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If you are a critical thinker, a problem solver, and get satisfaction from working through “people issues,” you may be a natural-born leader, and a role as a human resources (HR) manager may be perfect for you. This field is ideal for people who are “born leaders,” have a passion for helping and supporting others, and who want a high-demand career in business. If you are considering a career in human resources and want to be an organizational leader, then human resources management (HRM) may be the right career choice for you. Here is a closer look at this career, what it takes to be good at it, and steps you can take to become an effective HR manager.

What Is Human Resource Management?

The Society for Human Resource Management defines human resource management as “the process of managing an organization’s employees.” In addition to helping organizational leaders support employees, HR leaders also connect the employee experience to the strategic needs of the organization. While HR is viewed as the team that manages employees, an effective HR team primarily provides support to other front-line leaders who have day-to-day contact with employees, as well as implementing plans and programs that support a healthy work environment and a company culture. Leaders recognize that whether they are leading a small or a large company, the employees are their most important asset. As such, company leaders look to HR to help them fully engage with their teams in order to deliver on the company’s mission and its brand promise.

What Is a Human Resource Manager?

The human resources manager is the professional who oversees the human resources management of the company or organization. They have several responsibilities, and those responsibilities often depend on the size of the organization. Sometimes, one human resources manager will oversee all HR duties in a small business. In a large business, the responsibilities often get split between more than one HR manager because they manage a complex list of concerns and needs.

What Does a Human Resource Manager Do?

The tasks of an HR manager will vary depending on the structure, organization, and size of the business. HR leaders focus on two primary areas. The first is the strategic needs of the organization, such as ensuring a workforce that supports the company’s brand promise, supporting an inclusive, welcoming, and safe work environment, and supporting company leaders who have responsibilities across many business areas. Second, to support the strategic goals of HR, the HR team also must be an effective service team, which entails providing support to employees through a variety of health and wellness plans and programs, promoting compliance, reducing risk, and providing accurate recording keeping. Here is a closer look at each individual duty attributed to an HR manager:

Recruiting and Hiring

When the organization needs to hire a new employee, there are a number of tasks that go into the process. First, the company will need to find candidates to interview. Recruiting involves placing job advertisements, screening resumes, fielding questions, and interviewing candidates. While other management team members may wish to be part of this process, much of the work of recruitment lands on the HR management team.

Once a qualified candidate is brought to the table, the hiring and onboarding process is also part of the HR manager’s job. They will send the job offer and handle some of the contract negotiations. They will also perform or oversee the new hire orientation process. Getting the new employee set up for their benefits, overseeing the onboarding process, and ordering supplies, uniforms, and gear are also part of this responsibility. Finally, when an employee leaves the company, the HR manager will perform the exit interview.

Compensation and Benefits

Compensation and benefits are a key part of making employees content in their work. The HR manager will present benefits and compensation packages and handle any questions about them. Once the employee is a part of the team, it is the HR manager that will make sure any changes to benefits or questions about benefits are handled properly. Often, they will oversee payroll questions as well.

Benefits can also include rewarding employees for their work. Incentive programs for good sales, safe practices, or attendance can be part of this. Planning celebrations for employee work anniversaries or other ways employees contribute to the company’s mission is a key focus of the human resources manager. When done well, these rewards improve employee morale and retention rates.

Training and Development

For employees to do their jobs well, regardless of the industry, they need to have ongoing training opportunities. The HR manager will consider what training and development programs would best cover the weaknesses in their employees, then provide incentives to partake in those activities.

The HR manager will also assign employees the work they need to do that will require the learning of new skills or the taking on of new responsibilities. This type of development often requires one-on-one help from management to ensure everyone adapts well to the changes.

Development of Workplace Policies

Well-run workplaces have policies in place to encourage productivity and overall satisfaction on the job. This can be a vital part of the HR department’s work. HR managers will work with employees and upper-level management to craft policies that satisfy everyone’s needs and desires while also helping the workplace run efficiently.

Ensuring Compliance with Laws Affecting Employment

Compliance is a key part of working in human resources. Specifically, the HR department will ensure that the company complies with the laws that relate to hiring and employment. For example, ensuring the facility meets OSHA standards and that work hours coincide with labor laws in both the local community and on the federal level.

