HR course for today's challenges

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 March, 2009, 12:00am

Human resources is a vital cog in the wheel that ensures the smooth running of a company. Today, hiring the right people and dealing with employee relations has become more crucial than ever, and having the right professionals in place to cater for these functions can lead to the success of a company.

Recognising the need for top-notch professionals, Baptist University's school of business has introduced a postgraduate diploma in human resources management. The programme is designed to equip professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to meet the challenges ahead.

Alicia Leung Shuk-mei, director of the postgraduate programme, said: 'Unlike other courses our programme sees human resources from a strategic point of view.

'In modern management, human resources no longer plays a passive role, but is an active consultant, contributor and strategic partner to the overall development of the business.'

Explaining the development of the human resources function, Ms Leung said management used to put forward a series of criteria to hire a person, and it was the duty of the human resources department to find the right fit.

'But now human resources communicates closely with management to provide solutions for the development of the business. It is also involved with the execution and implementation of the company's policies.'

Students on the course come from various backgrounds including human resources personnel from international firms, mainland companies and banks.

They generally have more than 10 years of experience in the field, sharing a wealth of knowledge about human resources issues in different fields, and providing a wholesome outlook on the subject.

'An advantage of the course is that our students are of high calibre. They are veterans in the field and sharing of their work experience is extremely beneficial for students.

'Apart from human resource managers, there are also directors of companies studying the course, and their experience sharing in class is invaluable,' Ms Leung said.

The two-year, part-time course mainly consists of classroom meetings on weekends. There are also various seminars hosted by senior business executives. Ms Leung said the seminars were not necessarily about human resources management, but they helped students to keep up to date with the latest market information and build their business network.

Sheila Yung Shi-fan, head of human resources at Dun & Bradstreet (HK), took the course to upgrade her professional knowledge. 'I got a bachelor's in human resources management at Baptist University. It was quite a risky decision to make at the time because human resources was a new and unknown subject in Hong Kong, but my experience has proved that I made the right choice. I believe in lifelong learning and am always looking forward to upgrading and updating my knowledge in the field.'

Ms Yung believes the course offers a good balance between theory and practice. 'It gave me a whole new perspective of human resources management. There is strong emphasis on how to handle change which is very beneficial to me. Every day I have to deal with changes, and the programme taught me how to handle them in a systematic way which is vital for managing people,' she said.

'One of my colleagues is a graduate of the course and, since I [studied at] Baptist University, I am confident about the design of the programme and the quality of the teachers.'

Lyon Chan, a senior manager at the Hospital Authority, said words of encouragement from her boss was the main driving force for her taking the course. 'I remembered the head of human resources saying in a speech that we need to make the Hospital Authority an employer of choice. If I want to achieve that, I need to equip myself with more professional knowledge.'

Ms Chan said the course was practical, demystified long-held theories and practices, and opened up a new dimension and insight into the world of human resources management.

'In my first course about the foundations of human resources management, it made me think about the power and limitations of human resources management and the correct mindset to be a human resources professional.

'Before taking that course, I thought that there was a model to human resources and if I was able to master that model I would be successful. However, after taking the strategic human resources management course, I learned that there is no model. The best model is the model that fits the needs of the organisation best,' she said.