How to Become a Human Resource Manager
When you think of everything a human resources office does on a daily basis - from onboarding a new staff member to ensuring everyone’s direct deposit goes through - you can see just how versatile a field it is.
In this blog post, we’ll give an overview of what an HR manager does, the career outlook for the field, and provide insight on how to become a human resource manager.
What Does a Human Resource Manager Do?
A human resource manager can work as a generalist or specialist. For example, they might oversee an entire HR operation or manage a specific function within the department, such as serving as payroll manager or benefits coordinator.
Some of the more traditional tasks of a human resource manager include:
- Overseeing the recruitment, selection, and hiring process
- Planning and managing employee compensation and benefit programs
- Administering and processing payroll
- Consulting with managers and executives on talent development and management
- Ensuring compliance with local, state, federal, and industry regulations
- Developing and directing training programs
- Assessing employee performance
- Supervising other HR staff members
Today, human resource managers and related roles are becoming more diverse in scope and, in some cases, more specialized as needs arise within an organization. For example, many HR managers have a bigger role in strategic planning. Others work heavily with data, such as managing employee information systems.
As you think about these various roles and responsibilities, you can begin to set your own human resource manager career goals.
Human Resource Manager Job Outlook
Demand for human resources managers and other HR professionals remains strong: it’s a field that’s consistently looking for qualified professionals to fill roles in companies of all sizes. The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides career outlook stats for a range of human resource-related occupations. Let’s take a look at the expected growth between 2020 and 2030 for some of these positions:
- Human resource specialists: 10%
- Human resource managers: 9%
- Training and development specialists: 11% (faster than average)
- Training and development managers: 11% (faster than average)
- Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists: 10%
- Business operation specialists: 9%
The BLS data tracks overarching occupations; however, the data doesn’t always match up with the more specific job titles we see today - and the HR field is one that’s seeing a range of new roles and specialties such as compliance, workplace safety, inclusion, operations, and risk management.
Demand for New (and Future) Human Resource Roles
It’s an exciting time to become a human resource manager. The field of human resources is always evolving, but pandemic-related organizational changes within companies will likely increase demand - as well as create entirely new roles and functions for HR professionals.
For example, The Harvard Business Review (HBR) reports that in a day where employee retention is more critical than ever, we might see emerging titles such as “director of well-being” become more widespread. Additionally, with more workplaces going remote, companies might need an HR manager fully dedicated to this contingent of employees; HBR refers to it as a “work from home facilitator.”
What are the Most Important Skills for a Human Resource Manager?
When you look at the roles highlighted above, it’s clear there is a wide range of skills employers seek in HR professionals.
Collaboration, communication, and conflict-management skills are key when working with people at all levels of an organization. You’ll be conducting interviews, giving presentations, negotiating benefits plans, and handling workplace grievances - among many other duties that involve interacting with others.
Depending on your specific role in human resource management, budgeting and accounting skills might come in handy. Additionally, you might need knowledge of internal business processes and best practices specific to your organization or industry.
Today, as companies and organizations rely more heavily on data and technology, digital literacy and data analytics experience will become standard for many human resource manager positions. This is key for many reasons, including online recruitment, remote employee engagement, and performance analysis.
As noted above, with the evolution of positions in HR management, the need for new skills and competencies will always arise.
Putting it All Together: How to Become a Human Resource Manager
The field of human resource management is broad, which means there are many paths you can take to break into your first HR job. Regardless of your journey - whether you’re new to the industry or are already in HR and looking to advance your career - there are two sure-fire things that will help: the right education and experience.
Education for HR Managers
As you scan HR manager job descriptions, you’ll see a bachelor’s degree is usually required for entry-level positions. An undergraduate business degree will certainly provide a good foundation; however, a program that offers a concentration or degree in human resources management will give you an edge.
Experience for HR Managers
In addition to a human resource management degree or concentration, many positions require related work experience. If you’re changing careers, your previous professional will most likely count, especially if you’ve managed people or teams before - so use your work history as an advantage when creating your resume. If you’re brand new to the business world, you can gain experience in entry-level HR-related positions as you work your way into a human resource management job.
Expanding Skills and Knowledge in HR
Human resources is a field with plenty of growth opportunities, but advancing in your career and boosting your earning potential might require additional education or professional certification. Organizations like the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) offer continuing education and certification programs. You might also find opportunities to expand your knowledge of hiring, training, and managing people through industry-specific organizations, such as in healthcare, education, or consumer goods.
Some senior and executive positions might also prefer candidates with a master’s degree. If you see yourself moving up the ladder within your organization or pursuing a higher-level role at another company, a long-term goal for you might include earning a master’s degree in a business-related area such as organization development, leadership, employment law, or even data science.
Getting an Online Degree in Human Resource Management
If you’re considering changing careers to become a human resource manager, you likely already have a full-time job. Attending a flexible, online program is a more convenient way to earn your degree in human resource management.
Champlain College Online’s new bachelor’s degree in HR management was designed with the working professional in mind. Whether you already have entry-level expertise in HR that you want to round out or you’re entering the field for the first time, Champlain’s online B.S. in human resource management will equip you with the skills needed to work in this growing industry.
Coursework covers talent acquisition, development, and retention; compensation and benefits; and workplace laws and regulation. Additionally, you’ll learn how to use HR data to inform decision-making and solve complex HR-related issues to successfully fulfill your organization’s talent vision. This program will shape you into a strategic partner with a systems-thinking mindset to attain organizational goals.
To learn more about earning your bachelor’s degree in HR management online at Champlain, visit our program page.
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