By ensuring compliance, HR managers also protect the health and safety of the employees and the company, making this one of the more important duties of the HR manager.

Monitoring and Retention Strategies

Monitoring refers to measuring the performance of an organization and its workers, ensuring that the employees and work groups meet their goals. This is done through regular reviews of employees, comparing their work with past work, and making strategies for overcoming challenges when they arise.

In addition, the HR manager will focus on employee retention strategies. During these regular employee reviews, the manager can listen to the employees to see what is working well and what is working poorly in the work environment. Ensuring employee relations go well and employees are satisfied with their work will go far in helping keep employees on the job.

What Job Skills Do You Need to Be an HR Manager?

To be effective as an HR manager, you will need certain job skills. These include:

  • Critical thinking – Managers in human resources can encounter many problems, so you will need decision-making and critical thinking skills to solve potential issues.
  • Communication skills – Much of your job involves speaking and listening to others. You will also need to give presentations and communicate instructions to employees. It may be necessary to talk to high-level management. Sometimes the issues you must discuss are classified or sensitive, especially pertaining to personnel decisions. All of this requires a strong communication skill set.
  • Writing skills – From writing job advertisements to crafting job offers, you will need to be a strong writer. You may even need to create the employee handbook or draft a letter that explains a new company policy. In addition, you will be writing multiple emails and memos throughout each day.
  • Interpersonal skills – You will be working with people daily, and you need to understand how to relate to them. You also need strong emotional intelligence to be able to read what employees are feeling. Finally, you will need to have good teamwork abilities because you may have a team of HR professionals in your court.
  • Organizational skills – You will have piles of paperwork and multiple tasks to work on each day. You must be highly organized and have good time management skills to do well in this role.

How to Become a Human Resources Manager

If you think you have what it takes to be a skilled human resources manager, then you need to learn how to become one. This is rarely a job you can get right out of college, but with the right plan, you can pursue a rewarding management role. The right education and credentialing combined with some work experience will prepare you well for a job in this field.

Education Requirements

The first step in becoming a human resources manager is getting an education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates HR managers usually need a bachelor’s degree. On the foundational level, an HR management certificate could open the door to a career in this field. This can be particularly helpful if you already have a degree in a business-related field but want to move your focus to human resources. An HR management certificate may assist in the attainment of entry-level positions in the field, though these are rarely management positions.

If you do not have a bachelor’s degree, you could move into HR management with a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management. This degree provides focused training in HR.   You could also enter this field by studying business, communications, psychology, or a similar field. Some positions will also require a master’s degree in business or human resources, or you may choose to pursue graduate training as part of your continuing education after you finish your undergraduate degree.

When choosing a degree, you will have the option to choose electives. Before choosing your electives, think about your goals for your future career and the areas of human resources that are of the most interest to you. Consider which subjects you need more growth and development in. Some options to consider include:

  • Diversity in the workplace
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Managing culture in international workplaces
  • Occupational safety and health
  • Training and development

Work Experience

Most human resource management jobs are not entry-level positions. Because these are management roles, many require job experience as an HR professional in a non-leadership position. Working as a human resources specialist for many years can get you that experience. Sometimes you can move into an HR management position with other business-related work experience, but working directly in the field is often the most effective way to enter this role.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most human resources managers are not required by law to carry a license or certification. However, there are a few organizations that do certify or register people as professionals in this field. Each one has its own qualification protocols, but carrying a license or certification could make you more competitive when looking for a job. These organizations include:

Some of these organizations have generic human resources certifications, while others offer certification or registration in specific fields, like the benefits of retention. Consider your career goals, then choose a certification that fits.

Start Your HRM Training with Post University

If working in the role of human resources manager is appealing to you, Post University could help you get started. We have HR management certificate and bachelor’s degree programs that contain training on how to interact well with people and keep your organization operating as efficiently as possible with good employee retention. With a wide range of electives available, these programs could help prepare you for a range of HR career options. Contact Post University today to learn more about studying HR management.

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Please note jobs and/or career outcomes highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs or career outcomes expected from any Post program. To learn more about Post’s program and its outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions advisor.