Some may assume human resources professionals are simply staffers that process job applications and serve as go-betweens for employees and benefit providers.
But if you are a MBA candidate considering a career in human resources, you should know that in the last two decades the role of human resources managers has significantly evolved. Today, human resources managers serve as vital links between management and employees and HR professionals are seen as critical to an organization’s success.
Technology has helped usher in these changes. Tasks that once consumed most of the workday – payroll, training, recruiting – have all been partially (and in some cases, fully) automated. This has allowed HR professionals to turn their attention to functions tied directly to an organization’s bottom line.
The Growing Demand for Human Resources Managers
Employers across every industry have come to realize that managing the workforce is key to productivity. Job satisfaction and employee turnover are correlating factors to the overall success of an organization. Consequently, demand for skilled, insightful HR professionals is rising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the job outlook for HR managers will rise nine percent through 2024, a rate the BLS labels “faster than average.” The median salary for HR managers in 2015 was $104,400 per year.
Per the BLS, “human resources managers plan, direct, and coordinate the administrative functions of an organization.” In addition, they manage staff members in charge of recruiting and interviewing. Increasingly, human resource managers work closely with top executives, serving as a link between management and staff.
Depending on the size of an organization, human resource managers are responsible for:
- Recruiting, interviewing, screening and hiring employees
- Supervising employee compensation and benefits (including periodic re-evaluations)
- Developing and implementing hiring protocols, so the workforce resembles the makeup of the community the company serves
- Staying abreast of local, state and federal government regulations in order to comply with labor laws and to protect the company from liability
- Understanding and managing workplace privacy issues
- Supervising annual employee evaluations
- Developing and maintaining a company’s personnel manual or handbook
- Developing internal training protocols
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the preferred education requirement for HR managers is a master’s degree. Earning an SHRM Certified Professional or Senior Certified Professional credential can also boost your career prospects.
For human resources executives, no two days will be the same. One day you may be leading a management training seminar, the next day you may be interviewing applicants for a mid-level management job, and the next day you may be handling a delicate legal situation with an employee. A professional in this position needs communications skills; organizational know-how; coaching, goal-setting and team-building ability; leadership capability and good judgment.
When asked to identify what a human resources manager does, Susan M. Heathfield, an expert in the field, writes: “the answer is a lot. The role bears responsibility for all of the processes and systems related to people in an organization. The role must support the work of managers who supervise and lead the work of these people.”