Articles

Human Resource Management Jobs

by Barbara Mitchell, Managing Partner

Learn More About HR Degrees OnlineI can’t tell you the number of times someone has said to me, “I want to be in HR because I like people.”  Yes, it certainly helps to like people if you plan to work in HR, but it certainly is not a valid reason to make a career choice in a field that is highly complex and diverse in what it does.

Human resources as a profession has not been around that long.  It was not until the early part of the 20th century when there was a strike at the National Cash Register Company that their president decided he needed a department to take care of things like grievances.  After World War II, organizations embraced having a “personnel department” to hire and pay their employees.

The famous management expert, Peter Drucker, actually coined the term “human resources” which has now become widely used. We are beginning to see other names for the HR function as well, including the People Operations Department, which is actually quite descriptive and is being used at Google—the number one company to work for on the Fortune Magazine list!

In most organizations today, the HR function has responsibility for:

  • Staffing the organization
  • On-boarding new hires
  • Developing employee policies and procedures
  • Developing and managing compensation programs
  • Negotiating and managing benefit plans
  • Training employees
  • Developing management and leadership development programs
  • Monitoring employee engagement and satisfaction (and working to keep it high)
  • Handling employee relations issues
  • Selecting and using a human resources information system
  • Developing and monitoring ethical practices for the organization
  • Working with outside legal counsel
  • Keeping the workplace safe and secure

This list is not intended to be a job description for an HR manager but I include it to show that there are a lot of moving parts to being in the HR field and many possible HR jobs.

Randstad does an annual “Hot Jobs” list and HR is one of the hot jobs for 2015. This is good news and shows that organizations are hiring again and are concerned about retaining the talent they have on board now.  According to this list, recruiters and compensation specialists will be in high demand due to increased hiring needs and for organizations to ensure their pay practices are fair and competitive.

As the country rebounds from the recent economic slowdown, savvy organizations are realizing that their employees have increased options so if they want to retain them, they need to focus attention on ensuring their total rewards programs (salary, benefits, time-off, recognition and rewards programs) are doing what they are intended to do—retain the best talent available!   This is why recruiters and compensation specialists are in demand.

If you are interested in compensation, check out www.worldatworksociety.org to learn about their certification program, courses, webinars and more. For human resource management jobs, www.shrm.org is the site for the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). There you will find information on courses, conferences, webinars, certification programs and more.  Another great resource is www.workforce.com where you will find research, articles, conferences, webinars and other tools.

In addition to the online resources above, check your local area for courses offered on-line or in person at your local university.  SHRM has local chapters that meet usually monthly and there you will meet other HR professionals and hear about available human resource jobs in your community.

I started this article by saying it is not enough to like people in order to get an HR job. So, what does it take?  It takes intelligence, curiosity, energy, enthusiasm and a commitment to doing the right thing.   It takes people who understand how business operates and how their particular organization works.

Barbara MitchellBarbara Mitchell, Managing Partner of The Mitchell Group, is co-author of The Big Book of HR and The Essential HR Handbook.