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A day in the life of an HR manager

By Jana Angeles

The HR industry is an exciting field and a recommended career path for those who generally love helping people. If you enjoy working with others and have a genuine interest in recruitment, this field can offer you interesting career prospects, especially if you’re the type that doesn’t shy away from challenges in a particular role. 

With the rise of technology and the changing practices of how businesses operate (thanks to COVID-19), there are more intricacies that come with the HR team and their functionality to the business. It’s become apparent how important it is to keep up with the latest trends in HR and how these impact the way organisations facilitate their employees and how they build a sustainable workplace culture overtime

According to a survey conducted by KPMG this year from a pool of 1,300 HR executives, 3 in 5 survey respondents believe that “the HR function will rapidly become irrelevant if it doesn’t modernize its approach to understanding and planning for the future needs of the workforce.” With millennials and Gen Z shaping the way we work, HR professionals need to follow these trends closely when it comes to the implementation of recruitment and workplace policies that impact an organisation.

If you’re an aspiring HR professional who wants to get a solid background on how you can get started in this dynamic field, SkillsTalk had the opportunity to interview Rachel Gasparini, who is currently Upskilled’s HR manager. 

She shares what a typical day looks like for her and how the world of HR offers amazing opportunities to those interested in recruitment, employee relations and more

A background in business is a good start

It’s assumed that people get to lock in a relevant role when they finish off a relevant qualification but for Rachel Gasparini, it was a different story. Prior to working in the HR industry, she initially worked in an administrative role at a recruitment agency and this position sparked her interest in HR. 

“There wasn't any HR degree at the time when I started. It was something people generally went to if they had a background in either secretarial or admin or any other areas of business,” she said. 

With no qualification in HR at the time, Rachel undertaking a position in administration gave her the opportunity to understand the business functionality of an organisation, complementing her academic background in business. She was able to learn key concepts of HR around her administrative role, making the transition to the industry much easier. 

Getting qualified gives you a competitive edge

HR concept

Experience is the best teacher but having a relevant qualification can help you level up your career. While Rachel had years of experience in the HR field coupled with her business degree, she recognised that while she was looking for positions, employers generally wanted applicants to have a qualification in HR. With competition ramping up, she knew that she needed to undertake further study that would complement her existing degree in business.

“I did the BSB50618 -  Diploma of Human Resources Management when I was in my early 40s and the course was delivered online,” she continued.

“Despite having years of experience in the field, employers at the time wanted to hire those with an HR qualification. I was competing against younger people who were already qualified, so I took the opportunity to upskill in order to have a formal piece of paper in the industry.” 

Whether you’re a seasoned professional in the industry or someone looking to change careers, getting a qualification in HR can equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to keep up with the trends as a professional. It will also add value to your resume and help employers recognise that you’re able to apply the theoretical concepts from your course into real work experiences.

You can be a generalist or a specialist

Prior to working with Upskilled, Rachel worked as an HR specialist at Mazda. While the job was an all-rounder type of position, one of the key differences was that she had a team of HR professionals reporting to her - ones who either specialised in recruitment or employee relations. Seeing as Upskilled is a smaller organisation, her role as HR manager has her looking after all key aspects of HR that affect the business and employees in general.

“When you work in a small organisation, the HR role has lots of variety, so that's one of the benefits of working in this role at Upskilled. You’re looking after a lot of aspects such as recruitment, employee relations and WHS,” she said. 

Rachel mentions that in a large organisation, you have the opportunity to specialise in an area of HR if you’re after something specific. Otherwise, if you work for a small company, you’re a generalist that oversees all its key aspects. Whether you’re someone who is wanting to specialise or happens to like a variety in your day-to-day, the choice is entirely up to you

Supporting the business and its employees is key 

manager and new onboarding employee shaking hands

What a typical day looks like for an HR manager 

Rachel’s role with Upskilled is a busy one and her main responsibility is to provide support to staff members on queries related to their employment or career. Her other responsibilities include:
  • Assisting managers with recruitment
  • Employee relations
  • Policy drafting and implementation
  • Organising training for managers and staff
  • Corporate resolution
Her role in itself is “providing support and advice to the employer and employees” and that it’s “basically helping people at both ends.” One of the key highlights for her since starting her HR manager position is being able to “reach positive outcomes for both parties” when it comes to workplace issues and other facets to the business. 

Due to COVID-19, Upskilled staff have had to make the transition of working from home and when asked if there were any particular challenges Rachel came across due to the changed setting, she said that she was “less approachable to employees because there is distance” and that “they cannot simply pop by and ask questions as you would in an office setting.” She further emphasises that while staff members were able to approach her while she worked remotely, she shares that “it’s not the same.”

Having people skills is a must

As HR stands for “human resources”, it’s a role that requires high levels of people interaction, so you either must be an outgoing introvert or someone that is an effective communicator who is able to deal with people from different backgrounds and personalities. Rachel mentions that to succeed in any HR role, having the following skills is what can help you get a leg up in the industry: 
  • Good organisation skills
  • The ability to adapt and move quickly 
  • A genuine amount of empathy and have the desire to help people

Opportunities far and wide in the HR industry

HR paves for an exciting field because there are areas that you can specialise in depending on your interests. Otherwise, you also have the opportunity to undertake roles that explore all aspects of HR. Rachel shares that it’s a “very wide and broad field” and that “you’re not pigeonholed into one area.” 

“You can remain as a generalist if you like the variety of work or you can specialise. It’s definitely a good area to study,” she said. 

If you want to secure a role as an HR manager like Rachel, check out the online courses Upskilled has on offer in HR. There are certificate and diploma-level qualifications you can undertake and both are designed to be completed within 12 months. 

Upskilled alumni students Giuliano Maritan, Jeffrey Muscat and George M. graduated with a qualification in HR so you can have a read about their course experiences and learn how their studies have helped them professionally. 

To kickstart your education in HR, get in touch with one of Upskilled’s education consultants and enquire about a course by calling 1300 009 924
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*By providing your information, you agree to our Privacy Policy and to receiving email and other forms of communication from Upskilled. You are able to opt-out at any time.