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What it takes to be a Human Resource Professional in Kenya

Think you might be interested in a career in human resources? Not sure what HR is? You are not alone. Many people do not understand what HR really is and what someone working in HR actually does, making it a career path that is easy to overlook.

HR has a profound impact on a company by shaping its culture and distinguishing it from competitors. The HR department works closely with a company?s top management to attract, develop, manage, and retain top talent. In other words, being a human resources professional is not an administrative role, and its impact on an organization is major. If you believe an organization?s employees are the foundation of its success, and you want everything to do with how it finds those people and keeps them motivated, HR might be a great career path for you.

What is working in human resources like?

Think of a hiring scenario. If you break down the necessary steps it takes for a company to hire a new employee, you will have a good idea of the tasks an HR specialist handles. That means identifying employment needs, conducting interviews, educating employees about compensation, benefits, workplace practices, and more.

Retaining employees within an organization as well as overseeing their growth and development is part of the HR role. 

An HR practitioner must understand people and the vision of the company while working as organizers, mediators, and planners. As a human resource practitioner, you are responsible for understanding the needs of the employer and the employees.

Becoming a Human Resource Professional in Kenya

The Human Resource Management Professionals Act that was enacted in January 2013 requires all human resource practitioners in Kenya to become certified.

Certification of Human Resource Professionals in Kenya is carried out by the Institute of Human Resource Management (IHRM). IHRM?s mandate is to regulate the HR profession in Kenya, enhance competencies and capabilities while supporting innovative and transformative HR practices and standards.

The law, meant to ?provide for the examination, registration, and regulation of the standards and practice of human resource management,? provides a one-year window within which all those in the profession must apply for a practicing certificate after attaining the necessary knowledge, skills and experience.

The minimum requirements required to be considered for membership into IHRM is:

  • Diploma in Human Resource Management or 
  • Diploma in any discipline and a certificate in Human Resource Management

IHRM has three membership categories:

  • Associate Member ? it is an entry-level for a holder of the degree, diploma, or certificate in HRM whose HR working experience is below 5 years
  • Full Member ? it is for holders of first degree or masters plus HR professional qualification and minimum 5 years working experience.
  • Fellow Member ? is for Full Members with a minimum of 15 years of HR working experience and have made a substantial contribution to the growth of the HR profession in Kenya

Human Resource Qualifications:

Aspiring human resources professionals have several educational options. When deciding which to pursue, candidates should think about their current qualifications and career end goals. For example, learners who eventually want to become a director of human resources can improve their chances by earning an MBA in human resources.

Certificate in Human Resource Management (KNEC)

This program is the entry point into the Human Resource Profession and is to be upgraded to a Diploma, Higher Diploma or the certified Human Resource Professional Programs.

The course work is designed to reflect the most current activities and functions of the human resource role. This certificate aims to give a comprehensive view of the generalist's role. Graduates leave this program with the ability to confidently interact with those in specialty human resources areas and have a positive influence on the HR function within organizations.

Diploma in Human Resource Management (KNEC)

This Diploma assists a professional interested in advancing their HR career obtain the knowledge and skills required to successfully fulfill the role of human resources generalist.

The course work is designed to reflect the most current activities and functions of the human resource role. This Diploma aims to give a comprehensive view of the generalist's role. Graduates leave this program with the ability to confidently interact with those in specialty human resources areas and have a positive influence on the HR function within organizations.

Degree in Human Resource Management

A bachelor's degree in human resources is a comprehensive program, covering a variety of business disciplines, such as accounting, economics, and marketing. 

Many bachelor's graduates pursue careers as human resources specialists, but a degree concentration can also help students pursue careers in more advanced or nontraditional fields. Some popular specializations include organizational management and financial management, which can lead to careers in human resources management or financial management.

What Is the Difference Between a BA and a BS in Human Resources?
The major difference between a bachelor of arts (BA) and a bachelor of science (BS) in human resources is in core units. While a BA typically features humanities courses, such as history and psychology, a BS tends to focus on more industry-specific subjects, like benefits analysis or employee regulations.

The two-degree options also offer different specializations. For example, a BA may offer human behavior specializations, like training and development, whereas a BS might offer a specialization in compensation and benefits. Both degrees can lead to the same careers after graduation, though BA graduates may be better equipped to pursue master's programs in non-business subjects, as their coursework is more diverse.

Master's Degree in Human Resources

During a master's degree in human resources, students typically learn to analyze and manage organizational effectiveness. The classes also focus on developing better leaders, covering topics like recruitment and staffing, human resources analytics, and negotiations.

While some schools offer an actual MBA in human resources, it's more common for human resources to be a specialization within a general or executive MBA program. After completing training, graduates can pursue an array of management careers, such as public relations manager, human resources manager, or training and development manager.

Human Resource Responsibilities

One of the most enjoyable parts of working in HR is the variety of tasks you handle. These tasks include: 

  • Recruiting, interviewing, screening, and hiring employees.
  • Dealing with employee conduct and engagement.
  • Administer and collate staff performance appraisals.
  • Helping employees understand benefits packages.
  • Acting as a liaison between the employer and employees.
  • Handling workplace discrimination and harassment issues.
  • Participate in the processing of payroll
  • Maintain accurate record of expiry of contracts, probationary periods, and acting appointments and submit reports for decision making.
  • Develop probation evaluation reports for confirmation of staff in service.
  • Undertake accurate filing and archiving of various staff records electronically and physically.
  • Implement with guidance human resource management strategies, policies and programs.
  • Implement employee recruitment, promotion, leave, transfer, and exit documents.
  • Collate and analyze training applications.
  • Support the preparation of monthly, quarterly and annual reports.

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