“In the past several decades, the human resource profession has evolved to become an integral component of the organization,” according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The role and the value that HR brings is changing. One survey reveals how HR departments “offer more to organizations than the transactional HR activities of record keeping, payroll and employee benefits administration.”
- 70 percent of responding organizations said HR has a place on the board of directors
- 66 percent reported having a written HR management strategy
- Responses indicated HR is taking sole responsibility for major policy decisions
Whether they are directly employed by a company or they work at an organization where companies go to outsource HR functions, these professionals are in need. Employment of HR specialists is projected to grow 7 percent by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). HR manager jobs are projected to grow 9 percent by 2026.
What Can I Do with a Human Resource Degree?
An HR or HRM degree prepares you for various career opportunities in the field. You might enter into human resources by becoming a generalist or specialize in some particular aspect of the profession, such as recruiting, training or development. Another opportunity, after you acquire several years of HR work experience, would be to become an HR manager.
HR generalists handle all aspects of work in a human resources department. They may have responsibilities in anything related to HR, including recruitment, employee relations, compensation, benefits, training and the administration of HR policies, procedures and programs.
Job duties may include the following:
- Developing HR solutions by collecting and analyzing information, then recommending a course of action.
- Improving employee and manager performance by identifying and clarifying problems, evaluating and implementing potential solutions and providing coaching or counseling.
- Administering the compensation program.
- Monitoring the performance evaluation program.
- Developing and maintaining affirmative action programs, filing an annual EEO-1 report and maintaining other records.
- Maintaining company organization charts and the employee directory.
- Maintaining HR information system records and compiling reports from the database.
- Maintaining compliance with federal, state and local authorities, as well as with other applicable laws and regulations.
Human resources professionals may specialize in a specific aspect of HR work. Here are two common examples:
- Recruitment specialists find, screen and interview applicants for job openings in an organization. Sometimes referred to as personnel recruiters or head hunters, they search for applicants by posting job listings, attending career fairs and visiting college campuses. They may also network, make cold calls and explore referrals for filling positions. Other responsibilities may include testing applicants, contacting references and extending job offers. Recruitment specialists must stay up to date on local hiring laws and regulations.
- Training and development specialists help plan, conduct and administer programs that train employees and improve their skills and knowledge. They assess training needs, design and create training materials, deliver instruction using a variety of techniques and assist in the evaluation of training programs. Other responsibilities include administrative tasks like monitoring costs, scheduling classes, coordinating enrollment and setting up systems and equipment. Training and development specialists may utilize lectures, group discussions, team exercises, videos, self-guided instruction manuals and online programs.
HR managers plan, direct and coordinate the administrative functions of an organization. They oversee all aspects of the human resources department, including recruiting, interviewing and hiring of new staff, as well as consulting with top executives on strategic planning.
Job duties may include the following:
- Planning and coordinating a company’s workforce to best utilize employees’ talents.
- Linking an organization’s management with employees.
- Planning and overseeing employee benefit programs.
- Consulting with other managers to advise them on HR issues, such as equal employment opportunity and sexual harassment.
- Coordinating and supervising HR workers and support staff.
- Handling staffing issues, such as mediating disputes and directing disciplinary procedures.
HR managers may also specialize in a particular area. For example, recruiting or staffing managers oversee these functions of the HR department. They commonly supervise a team of recruiters and may assume some recruiting duties for filling high-level positions. Recruiting or staffing managers are tasked with developing a recruiting strategy that will meet the needs of their organizations and compete for the best talent.
HR specialists earn a median annual wage of $59,180, according to the BLS. Note that the agency classifies HR generalists as a type of HR specialist, but training and development specialists are classified separately.
HR managers earn a median annual wage of $106,910.
Competencies Needed for a Future in HR
If you want to pursue a future in HR, there are certain competencies that are needed for a successful career. The SHRM HR Competency Model offers nine competencies that correlate strongly with a high-performing professional.
- Human Resource Expertise: A strong working knowledge of critical HR functions, as well as the ability to apply best practices and deliver customized HR solutions
- Relationship Management: Ability to establish credibility across interactions, develop healthy interactions that promote individual and organizational success, and build an effective internal and external network
- Consultation: Effective in applying creative problem solving to business challenges in a way that invites others to approach them with career and organizational concerns
- Leadership and Navigation: Adept at building collaborative environments where solutions are generated that conform to organizational culture
- Communication: Skilled in delivering critical information, gathering information and communicating with people of various perspectives
- Global and Cultural Effectiveness: Culturally aware and show nonjudgmental respect for other perspectives
- Ethical Practice: Have trusting relationships and is seen as credible because of his or her judgment, in terms of confidentiality, ethical behavior and values
- Critical Evaluation: Objective and have the critical thinking skills that allow for making sound judgments based on keen analysis, best practices and an awareness of preferred outcomes
- Business Acumen: A strong understanding of the strategic relationship between HR and core business functions
Pursuing a Career in HR
An online bachelor’s in business administration (available with a concentration in human resource management) from Concordia University Texas can equip you with the skills to succeed in helping organizations thrive. Learn in a flexible, convenient online environment with a schedule that fits your life.