Why I love working in HR | 14 HR experts explain why they love what they do
Working in HR can sometimes be hard – but it can also be immensely rewarding.
Day in, day out, you can be juggling a whole range of spinning plates, constantly trying to make sure one doesn’t drop. Whilst at the same time, doing your best to support your company’s biggest asset – their people.
Well, we thought we’d share a bit of well overdue HR love.
We’ve scoured the globe to speak to some of the world’s leading HR and People experts to find out: what makes them tick? What do they love about working in the sector?
Their answers are enough to spread a bit of extra joy to your job this week; and remember why you love what you do, too.
1. Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business: HR professionals are emotional care givers
“I wrote a tribute to HR professionals where I compliment them for being the emotional care givers as organizations go through the trauma of social disruption.
“HR professionals are learners who seek new ways to solve old problems, enablers who make others better, and value creators who help all stakeholders win.”
2. We’re given a chance to create meaningful and lasting relationships, says Aadil Bandukwala, Evangelist at predictive outbound hiring solution Belong
“Everyday we’re given a chance to create meaningful and lasting relationships, learn new things, live our passions and solve complex problems that can impact the lives of millions of people.
“Creating lasting relationships and a strong belief in Steve Jobs’ maxim ‘the journey is the reward’ is what inspires me and brings me to work every single day with much enthusiasm.”
3. I love understanding how the economy and political factors weigh into HR strategies, says Josh Bersin
“I love helping HR professionals improve their companies, and I love the profession itself. It’s a complex and very important domain, and most HR professionals are passionate, hard-working, collaborative people.
“I also love studying data, understanding how the economy and political factors weigh into HR strategies, and how technology continues to impact HR strategies and solutions.
“It’s a fascinating, growing, very important part of business – and as AI and more technology enters the workplace, HR strategies have become CEO-level issues in topics like engagement, reskilling, digital leadership, and organizational redesign.”
4. For Gemma Dale, Co-founder of The Work Consultancy, it’s about the impact HR pros can have
“[I love] the opportunity to make people’s working lives better, even in a small way.”
5. It’s the passion that still inspires me, says David D’Souza, Head of Engagement and Learning at CIPD, the UK professional body for HR
“I love working in a profession that is still maturing and exploring different ways to make a difference.
“One of the benefits of my role is getting to speak to a range of HR leaders doing great work, but also to see the next generation of practitioners coming through.
“It is meeting the students coming through and seeing their passion and ambition that really inspires me.”
6. Businesses don’t serve people – employees serve people, explains Ben Eubanks, host of ‘We’re Only Human’podcast
“I’ve worked as an HR leader for an Inc. 500-ranked technology start-up and in various other roles across the HR field over the years, and the thing I loved then (and still do) is that people are the core of the business. Businesses don’t serve people – employees serve people.
“Businesses don’t make products – people make products. And that concept of the workplace being a very ‘human’ place to be doesn’t change despite all the automation that we’re seeing; it’s [actually] a chance to be more human and stand out from the crowd.”
7. Gautam Ghosh is Consultant at talent advisory services at VBeyond Corporation
“[I love that] as a consultant in HR I get to interact with a variety of people in different industries – and every interaction is a learning opportunity.”
8. Why I love working in HR? The people, says Jon Ingham, HR Consultant and author of ‘The Social Organization’
“There are some great people working in HR. I love working with them. We just need to ensure that our search for business relevance doesn’t detract from what makes us so special in the first place.
“We should be spending at least as much time encouraging people in the rest of our businesses to become more like us, as we do trying to become more like them.”
9. If I can help someone thrive, then I’ve added something to this world, explains Susan LaMotte, Founder and CEO of exaqueo, an employer brand experience firm
“The simple fact is jobs are vital to our society and our worth as human beings. If I can play one small part in helping someone find a workplace and employer where they can thrive, add value and be valued, then I’ve added something to this world we live in.”
10. Founder of HR Bartender blog Sharlyn Lauby loves that HR is never boring
“One of the things I love about HR is that it’s constantly growing and changing. From compliance with new laws and legislation, to technology and employee expectations. It’s never boring and always challenging.”
11. Lisa Rosendahl, Human Resources Director at US Department of Veterans Affairs, and Co-founder and Editor of Women of HR blog shares two things that keep her coming back
“Over my many years in HR, there are two things that keep me coming back. [Firstly], The variety of work that comes into the department each day. We work with everything from recruitment, benefits, and pay administration, to labor, employee relations and workforce development. It keeps me and my staff on our toes.
“Secondly, the people I work with. I have had the honor of working with some of the most dedicated HR professionals in the field and look forward to coming to see what they are going to do to solve a problem, provide a resource, or improve a process to the benefit of our customers and staff.”
12. HR is the internal organs that give companies life, explains Shally Steckerl, Founder at The Sourcing Institute
“[I love the] exposure. There is no other department in an organization with such a wide berth. HR, and particularly recruiting, is involved in all levels of an organization top to bottom, and in every function of the company.
“People are the most important and valuable part of a company; HR is the internal organs that give it life.”
13. No day is ever the same, says Jon Thurmond, Regional Human Resources Manager at Team Fishel, and Co-host of Twitter chat #HRSocialHour
“I started my career as a teacher and ‘fell’ into HR. Since then, I’ve worked in several industries and with companies from 200 to 20,000 employees.
“I like the fact that no day is ever the same and that I truly learn constantly. The HR people I’ve gotten to know from working together and via social media globally are some of the best people ever!”
14. Getting the right people working in the right ways means companies can achieve more than they ever imagined, says Perry Timms, author of ‘Transformational HR: How Human Resources Can Create Value and Impact Business Strategy’
“[I love] that business and work is all about people. Companies have very little true value outside of their people. Machines, products, buildings, and even brands can all be replicated by others – but how you get the best people for your organisation, do best by them and for them, and let them do their best, means the difference.
“If Elon Musk is revered for his audacious entrepreneurialism, it’s also clear that some influential HR professionals can help him realize his vision by getting the right people involved in all the right ways to deliver on Hyperloop, Space X, Tesla and more.
“Without great HR Elon might not be as successful as his dreams. With the best HR support, he could even see things go beyond some of his imagination.”
Discover what 500+ HR leaders said about the future of HR. Download our new research ‘The changing face of HR’ today.