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Born to Lead? Use Your Assets as a Human Resource Manager

Are you blessed with an enviable balance between your people skills and your ability to think strategically? Do you thrive on providing one-on-one support to others while simultaneously holding a broader vision for group success? If you’re seeking a dynamic career that lets you leverage your natural talents into a rewarding and prosperous vocation, consider a position in Human Resource Management.

What is human resource management? defines Human Resource Management (HRM) as “a term used to describe formal systems devised for the management of people within an organization.” In recent years, both large and small companies have come to increasingly recognize how important an organization’s workforce is to its success. In fact, human resources — i.e. employees —are a business’s most valuable assets. The main goal of HRM is to “maximize the productivity of an organization by optimizing the effectiveness of its employees.”

What is a human resource manager?

“The human resource manager is directly responsible for the overall administration, coordination, and evaluation of the human resource function,” according to a job description template resource provided on the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) website. Although the responsibilities of a human resource manager can vary based on industry and company size, they typically fall into three major areas:

  • Staffing
  • Defining and designing work
  • Employee compensation and benefits

In small businesses, you may find one person overseeing all of the HR-related duties. In larger organizations, you’ll find greater specialization as the complexity and needs increase. But regardless of size, every business employs people, and with people come personnel challenges and management problems that can have a decisive impact on the health and long-term success of a business.

Irving Burstiner, author of “The Small Business Handbook” notes: “Hiring the right people —and training them well — can often mean the difference between scratching out the barest of livelihoods and steady business growth.”

What does a human resources manager do?

The overriding goal of an HR manager is to advance the objectives of the organization as a whole by overseeing the day-to-day decisions and practices involved in actualizing that vision. Human resources managers serve as a link between an organization’s management and its employees, working in close consultation with top executives to plan strategies for company success while coordinating and directing the administrative functions needed to carry out the mission.

An important principle that guides modern HR practices is that business success “is most likely to be achieved if the personnel policies and procedures of the enterprise are closely linked with, and make a major contribution to, the achievement of corporate objectives and strategic plans,” according to Michael Armstrong in his book “A Handbook of Human Resource Management.”

To achieve those objectives, HR managers spend much of their day-to-day time:

Recruiting and hiring:

From the writing and placing of job opportunity advertisements to helping supervisors screen and interview candidates, HR managers are very involved in staffing. They might check a candidate’s references, extend the official job offer, conduct new-hire orientations, oversee the onboarding process, and conduct exit interviews when employees leave the company.

Training and developing:

Providing employees with ongoing training and developmental opportunities is key to building an effective and empowered company culture. It falls to the HR manager to assess each employee’s specific needs in these areas and provide the appropriate training that enhances performance by strengthening job-related skills and competencies.

An HR manager might help successful employees improve even further by giving assignments that introduce new skills or higher levels of responsibility. Employees who are underperforming might benefit from one-on-one help in adapting to workplace changes, such as the introduction of new technology or a change in departments and job duties.


An effective organization requires continual monitoring of assignments and projects. “Monitoring well means consistently measuring performance and providing ongoing feedback to employees and work groups on their progress toward reaching their goals,” explains The U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

HR managers conduct progress reviews with employees to compare their performance against goals and standards. This lets HR managers assess how well employees are meeting predetermined standards and revise those that are found to be unrealistic or problematic. Continual monitoring ensures that deficiencies in performance are quickly identified and addressed, providing an employee with the assistance needed to improve early in the employment process.


In addition to designing and overseeing the administration of compensation and benefits packages for employees, HR managers implement recognition and rewards programs to incentivize and acknowledge staff. Honoring employees’ contributions to the company’s mission through ongoing and consistent verbal praise as well as more formal policies, such as cash bonuses or paid time off, boosts morale, encourages collaboration, and improves retention.

Ensuring compliance:

Human resources is responsible for ensuring that the company’s policies and procedures are compliant with all federal, state, and local employment and labor laws. HR managers are accountable for protecting the health and safety of the entire workforce.

What job skills do you need to be an HR manager?

Almost every task related to performance management and the accomplishment of company goals relies heavily on strong communication and interpersonal abilities.

1) You must be able to speak clearly and effectively. Human resources managers need to be comfortable giving presentations to large groups and able to clearly communicate information and instructions to their staff and other employees. You’ll frequently find yourself involved in high-level, confidential communications about personnel issues that require sensitive navigation. You’ll need to communicate the business’s priorities professionally, efficiently, and tactfully while handling such challenging situations as employee grievance procedures or employee misconduct investigations.

2) You need to be able to communicate effectively in writing. You’ll oversee the creating and sharing of company policies, procedures, the employee handbook, and performance development plans. You’ll also be responsible for maintaining a written record of each employee’s actions in terms of performance, contributions, policy violations, investigations, and disciplinary actions.

