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3 Questions Asked by HR Undergrads

ElenaBy: Elena Di Fiore
Director, HR Management Consulting 

Over the past three years, I’ve mentored students from The University of Adelaide, UniSA and now I’ve two Mentees through the Australian Human Resources Institute under their National Mentoring Program. Developing others is something I’ve always been passionate about, and mentoring is an activity I find incredibly rewarding knowing I’m assisting with the development of our future HR game changers.

On Friday, I said farewell to Grace + Ili whom have participated in mentoring sessions with me since April. Whilst we only spent an hour together each month, I was excited to hear how beneficial the program has been for them. “HR is not just firing”, as Grace put it and both agreed they enjoyed getting to see how HR does their job along with reviewing client progress. “I didn’t have a concrete idea of HR or know if I was interested but you’ve shown me what happens and I now have a less vague understanding”.

You can imagine how delighted I was to hear both say they are, “very seriously considering” a career in HR. Both Grace + Ili demonstrated a passion and keen interest in transforming the ways in which their future employers manage and develop their workforce.

Before leaving, both undergraduates posed three questions, which I promised to tweet and share the answers. Hello HR World – I know you’re out there, so why no response? Could it be that Twitter’s 140 characters threw you off? Or maybe you’d be too transparent in answering their questions?

I’m stepping up to the plate now and with full transparency will share the answers I provided to my Mentees. Thanks to @vintiutive for the encouragement also.

Q1. Do you think HR allows / requires you to be creative?

Dependent on the working arrangement a HR professional has, yes and yes. I’ve previously worked within organisations who have been dictatorial and insisted there be a one size fits all approach to employee issues. Certain functions within the field of HR do allow you to be more creative, for example when going about a recruitment drive. There are guidelines to be followed when it comes to process and procedure, however I do believe that in a consulting role there is more opportunity to be creative with providing solutions for my clients.

Q2. What do you spend most of your time doing in HR?

In my consulting role, I’d say coaching business owners on employee management, however I’d say the same if I think back to my previous life where I worked as a HR Generalist. The relatively new position title of Business Partner for HR Professionals seems fitting and relevant. Too many see HR has working in opposition with business goals / management / employees. The roles I’ve most enjoyed have been those where I’ve been able to support employees and the directives of management.

Q3. What do you enjoy least or find boring about working in HR?

I wouldn’t say that any part of my consulting role is boring, as each day presents with it a different challenge. As for what I enjoy least, it would be participating in redundancy discussions. The employment market is tight, which is a likely reflection of the way business has been tracking here in South Australia, and on a national level. I wouldn’t suggest that it’s all doom and gloom, however this year has brought with it more job losses than I’ve seen since the GFC.

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