Human resources (HR) is a critical function within organizations. From policy development to implementation, HR professionals cover a range of duties from ensuring workplace safety to managing payroll and benefits administration. Human resources management professionals may be specialists or generalists and responsible for any or all of the following:
Budgeting and planning all aspects of the company related to human resources
Informing executives and employees about company policies and procedures to ensure that all state and federal regulations are being followed
Coordinating recruitment, training, compensation, and retention efforts for the company
Negotiating employee benefits (insurance, retirement, etc.) and communicating any necessary changes or updates to all personnel
Understanding and ensuring that all labor laws and training requirements are being met
Addressing performance concerns and employee relations issues
Communicating with management and employees to increase productivity
Advising management on concerns related to equal employment opportunity, sexual harassment, and disciplinary procedures
A human resources manager often relies on the following skills:
Communication. Whether conducting a recruitment event, employee training, or a mediation session, solid communication skills are essential.
Management. This involves leadership, planning, supervision, and, when necessary, confrontation (e.g., firing personnel).
Interpersonal. Effective managers need strong social skills to negotiate benefits, recruit employees, present training sessions, and resolve conflicts.
Decision making. Recruiting and hiring new personnel and resolving personnel issues require a human resources manager to be decisive.
Organizational. In order to keep track of competing priorities, a human resources manager must be organized. Organizational tasks include scheduling trainings, interviews, mediations, and disciplinary proceedings in addition to maintaining and enforcing company policies and procedures.
Analytical. HR professionals are strategic partners in the management of an organization and must have a foundation in general management, from accounting to operations. Some aspects of HR, such as compensation, are entirely data driven.
Salary and Benefits
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for human resources professionals in 2012 was approximately $99,000. Employers also offer standard benefits packages.
Changing technologies are redefining the practice of human resources, and an increased emphasis on the professionalism of the role and recognition of HR as an essential business function are reshaping the field.
Changing global business practices require HR managers to develop a better understanding of virtual employee relationships, information systems, international recruitment strategies, and Internet policies and procedures. The field itself is predicted to grow 13 percent from 2012 to 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is considered to be average growth among all occupations. HR professionals will continue to play an important role in helping businesses stay up to date on changing employment laws, especially as businesses add new employees during times of economic expansion.