As an HR professional working in the Northeast, here's what I have learnt
Representational Image (Source: Pixabay)

What does the Human Resources (HR) team do? This is a question that is nearly as old as the concept of HR itself. Yet, it seems even today, people think all the Human Resources team has to do is organise Rangolis, and music programmes and be done with it. 

Those who are aware of what we do, however, know the challenges of this cut-throat industry that is almost always an inseparable component of a well-oiled machine (or company). But I am not going to waste your, or my, time in telling you the challenges of an HR personnel because I rather focus on a much bigger problem: finding the right talent. 

And trust me when I say this: I have worked across India but when it comes to the northeast, talent that matches a job description is not only rare, it is almost impossible to find the right match. Allow me to explain. 

One of the most significant but often overlooked challenges for HR managers is striking a balance between maintaining confidentiality and being transparent. HR professionals are privy to sensitive employee information such as performance reviews, disciplinary actions, and personal issues. On the other hand, they are expected to uphold transparency and share relevant information with employees. Managing this delicate equilibrium can be a constant challenge.

One of the biggest challenges is finding the right people to work for the company. HR managers have to write job descriptions, find job candidates, interview them, and choose the best ones. Getting the best talent, especially in competitive job markets, can be really hard and is often not appreciated.

And this is where scouting new talent for recruitment becomes almost impossible in the northeast. Let us say I put up a post on Linkedin, asking for content writers to apply. Despite making it clear that we are looking for social media-savvy candidates, I am bombarded with CVs that have nothing to do with the job description. Why? Because people do not read the finer details. But let us say by some miracle I find the perfect candidate: then, we get stuck at remuneration. A Guwahati-based company cannot match a Delhi-based company’s salary. Too often, we get applications from people looking to move back home to Guwahati while expecting Delhi-based salaries. That is not going to happen, I have to tell people time and again. 

This is why sometimes, even after months of advertising online, we do not find the right candidates. 

And of course, hiring is not our only job. HR managers also need to know a lot about work laws and rules. They have to keep up with changing laws and make sure the company follows them. They also have to handle legal problems like discrimination or harassment claims, which can be very tough. Another less apparent difficulty lies in managing the substantial volume of paperwork that HR managers must contend with. This includes drafting employment contracts, administering benefits, and maintaining comprehensive work-related records. Managing these various tasks demands exceptional organisational skills due to the considerable workload involved.

Ensuring a positive work environment is one of their responsibilities, although it often goes unnoticed. HR managers frequently mediate disputes, offer emotional support, and assist individuals facing challenging situations. They are often the initial point of contact for employees dealing with personal issues or work-related stress. Although emotionally demanding, their efforts in these situations are not always visible to others. Despite the challenges, these efforts are crucial for maintaining smooth work operations, even if they are not immediately apparent to outsiders. 

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Karma Paljor

HR managers also need to show that their work adds value to the company. This can be hard because it’s not always easy to prove how things like training or making employees happy help the company in the long run. Many people think HR managers have all the answers, but they’re just regular people too. They learn and adapt to new situations just like everyone else. The pressure of high expectations can be stressful and lead to burnout. The job is complex and filled with challenges that aren’t always obvious to others. From balancing secrecy and honesty to managing relationships and handling legal issues, HR managers play a crucial role in the success of a company. 

The author is an HR professional with over 10 years of experience. Views expressed are personal. 

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