Q&A library

I am a downsized airlines employee - an air traffic controller. How can I acquire some new skills quickly and find a job?
You'll find websites for online education (E.g. Coursera, Udemy), narrowed down and categorized by the type of learning experience they offer. You can learn things that’ll raise your profile and create new opportunities.Here’s the core method to acquire any new skill, personal or professional, as quickly as possible:1. Set a concrete, specific Target Performance Level2. Deconstruct the skill to avoid getting overwhelmed3. Use 80/20 research tactics to find the most important subskills4. Get rid of anything that gets in the way of focused, deliberate practice5. Pre-commitment psychology to break through early resistanceFew ways to find a new job quickly:1. Create a candidate profile in few major online job portals / website - be strategic when searching for a job online. Sign up to alerts on job postings for both companies and roles, and broader job fields.2. Go beyond usual online job sites and big recruiters - use your network of friends and family. Lots of companies offer staff referral incentives, so don’t be shy of letting people know you’re looking for a new role.3. Consider other locations and part-time work4. Take a proper look at your skill set - When searching for a job quickly, it helps to analyse where your strengths and weaknesses are.5. Spend more time on fewer applications – Targeted and considered applications than a scattergun approach.6. Make sure your CV is ready from an employer’s perspective - your CV should be a constant work in progress - adapted and updated to suit each application individually.7. Ensure appropriate covering letter to the job role, before you apply.

Can I shift from my current profile as a specialist in one HR sub-discipline to the other?
This is possible but do remember that the longer you remain a specialist in one domain the more challenging it gets to shift from it. So if you want to explore a wider range of disciplines you could first explore how to move internally into a generalist role. This will also open your mind to different areas, their impact on employees and your interest in any of those.

What are some qualities that HR professionals need to have for the future?
One of the biggest challenges that HR professionals face is the ability to balance technology and humaneness. With the advent of HR Tech and the rapid rise in its usage, there are times when the 'human' from human resources gets diluted. So working on being mindful of retaining that quality, empathy and clarity of business vision are the qualities for the future.

Is the role of HR going to remain relevant in the post-pandemic world, and how?
The role of HR will become even more crucial in the post-pandemic world. Whether employees start returning to work or they continue to work remotely - HR will have to focus on consistent communications, ways to create engagement virtually, reassure employees of a safe workplace and set new practices in employee health and wellness. This is a time when HR is truly transforming into a business partner by ensuring that employee productivity does not dip.

How can I re-skill and up-skill myself to remain relevant?
It is important to first identify the emerging areas in HR such as Diversity & Inclusion, HR Tech and AI, and so on. You might already know what is of interest to you or you may need to figure that out. Speak to experts in those areas and understand what it entails as well as the kind of roles that are available. Then evaluate training programs or certifications that are industry recognized to formally upgrade your skills in that space. Informally you have many avenues to learn from - groups on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and even social learning spaces like EdCast.

Why is HR always seen as a support function and not a business one?
The answer to that lies in two areas - the history of how the function came into existence and the lack of proactive action from some quarters to change that perception. Historically it has been a function that looked after administrative activities and personnel related issues. That made the role more tactical and operational and hence pushed it into the support category. It wasn't generating revenue for the business. But the role has changed vastly and the lack of measures, adequate communication and focused commitment has continued to relegate it to the background. HR leaders have become strategic and are taking business impacting decisions every day. They need to be more visible and in the Board Rooms. There are even CHROs who become CEOs despite the fact that the talent is the core of the business. These are decisions that can make a world of difference when some organizations have the courage to implement them.

What are the kind of roles HR professionals can have in a start up?
It will depend on the nature of work of the start-up. Is the start-up itself in HR services or products? If yes, there can be consulting or advisory or client management roles as well as internal HR roles. If the nature of business is different from the above then the roles are mostly operational in nature and internal. But all these roles are of high learning value since they can ensure exposure to all HR areas and discipline. It's also important to understand that the work might not be structured or very clear. There is likely to be ambiguity and you should be prepared for that.

Are companies hiring HR professionals right now?
It's difficult to predict hiring plans in the current pandemic situation. But there is some level of hiring that is taking place for HR roles in India. Perhaps as things settle down there is going to be an increase. With an emphasis on buying local many industries could grow faster and start hiring. So watch out for the new age non traditional sectors too.

Should I brand myself personally?
This is an important step to take. You are a unique professional with specific skills and attributes. It's essential to share that. You can do that as a knowledge expert who volunteers to be a part of online chats, webinars and discussions. And also by authoring articles that are in your expertise area. Being active on online platforms like LinkedIn to share your insights or views on HR news or trends is a good way to do this too.

If I want to explore freelancing what is the right time to do it?
You should do it when you are prepared to accept the situation of an uncertain income every month. This is not to discourage you but you make sure that you evaluate pros and cons. It is exciting to freelance and have the flexibility. But it has cons like irregular income, limited projects and a lot of effort in positioning yourself. When you are at a phase that you want to do these, you should take the plunge.

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