The Human Resources profession (or People & Culture or People Capability Profession et al. as the name transforms) is present supporting industries globally.
Its focus and skill sets vary depending on a number of factors such as;
- the type of business being supported, private vs public sector as an example
- the challenges at hand, such as place in the business cycle, changing customer requirements, and economic conditions
- the type of leadership already present and their ambition, such as a leadership team trying to gain higher market share or one about to reshape their business and direction
- employee mix, such as mining operations versus a bank or other service focussed company which have vastly different employee types, skills and professional levels. There are also other elements such as the diversity and inclusiveness of a workforce.
- geographic scope, such as Asia Pacific
- the value the leadership sees in its HR function, some like to partner closely with the HR function and others prefer predominately transactional support
- level of influence from external parties such as government regulations, operations within small remote communities, or union activity
- the level of employee engagement and company culture
- the skill and strategic ability of the HR leader and their connection with the business
- the skill and strategic ability of the HR team
Companies within certain Industries can seem to have similar cultures and directions, when compared against companies in other industries. This can drive the emphasis required from HR teams to be successful. For example, when Technology or Telecommunication companies are well funded and growing then talent acquisition, on-boarding, compensation, employee relocation, employee engagement and retention can be high on the HR agenda.
For mining and manufacturing companies, active unions can result in the HR team growing a strong Employee Relations focus and strong HR business partners across various divisions. Major projects can require dedicated HR business partner support.
In Supply Chain and Logistics, HR teams are often active on talent acquisition, flexible work practices due to changing customer demands, strong onboarding and performance management, regular training and engagement activities.
In Pharmaceutical, the need for highly educated scientific, medical and engineering skills can result in a strong talent acquisition team, and highly skilled specialist HR support who can be responsible for varying different internal functions with very different needs such as research, manufacturing, legal and sales.
In Government or government regulated industries such as Childcare, where procedural processes can be very important then HR teams would likely need at their core to be high on attention to process delivery to be successful.
Fortunately meeting these various demands on the function HR has a myriad of people joining from many backgrounds. Some of these backgrounds include law, business administration, psychology, economics, sociology, engineering, science, teaching, and those who may have found HR almost accidentally through avenues such as agency recruiting and bookkeeping.
HR teams formed with both the company and industry in mind are the most successful in providing the right balance of focus and HR support.