3) Human resources managers need strong interpersonal skills and high emotional intelligence because this is a people-focused position. You’ll be collaborating on a daily basis with other departments and colleagues, so the ability to work well as part of a team is essential. Additionally, you’ll probably be managing a diverse workforce, so sensitivity to cultural differences is mandatory.

4) Strong leadership skills give HR managers the ability to direct a staff and oversee departmental operations. In a large company, you may be tasked with enlisting the help of independent human resources consultants, attorneys, and training specialists.

5) Sharp critical thinking and decision-making skills help human resources managers assess the strengths and weaknesses of different options and determine the best course of action for the company’s overall health.

6) Organizational and time management skills are essential for prioritizing tasks, overseeing several projects at once, scheduling, planning, and ensuring precision and accuracy in all documents and reports.

Top jobs in human resources

Human resources managers are employed in nearly every industry, and the job growth rate between 2016-2026 is projected to be 9 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The constantly changing and complex employment laws require new start-up companies as well as established organizations that are expanding to avail themselves of knowledgeable HR professionals. Businesses need qualified HR professionals to oversee and administer company programs and ensure they remain in compliance from year to year. Although job prospects are good for HR managers, you can expect competition to be strong for many of the most desirable positions.

The median annual salary for human resources managers was $106,910 in May 2016, or $51.40 per hour, reports the BLS. Some HR managers oversee all aspects of an organization’s human resources department, including the compensation and benefits program and the training and development program. In many larger organizations, specialized managers direct these programs.

Some mid- to high-level positions in human resources and their chief functions include:

Recruiting, or staffing, managers:

Develop a recruiting strategy to attract and procure the best employees to meet the staffing needs of their organization. They often supervise a team of recruiters, although some may perform recruiting duties themselves when trying to fill high-level, executive positions.

Compensation managers:

Monitor market conditions and government regulations while analyzing data on wages and salaries to verify that their organization’s pay rates are current and competitive. Compensation managers use this information to maintain or develop pay scales for their company along with designing guidelines for bonuses, sales commission rates, and incentive pay.

Payroll managers:

Supervise the organization’s payroll department to ensure correct and on-time processing. They administer payroll procedures, prepare reports for the accounting department, and resolve any discrepancies.

Benefits managers:

Select and administer employee health, life, and disability insurance plans and retirement plans. Benefits managers implement leave policies and wellness programs, and they monitor government regulations and market trends to ensure that their employee benefits programs are current, competitive, and legal.

Training and development managers:

Create or select course content and materials for training programs. They often confer with managers of other departments to identify training needs and consult with top executives to match training priorities with overall business goals. Training and development managers typically supervise a staff of program developers, instructional designers, and instructors who are responsible for delivering the materials to the organization’s employees. They also prepare training budgets and ensure that expenses stay within budget.

HR consultants:

Many small companies, and even large ones, prefer to outsource to independent consultants rather than hiring full-time employees. Jana Tulloch believes that over time, consulting opportunities for seasoned HR professionals will only increase: “Everything seems to be moving that way. Consulting remotely has allowed me to work from home, set my own rates, spend more time with my kids and gain international clients. It opens up the whole globe.”

Stepping onto your HR career path

Wondering how to become a human resources manager? As you’ve seen, this diverse and needed industry offers numerous avenues for specialization and advancement. A great place to start acquiring the knowledge and skills you need to build a solid foundation is by earning a certificate in Human Resource Management. An added benefit is that this certificate only requires 18 credit course hours, so you can start on an HR career path in no time at all.

Core coursework includes leadership skill development, communication dynamics, human resource systems, and labor and employment law. The following are examples of electives you might choose based on your interests:

  • General Occupational Safety and Health
  • Managing Culture and International Human Resources
  • Managing a Diverse Workforce
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Training and Development

As a graduate of this program, you will be qualified to secure entry or advanced-level employment in public and private, profit and nonprofit organizations. You’ll learn how to engage in strategic business planning as you develop the requisite management skills. You’ll leave confident in your ability to lead and motivate employees and build the supportive relationships required between an organization and its workforce for collective success.

If you’re eager to explore the dynamic field of Human Resource Management, contact us to enroll in Post University’s certificate program today. Our instructors are experienced professionals working in tandem with Post’s exceptional support staff to support you step of your educational journey and prepare you for success in this exciting field. Whether you earn your HR certificate online or at our Waterbury, Connecticut, campus, we offer flexible day, evening, and weekend options to make it easy to fit the Human Resource Management certificate program into your schedule.

Turn over a new leaf in your career. Contact us to enroll in our HR management program now.