Transition to HR from Finance


I am currently working in Finance, but I am looking to transition into HR, as I feel this field really appeals to my skillset and my career goals. 

I am quite a sociable person and like to engage with people in my company by getting involved in a collaborative and fun company culture. However I worry that I won't achieve this in HR, as HR could potentially be an isolated role because of its confidential and highly sensitive nature. 

Is HR quite an isolated role, or is it what you make it? Is it possible to find companies where you can still enjoy the social aspect of the company whilst still working in HR please? 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I am looking to self fund my CIPD to appeal to employers and any advice on the role would help me to commit to going for the qualification!

Thanks so much in advance!


  • Hi Nikita, I'm guessing no one has answered yet because you have pretty much covered your own questions! What you do in HR and the company you work for is bound to impact on how isolated, or not, you might feel in HR. People may well pump you for information, so you need to be prepared for that and know you can resist. I did the Level 5 and self-funded so I understand your hesitation. That said, the content and skills required feed into any role you might choose to explore, so if you can afford it and are interested enough, I think it can only be a good thing on your CV.
  • A lot can depend on the type of role you have and the company you are in.
    I have worked in organisations as part of HR Teams where the sense of fun and collaboration was high - particularly within the HR Team itself. I’ve also found that environments with lots of Employee Relations type work can feel more isolating due to the nature of the role. For me - my sweetspot was always to work within L&D , as part of a team. I never found it isolating, it provided lots of opportunities to engage with all areas of the business and it had a positive impact.
    It all comes down to what fits with your skills and aligns with your values/personality/motivations etc. Find a company that values you and explore all aspects of HR - you’ll eventually find your ‘best place’ . Good Luck !
  • Hi Nikita

    Is your current employer large enough to have an in-house HR team? If so, I would speak to them.

    If you search these forums for transitioning to HR, you will find a lot of posts from people who are struggling to make the transition and asking for advice. HR is, unfortunately, a vert difficult field to break into. Therefore, your best chance may be to start studying and wait for an opportunity to come up within your current employer. You may find it easier to make an internal move to get your first HR role rather than apply to another organisation with a qualification but no experience.
  • If you work in Finance and are any way involved in producing regulated information that will appear in the company's accounts or annual report, then you will have learned that there are things that you MUST not share with other members of staff, even if they ask you. HR is like this all year round, and provided you have mastered the ability to absolutely respect confidentiality withoiu compromising relationships, then the transition should not present problems in this area. In my career I've always been socially active with colleagues and it hasn't presented an issue.
  • Hi,
    From my personal experience, I think it depends what sort of business you work in, as others have said. I worked in 1 business where the HR Director was keen for the HR team to be more remote. HR was in a separate building, unlike the rest of the business units, so they were physically remote. (I know HR tend to work in separate offices, but this was an entirely different building that was as far away as possible to the workforce). And it was frowned upon to use the canteen etc. However, that was just one experience. I have worked in other businesses where HR were very much encouraged to be involved with the more social side of work, for example, attending volunteer days etc.

    There really can be fun organisations to work in, there are a lot out there to suit your needs. It is also a personal preference and can come down to being what you make it. For example, I personally tend to socialise away from fellow employees now that I work in HR. I think I would feel a little uncomfortable to sit in on a disciplinary, grievance or redundancy meeting when it's someone that you are more sociable with, or know that their role may be at risk. I therefore keep a professional distance but do attend the social functions that are put on by the business, with boundaries. I liken it to being friendly but not friends.

    I have never found it isolating. I do keep a professional distance, but believe that it the same for other roles and not just HR. When you socialise, you will also need to be aware of the needs of others. For example, without sounding harsh, sometimes, when you move to HR, there will be some people that suddenly think you are the police. So it's also about taking other people's needs into account too.

    I do believe there are organisations out there that will suit your needs and wishes. Good luck!
  • In reply to Caroline:

    Thank you for the advice regarding the CIPD Caroline, much appreciated!
  • In reply to Angela:

    Really appreciate the advice on what to explore when looking for organisations Angela, and I will look more into L&D too!
  • In reply to Elizabeth Divver:

    Hi Elizabeth, noted about trying to get experience, thanks for your help!
  • In reply to Ray:

    Thanks Ray, I never thought about it like that, that's really helped!
  • In reply to Stephanie :

    Thanks so much for the detailed advice Stephanie! So helpful to know that you can find organisations out there that can be aligned with what I am looking for!
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    7 Jun, 2021 09:38

    Welcome to the Community, Nikita... and always good to see a poster engage with and appreciate the contributions of others. Thank you.
  • In reply to Steve Bridger:

    Thank you Steve! Yes I definitely do appreciate any advice, as a transition into HR can be an exciting but scary move!
  • Hi Nikita,
    In our company, HR was a generalist role and we had someone come into the department from Finance. She did not struggle with the confidentiality at all - but rather with the times she had to be involved in disciplinary proceedings or other times when things were not necessarily fun (e.g. when tricky employee relations issues were going on) and some people became antagonistic just because we were HR.
    In finance, she always went out of her way to solve problems for people and struggled with sometimes having to say to people that some of the issues were not things that could just be "given".
    Having said that - it is possible to still enjoy the social side of the company whilst in the role but you need to be clear where the boundaries (the company's and your own) lie.
  • In reply to Karen:

    That’s really helpful thanks Karen! This is exactly my reservation, as I am used to solving problems for the organisation with my finance background, so I am nervous about handling ER cases etc in HR. Should this reservation be enough to reconsider transitioning to HR? Or are there more areas to develop in please? Thank you!
  • In reply to Nikita:

    HR is all about solving problems for the organisation.

    Both HR and Finance are used to working within a legal framework. If the person in Karen's example was asked to process an unauthorised invoice (or some other better finance example you can think of and mentally insert here!), I'm sure she wouldn't have hesitated for one second to bounce it back and tell the person to collect the required signature.

    There are a number of myths about HR. I have more than once heard people say that they think they would have been good in an HR role because they were a people person. If you think HR is all about tea and sympathy and being good with people, disciplinary issues will come as an enormous shock. You are also going to find redundancies very stressful. Having said that, I find it strange that someone handling an ER issue wouldn't perceive it as solving a problem for the organisation. Believe me, the managers who have the staff problem will absolutely see you as solving their problem! In my experience nothing stresses line managers like grievances, performance issues and disciplinaries, and redundancies are often considered the hardest thing a line manager ever has to handle. That's when we in HR get to ride in like the cavalry.

    There is another HR stereotype, and that is that HR are the internal police whose role is to say no. That view is as misguided as the "people person" view. Could the person in Karen's example have had that perception of HR?

    You are right to think very carefully about all the aspects of HR work and how you would handle them. If you don't think ER is for you, then L&D might be more attractive. Browsing these threads will give you a very good idea of the kinds of issues that could end up on your desk if you were able to get your crucial first job into HR and then move up into an advisor-level role.