PEOPLE SKILLS very important in HR

WHAT does a day in the life of a human resources superintendent entail?

WHAT does a day in the life of a human resources superintendent entail?

Our organisation is very dynamic and diverse. On a daily basis my engagement level can range from a plant operator, shop steward, engineer to executives. Each day throws new opportunities and challenges.

A typical day can include conducting interviews , ensure appropriate application of remuneration and employee benefits. The majority of my day is spent on effective customer relations by focusing on employee needs and resolving HR service-related issues.

I have also worked on talent management projects which involves liaising with discipline heads, discussing talent and how to identify, develop and retain employees. I am also involved in key projects relating to improvement that will ensure value creation.

The HR world is cyclical - we have what we call an HR calendar where we focus on specific initiatives at specific periods of the year.

Typical examples are salary reviews, talent management, HR audits, employment equity, etc. So whatever is on the HR calendar can dominate your day.

Why did you decide on this career?

I was exposed to human resources at an early age. I suppose what is formally known as "take a girl child to work'' initiative today is what I was exposed to and that was when my initial interest in Human Resource management was triggered.

My strength is connecting and dealing with people. My job allows me to do what I enjoy the most, which is liaising with people and making a difference in their lives.

How did you get into this career?

At university I studied a BCom degree with majors in Industrial Relations and Industrial Psychology, all gearing me towards a career in Human Resources / organisational effectiveness.

However the road to my chosen career was a diverse one, holding different roles in different functions before being granted an HR opportunity in a large earth-moving concern.

What's most challenging about being an HR superintendent?

A current exciting challenge for me is to assist in contributing to diversity management as I work in a large steel manufacturing company which is historically a male-dominated environment. I feel it is important for HR to assist in keeping the business relevant.

The challenge for me is to keep up with business trends, factoring in the social, economic and political impacts. Examples of such impacts are economic viability, scarcity of skills, retention, HIV-Aids and legislative requirements.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

I enjoy the fact that I can connect and build sustainable relationships with people and contribute towards making a meaningful and valuable contribution in my organisation. I thrive on the hands-on operational exposure that my job affords me.

What type of person will make it in the manufacturing industry?

The steel manufacturing industry is a tough output-driven environment, therefore those who are driven and resilient, with courage and confidence, will do well in this industry.

What subjects do you need to pass in high school to be able to study towards this career?

A qualification in Human Resources is attainable through various tertiary qualifications, i.e. diploma or various bachelors degrees such as BCom, BA, BSoc Sc depending on the entrance requirements for that qualification.

What does one study at tertiary level to be able to get into this career?

Studies that incorporate Social or Business Sciences.

What growth prospects are there for this career?

Human Resources is a diverse field. One could be a specialist or a generalist in one or more of the following fields: administration; remuneration and benefits; industrial relations; employee relations; organisational development; and training and development.