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How to make a career in HR within Healthcare

Written by: Judith Portman
Published on: 4 Apr 2016

Freelance - HR Healthcare (April16)

Human resources (HR) officers, (sometimes called personnel officers,) take care of both hiring and helping employees to further develop in their career. They are also responsible for the welfare of employees within their organisation. If you enjoy working with people in an office environment then this could be the perfect role for you.

Most employers will require you to have a qualification issued by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. In addition, you’ll need a good standard of education and previous office work experience could be useful.

On a personal level you will need to be both tactful and friendly and there may be a necessity for you to be firm too. You also need to understand that much of the information you will be presented with will be of a confidential nature and this information should never be shared or talked about.

What does the work involve?

A typical day for a HR officer in Healthcare would usually involve:

  • Working closely with health unions and professional bodies.
  • Hiring staff – both the advertising of the position and then interviewing potential candidates.
  • Working alongside other managers, planning future staff needs.
  • Keeping up to date records of employees.
  • Providing staff training and development opportunities.
  • Ensuring that staff are getting the correct pay and benefits.
  • Arranging services like welfare and counselling for staff when necessary.
  • Dealing with both complaints and disciplinary procedures.
  • promoting equality, and health and safety
  • Advising on pay negotiations, redundancy and applicable employment laws.
  • Establishing HR policies and procedures.
  • Writing procedural handbooks for staff.

In larger organisations, you will probably specialise in only one or two of these areas, but in smaller companies, normally all aspects of the job will be your responsibility.

Who will I work with?

You'll work closely with administration staff as well as others in the wider healthcare team. You’ll possibly work with both clinical and non-clinical managers (for example, those who manage estates and facilities, and also financial and operational areas). You would not normally have contact with patients.

What are the entry requirements?

A good standard of general education, good computer skills and previous office experience is advantageous. Some employers will prefer for you to have, (or be willing to work towards,) a qualification in HR management - those offered by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) for example.

It’s possible to start as an assistant administrator in a HR department, whilst studying part-time for the CIPD Level 3 Certificate in Human Resources Practice.

It’s also possible to take the CIPD’s Level 3 Award in Human Resources Essentials or Certificate in Human Resources Practice before looking for your first job in HR and personnel.

These courses include:

  • The role of HR in a given organisation.
  • Employment relations.
  • Recruitment and selection.
  • Both recording and analysing a range of HR information.

You could also get into HR if you hold a BTEC HNC/HND, degree or postgraduate qualification in HR management.

Is further training and development possible?

You’ll find that your skills will naturally develop once you’re actually working on the job, but many employers will also expect you to take CIPD qualifications. Some will also subsidise your study costs.

There are a range of qualifications aimed at HR professionals, from those who are new, to departmental managers. Qualifications include:

  • Level 3 Certificate/Diploma in HR Practice.
  • Level 5 Diploma in Applied HR.
  • Advanced Level (equivalent to Level 7) Award/Certificate in HR.
  • Advanced Level Diploma in HR Management.

The CIPD offer qualifications for HR staff involved in training and development and studying towards one of these may help if you go on to apply for membership of the CIPD – this is an important choice for your continuing professional development.

In conclusion, what skills, interests and qualities do I need?
  • To be tactful, friendly and firm when necessary.
  • Excellent communication skills, both spoken and written.
  • Ability to build good relationships with colleagues of all levels, from office cleaner, to managing director.
  • A sense of fairness and an objective outlook.
  • Must be discreet with confidential information.
  • Enhanced organisational ability.
  • High accuracy levels and great attention to detail.
  • Ability to be calm under pressure.
  • Superior administration and computer skills.

If you are interested in working within the healthcare sector within HR - check out the current opportunities that are on our site.