. Many men are taking it up as their career choice.”
HR hires and HR fires too. The latter is a frequent eventuality in today’s business scenario as companies are facing shrinking bottom lines. Employees have to multi-task if they want to keep their jobs. “It is very difficult to get HR jobs immediately after graduation,” Dr. Pillai observes. “It is getting worse as the markets are dull and HR jobs are reducing. I suggest students take up any job that comes their way and then gradually shift into HR – a year or so down the line.”
This recession will not last forever. Dr. Pillai predicts a better future for HR. “In the coming years, HR is going to be one of the most important areas. In fact, even now, managers are dealing with the human asset base. Soon, it will be necessary for all managers to have knowledge of this particular area.”
The future looks bright. However, there are not many HR professionals being appointed as CEOs. Aren’t they capable of donning the CEO crown? In fact, most CEOs rise to their plum position through the Marketing ranks. “Often it is a stigma in the market that HR people are less important than the other Marketing people, who are considered to be more dynamic and as the most important people. HR is not given that much importance, although it is more important because any managers in the top or bottom will have to deal with people. Isn’t that important? Of course, it is. And it will happen,” she says. We detect hope in her voice, and a prayer for the future.