Career Outlook: Human Resource Managers
Today’s organizations rely on human resource (HR) departments to help them function efficiently and responsibly. HR managers are traditionally responsible for overseeing employee relations and performance, but as many organizations have worked to transition to automated HR solutions and other digital workplace systems, skilled HR professionals are needed who can implement, organize and manage these resources. Additionally, capable HR managers can help lead quality assurance in the areas of workplace conditions and workers’ rights, which have become critical points of consideration and contention for today’s businesses.
Managing the many facets of today’s HR departments requires integrity, accountability, and strong leadership capabilities, as HR managers play a key role in leading organizational success. With demand for the position projected to grow in the coming years, potential industries for HR managers include everything from enterprises and various types of service providers to health care organizations and government entities. Even many smaller companies include HR departments to help ensure compliance with workplace laws, aid with staffing strategies and maintain positive employer/employee relations.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015, the median salary for human resource managers was $104,440. Those working in larger companies and enterprises were on the higher end of the pay grade spectrum, while those in government and health care services were on the lower end, between $89,000-$94,000.
Most human resource positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources or in a field related to the industry of the respective organization. Many organizations looking to hire an HR manager require a master’s degree in human resources or a business-related master’s degree, such as an MBA or Master of Science in Leadership. Career postings for HR managers most often seek candidates who have industry experience and have demonstrated their ability to successfully lead and manage others in organizations.
Duties and Responsibilities
Human resource managers typically oversee administrative functions such as employee payroll, and they also must be able to fully understand and explain the details related to compensation and benefits packages offered by their company. Professionals in this role need to also have a clear and thorough understanding of employment laws on all levels of government—local, state, and federal—and remain up to date on new laws or changes to current laws. These key responsibilities of an HR manager require strong research and analysis skills, as well as strong computer skills.
Aside from more traditional, administrative responsibilities, the HR manager position often involves articulating the organization’s mission statement, goals and purpose in a clear way that reflects the CEO’s vision. HR managers and their departments also handle the tasks of drafting and revising job descriptions, evaluating employee performance, and hiring the appropriate personnel in accordance with organizational goals. Excellent communication skills are central to the success of professionals in this role. This challenging position requires a high level of interaction between employees and staff, making strong listening and interpretive skills necessary in order to make appropriate decisions and handle workplace disputes effectively. Also, strong leadership skills are a necessity for today’s HR managers, as they help guide departments and organizations toward accomplishing work tasks and goals in a productive, efficient, and responsible manner. Ensuring that their organization operates ethically and responsibly in all facets of the business is another area of focus for HR managers. This includes dealing fairly with employees, adhering to employment laws, and advising individuals on company policies.
Powerful Tools for Human Resource Managers
Given that the responsibilities of human resource managers can extend from managing payroll to monitoring and influencing overall employee performance, ensuring accuracy in all HR functions is essential to the success of the department and to the organization. The five tools listed below are great resources that can help HR managers handle many of their important tasks more effectively.
BambooHR is an excellent software tool for managers in small businesses looking to establish a strong, effective HR department. This interactive software allows HR managers to automate tasks such as payroll functionality and even many aspects of the hiring process. The software’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) allows HR departments to quickly post to online job boards and social media platforms, as well as easily track applicants, automate the selection process based on specific qualifications, record feedback on applicants from other hiring personnel, and send offers to qualified candidates. The BambooHR interface also provides a means for tracking employee data, from healthcare packages to individual employee benefits.
Another software tool that can help enhance the efficiency of human resource management, particularly in the recruitment and hiring process, is JazzHR. This recruitment software allows the HR manager to incorporate big data analytics into their candidate-selection process through the JazzHR Crowd feature. This feature analyzes a wide range of factors in the industry that directly impact the overall success rates of candidates in particular job positions. These can include data points such as which universities train the most successful candidates for certain disciplines or which skill sets are most essential for success in a given position based on performance analysis. With the same feature, HR managers can also compare their recruiting and hiring activities to others in the industry. Similar to Bamboo, JazzHR also features Applicant Tracking System capabilities.
As organizations experience market growth, human resource managers often play a central role in deciding whether to expand operations internally or to outsource a portion of the workload to freelancers. In either case, it is typically the HR manager’s job to oversee the hiring process. For companies that choose to outsource, Upwork is an online resource that allows managers to connect with and hire freelancers or contractors in multiple areas of expertise. Freelancers on Upwork must undergo a review process when registering on the site in order to ensure they possess the appropriate skills and qualifications in their listed areas of expertise. They also take online skill tests and can post performance scores for potential employers to view. HR managers can post available jobs and the skills required to fulfill the job role, and the website will locate potential candidates on the site that best match the experience and skill requirements. Many HR departments use Upwork to find qualified candidates to outsource web writing and development tasks, customer service functions, accounting activities and a number of other duties.
Business and Legal Resources (BLR)
In today’s business environment, changes to federal and state employment laws can have an immediate impact on daily operations. A key responsibility of the HR manager is ensuring that their organization is up to date with any new changes to these laws and that workplace operations are adjusted accordingly. Remaining in compliance with all regulations can be a challenging task. The Business and Legal Resources (BLR) website is a great way for HR managers to keep track of current employment, safety and other compliance standards. BLR also offers a variety of tools, subscription services and training resources.
This professional networking platform is a great resource for both employers looking for new talent and for job seekers looking for great places to work. Many HR managers have found LinkedIn to be an effective way to post job openings and to recruit potential qualified candidates. Businesses can create company pages, which others on the site can follow to stay up to date with job postings and other news on the company. Many HR management professionals also create professional profiles highlighting the companies they represent. Through their profile, managers can browse potential candidates’ skills and expertise as well as previous positions and companies they have worked for in the past. The platform gives HR managers the option of allowing applicants to apply directly from their LinkedIn profile or linking them to the job posting on an online job board or company website.
Professionals in human resource management have a critical part to play in steering the culture and leadership of an organization. Regardless of the industry or size of the company, leadership capabilities of human resource managers can greatly impact the longevity and success of their company. There are many excellent tools available to HR managers to help increase proficiency in traditional HR-related tasks while also empowering them to do the important work of leading and managing responsible organizations.
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