A job in HR management in today’s corporate culture is far from strictly administrative. Instead, the role is now often an integral part of a company’s upper management, contributing to strategic goals with a focus on both people and data management to drive policy, improve productivity, and bolster profits. We will explore how to become an HR manager by highlighting the skills and education required to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources.
What is HR?
The term “human resource” was first used by American institutional economist John R. Commons in his book The Distribution of Wealth, which was published in 1893. Later, the idiom was appropriated by organizations for their newly formed HR departments, whose original role was to address misunderstandings or conflicts in the workplace.
What is HR, exactly? HR continues to stand for Human Resources, but the department has greatly expanded since its origins. HR is now the division of an organization responsible for job recruitment, training, onboarding, grievances, firings, and layoffs, as well as benefits and payroll administration. The HR department must also stay abreast of laws and regulations that may affect the company and its employees. Organizations look to today’s HR departments to maximize employee productivity, manage employee relations, help develop and implement policies, and assist in creating corporate strategies.
What is an HR Manager?
Working with leaders within an organization, HR managers plan for, hire and train new staff and cultivate a healthy work environment where individual employees and the organization as a whole can thrive. They also work alongside executives on strategic decisions to support company stability, improvement, and growth.
What is an HR manager beyond the hiring responsibilities already mentioned? Other common duties of a human resources manager include:
- Handling employee compensation and benefits
- Providing or coordinating employee training and development opportunities
- Addressing work-related issues of individual employees
- Keeping up to date on labor laws and regulations and ensuring company compliance
- Developing guidelines and policies that create a healthy, productive work environment for all constituents within the organization
- Implementing succession planning and mentoring
- Communicating regularly with employees regarding HR issues
HR managers can increase their value to a company when carrying out these duties by looking behind the curtain for resourceful ways to meet corporate objectives. For example, by tying performance appraisal and compensation to core competencies, they give employees (and managers) an objective standard for any pay or role adjustments, which may increase job satisfaction. Or when they research and apply new approaches to productivity and health, such as supplying standing desks for those with sedentary jobs, HR managers may be able to affect the bottom line by securing lower insurance rates.
HR Management Skills
The buck usually stops with the HR manager. So, when answering “What is an HR manager?” the definition encompasses the nuance of serving the needs of the employee while also looking out for the best interests of the organization. It can be a delicate balancing act, requiring extreme professionalism. That’s why there are some specific skills and qualifications that HR managers need to effectively perform their duties.
It is very rare in today’s business world to find an HR manager that doesn’t have an appropriate degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the level of education required for an HR manager is a bachelor’s degree, most commonly a Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources. While many organizations require 3-5 years of experience before moving into management, adding a concentration to your degree may put you on a faster trajectory. Ottawa University offers the following concentrations to complement your HR degree:
Not only will you be working with employees regarding their training, grievances, questions, and benefits, but you will also be working with all levels of management to meet their HR needs. These are people of all different personalities and backgrounds. Developing your emotional intelligence, such as knowing when to listen and when to speak, building trust, demonstrating empathy, exercising humble authority, being appropriately assertive, having the right tools and training to mediate disputes, and not letting emotions drive your conversations are important communication skills you need as an HR manager.
To say that the HR manager must juggle multiple duties at the same time is an understatement. Depending on the size of the organization, the HR manager could be dealing with a handful or hundreds of employees. Whether you are performing every function of the department personally or overseeing a staff with varying roles, there is an inordinate amount of paperwork, meetings, phone calls, and fires to put out. The HR manager must be able to prioritize duties, have a high level of organization, manage a complex schedule, and remain flexible to changing needs.
The HR manager’s role is sacrosanct, in many regards. Much of the information that is disclosed or handled is confidential and must remain so. That’s why an organization must be convinced of the HR manager’s trustworthiness. Any propensity to gossip or loose lips as it relates to personnel must be squashed before taking on a role in human resources, as it could easily lead to termination.
Of course, HR managers must be techno-savvy. Being familiar with the latest HR software, spreadsheets, employee portals, data collection, reporting, online research tools, and other HR-related technology functions are compulsory to move into an HR management role.
As an HR manager, you will almost certainly be tasked with finding solutions to both common and highly complex problems. Being resourceful, creative, collaborative, and open-minded can turn many of the problems you encounter into opportunities to make a positive impact on your organization. This will often require that you make confident, informed recommendations and decisions based on your company’s policies and procedures, labor laws, corporate values, and the circumstances surrounding the individual situation.
Socially and Emotionally Intelligent
HR managers must always have their antennae up to assess what motivates and inspires people, what they are averse to, what their values are, what incentives they respond to, how they prefer to communicate, and what their goals are. This skill is important not only with existing employees but also when going through the hiring process to ensure the person is a good fit for the company.
Human Resources Manager Salary
Those who have earned a BA in Human Resources will likely begin their careers in an entry or mid-level role, such as HR specialist, where they will gain valuable experience towards career advancement. Salaries for these roles average around $64K. After just 3-5 years of experience, however, or by earning a master’s degree in human resources, you can often jump into management, where you can earn a much higher human resources manager salary.
According to the BLS, the median human resources manager salary in 2021 was $126,240 – one of the best returns on investment for any bachelor’s degree coupled with a few years of experience! The need for HR managers is expected to grow at an average pace of 9% through 2030, or 14,800 new jobs per year. Keep in mind that HR managers are needed in every industry, whether it’s education, manufacturing, local government, private corporations, or non-profits.
SHRM Aligned Program
Ottawa University’s BAHR degree fully aligns with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. Throughout the world, only 252 programs in 201 educational institutions have been acknowledged by SHRM as being in alignment with its suggested guides and templates.
The Other Side of the Table
Once you’ve earned your HR degree and secured your first job, you’ll quickly be on the other side of the hiring table, helping an organization fill its personnel needs and creating a robust human resources department to add value to the company. Start the process – get more details today!
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Succession Planning and Mentoring