HRM vs. HRD
Starting any career is tough--you don't want to start in one job, find out you don't like it and then start over with another. But as an HR professional, your experience in the field, regardless of its type, will always be valuable. A good way to start an HR career is to determine what side of HR you want to work on: Human Resource Management (HRM) or Human Resource Development (HRD). HRM means just what it says--human resource management--the management of people or resources in an organization. Almost every working organization has to have some form of HRM staff to take care of basic employee management tasks. HRM encompasses the traditional areas that most people think of as HR, including compensation and benefits, recruiting and staffing, employee and labor relations and occupational health and safety. An HRM professional might start out as a generalist, then choose a specialty area of HRM such as benefits and become a benefits manager. After that, she may choose to remain in the specialty area, perhaps running all benefits programs at an organization, or move into an HR leadership role as an HR director or VP overseeing both HRM and HRD tasks. If you like systems, analytics and processes, a career in HRM might make sense. While serving the people in an organization, HRM professionals are typically given ownership over a process, specialty area or task. For example, a recruiting manager in a consumer products firm might be given responsibility for recruiting activities in one department. The manager is then responsible for the entire process--finding and locating candidates, conducting first-round phone screens, scheduling second and final round interviews with candidates, negotiating the details of job offers and completing the hiring paperwork. Sure, there's a significant amount of interaction with people in this role. But successful recruiters will tell you that a well-managed process relying on recruiting data is the best way to do the job. On the other hand, HRD--human resource development--is the development of the resources in a company: organization development, performance management, training and learning, and coaching. HRD includes evaluating the performance of employees, helping employees learn and develop new skills, and assisting them with weaknesses or areas of development. HRD also includes helping an organization develop--diagnosing problems with how people work together in certain areas of an organization. An HRD professional's career might begin with an analyst role, working as a consultant on a company's organization development (OD) team. The HRD professional may then choose to specialize, focusing specifically on performance programs in the organization, or may become an OD manager, in charge of several analysts or consultants working on OD projects. After that, he may choose to remain in the specialty area running the OD function, or move into an HR leadership role as an HR director or VP overseeing both HRM and HRD tasks. Working in HRD doesn't mean you won't be relying on data and statistics. But you will be focusing more on understanding the behavior of the people you're serving. For example, a training manager in a consulting firm might be tasked with selecting and running all training programs in his local office. To ensure he chooses the right programs to develop the staff effectively, he has to do regular surveys in the office to understand where the training needs lie. He then has to consult with staff and management in those areas to learn more about their needs and either create or find training programs to address those. He is responsible for all aspects of running the training, and finally, when the training program is complete, must survey all participants to see if the training made an impact on their performance and behaviors. Choosing beforehand whether to go the HRM or HRD route is a good idea career-wise, since there are clear paths in each area. A good question to...
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