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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Why I teach HR

Teaching Human Resources (HR) has truly been very rewarding for me. I believe that Human Capital is one of the strong pillars of a company that has the potential of giving the company its competitive advantage. Achieving operational excellence is no more a secret to any one company. But in my opinion, what gives a company its true edge is its work force. I think it is important to cultivate this notion amongst our future generation of business people. This has always been my ultimate motto to teach HR not just to budding HR professionals but to all the individuals who would be involved in the business world in some way.

It is my belief that if employees are well respected, they will in turn reciprocate. It is fascinating to see how my students understand the true value of human resource management. They understand that one does not need to have HR in their title to learn and implement the nuances of HR.

After every course that I teach, I ask my students to fill out an optional questionnaire, which helps me get their valuable feedback not just on the course teachings and course material, but their perspective on HR management. I can proudly say that after the course, they certainly start seeing the value in treating the employee force as human asset. They understand the importance of having an employee oriented mindset. In fact one of my students very aptly wrote in her feedback, “While you do have to sell to your customers, it is important to keep your employees happy, especially as you move towards a business model that is farther away from a sole proprietorship.”

It is very rewarding to experience that nothing gives back like giving. I believe teaching human resources is my way of contributing to the future of our society and business world in general and our profession of human resource management in particular. I feel it is of vital importance to make the next generation of entrepreneurs, managers, HR professionals understand that even though at times human resource management is brushed aside or not taken as seriously as it should be, it has the capacity of literally making or breaking a company. And it is very encouraging when they understand that this fact is true both strategically, concerning human capital and how it is managed and also fiscally concerning budgeting employee salaries and benefits and the profit that the human capital produces. I was very impressed to read a student’s perspective on HR and its importance, “The fact that we are potentially facing labor shrinkage means that good human resource management is of utmost importance. Soon, there will be more employees exiting the labor market due to retirement. Without properly managing of upcoming talent, companies will find themselves failing due to employee turnover”.

However, just a broader understanding of the value of human resource management is not enough to cultivate a generation of business people, who believe in building a culture of true employee engagement. Therefore it is indeed very fulfilling, when students show keen interest in learning and continuously updating their knowledge about staffing, selective hiring, training, compensation, termination and related employment laws. In fact a student wrote, “Yes it is not only a matter of understanding the laws that govern a business, but it is important to understand that running a business also means knowing how to work with a budget, hiring good employees and worst of all firing a bad employee.” It was very satisfying to read a student’s quote and his interest towards compensation procedures, “I knew that labor was a big expenditure for businesses, but the statistic stated in Ms. Rogers Chamber interview of 60-70% is staggering. It makes the importance of understanding compensation procedures and market-levels of salaries a vital part of how businesses should plan budgets and expenses.” Reading such feedback reassures me that they can envision how all the elements in human resource management or the lack of them can really help build a successful business or wipe out an existing one.
Students’ feedback motivates me and encourages me to share my knowledge of this fascinating field and continue giving back to the future of our country, business, and more importantly our profession.

Written with the assistance of one such eagerly minded future HR professional for which I have had the pleasure of mentoring: Amruta R. Prabhuwaingankar