HR: From a Students Perspective
By Colette Wood
As a student, words such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, SharePoint, YouTube, Yahoo and Google are firmly embedded in all our conversations.
So much so, that I’m surprised that these words have not replaced the NATO phonetic alphabet.
Surely people are more familiar with Facebook than the Foxtrot? However, despite this digital age we find ourselves a part of, being a student still anchors us to an old world, where we sometimes read books in the library and feel moral anxiety when we highlight text in a paper textbook. Well, at least some of us?
I find a similar ‘dualism’ in the student world of Human Resources too. The whispers of ‘Personnel’ can still be heard and stories of a lifetime of administration worry many, even before we’ve really begun our HR journey. That said, competition for talented individuals in a rapidly changing global world sounds like an exciting era to be actively involved in. Stories of lunchtime raves at firms and organisations that operate from ocean liners, confirms that we as students should not let go of our HR idealism.
Yes, I’m idealistic and so are many of us that are entering the HR arena. We hold on to this idealism while being aware that our degrees are only the beginning. Our degrees will become keys that open doors into the real training fields of HR. However, in the midst of our education, while we debate and fiercely hold on to what we believe to be right, describing a degree as a small key seems outrageously small. Our degrees feel more like vast, powerful oceans.
Yet, somewhere in our oceanic subconscious, we know that we’ll be entering a much larger and more powerful world than the one we know at Uni, a world were a personal grievance error will have somewhat more severe implications than a lousy grade. Also, it is a world where we will need to connect with people from different generations, many that are vastly different to our own. We seem to relate quickly and easily to each other but how do other generations perceive us?
I’d like to think that we’ll be seen as the HR bunch that have one foot in HR, another in business and hands juggling IT and psychology. We’re fortunate enough to have had our HR qualifications designed this way and I do think it sets a good path for students to follow. In a world that flourishes on change, it seems appropriate that our skills extend further than just ‘classic’ HR. Moreover, I do believe that innovation is more likely to occur when we have multiple interests and skills.
But do we have the skills to connect it all? Are we able to have a conversation with someone on the origins of the foxtrot while not being ‘plugged-in’ to the internet? How does the diversity of our education eventually collaborate to shape our HR careers? I guess we’ll only find out if we hold on to our idealism, are prepared for change and take that plunge into the HR working world.
Colette Wood is an HR Student and one of the HRINZ Student Ambassadors