Human resources managers play an essential role in most companies. They’re the point of contact for company employees and their concerns, as well as the liaison between management and their employees. They handle a variety of tasks related to the people who work at a company, including hiring new employees, developing and enforcing employee policies, and addressing grievances among staff.
The duties of a human resources manager vary depending on the size and needs of their company. For instance, a large corporation may have a team of HR professionals who specialize in different areas like compensation and benefits or employee relations. Smaller organizations may not have access to such specialized expertise, so they rely on HR managers to handle all of these tasks on their own.
Read on to learn more about what it’s like to be a human resources manager and what it takes to become one yourself.
Human Resources Manager Job Duties
Typical job duties for human resources managers include:
- Evaluating job candidates based on their personal qualifications and professional experience
- Interviewing candidates during the hiring process to ensure they meet all job requirements
- Preparing reports that document an employee’s employment history, including information about his or her performance, attendance, training, and disciplinary actions
- Providing performance evaluations to employees in order to determine their skill level and potential for growth within the company
- Creating employee training programs in areas such as customer service skills or conflict resolution strategies
- Helping employees resolve work-related issues by serving as a liaison between them and their supervisors or other HR staff members
- Conducting exit interviews with departing employees to learn why they are leaving the organization and how they could have been retained in order to prevent turnover from occurring in the future
- Creating employee handbooks and manuals that outline company policies and procedures
Human Resources Manager Salary & Outlook
The median annual wage for human resource managers is $82,521. The highest earners make over $128,000 per year. Those earning higher wages tend to work in government agencies.
The employment of human resource managers is projected to grow faster than average over the next decade. This is due to the growing need for HR professionals as organizations focus on developing and improving their human capital and seek out improved ways to manage operations and improve productivity.
Human Resources Manager Job Requirements
The requirements for human resources managers are as follows:
Education: A human resources manager generally needs a bachelor’s degree in human resources or business. Some employers may prefer candidates who hold a master’s degree in the field. Most bachelor’s degrees require candidates to take classes like introduction to HR, benefits administration, organizational behavior and compensation and benefits.
Training: On-the-job training is essential for human resources managers to learn their employer’s unique policies and procedures. It also allows them to explore different career paths within their organization. This training may take place at the beginning of an HR professional’s career, or it could occur during a promotion or transfer to a new department
Certifications & Licenses: While certifications are not required for this job, some employers may look for certain credentials when hiring an applicant. Two popular certifications include Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Certified Compensation Professional (CCP).
Human Resources Manager Skills
Human resources managers (HR managers) will need to possess the following skills to succeed:
Leadership skills: HR managers are leaders who must know how to motivate, inspire, and encourage their team and employees. They must be firm when necessary, but they also need to earn trust with tact and diplomacy.
Conflict resolution skills: In addition to problem-solving and interpersonal skills, it is specifically important for HR managers to possess excellent conflict resolution abilities to handle potential employee disputes and other HR issues appropriately and effectively.
Critical thinking skills: Critical thinking skills are needed, so HR managers can see past the surface issues and understand the real issue at hand. This goes hand in hand with sound judgment abilities that are also required.
HR skills and knowledge: HR managers need to stay updated with relevant policies, procedures, standards, and applicable regulations governing their industry in relation to employment, benefits, disputes, compensation, etc. as they are responsible for ensuring the company adheres to these.
Organizational skills: HR managers are required to oversee the administration of confidential information and processes, so they need to have good organizational abilities in order to delegate tasks and oversee HR operations well.
Human Resources Manager Work Environment
Human resources managers work in offices at companies, hospitals, colleges, or other organizations. Human resources managers spend most of their time indoors, but they may occasionally work outdoors, attending meetings or taking clients to lunch.
Human resources managers work with many different people, including employees, clients, vendors, and business partners. They must be good at communicating with all of these people, and they must also be skilled at managing employees and overseeing the HR department.
Human Resources Manager Career Path
Most HR Managers start off as recruiters or in other entry-level positions. They have to learn the ropes of the business and the company’s policies. It can be a very fast track position, but there is a lot of responsibility involved in the position because they are in charge of a lot of people.
Five Years On The Job
Five-year veterans of small companies have become important staff members, and many of them have specific areas of control. Individuals who work for large companies have begun to specialize in health benefits, pension plans, 401(k) plans, corporate recruiting, or another area of human resources. Many of them feel that working long hours will earn them a position as vice president or director of human resources. Salaries increase, but many people who want larger salaries move to bigger corporations. Satisfaction is high for career-track professionals.
Ten Years On The Job
By ten years, human resources managers are responsible for all aspects of personnel management in their companies. They are consulted on decisions about hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, and more. Their satisfaction is very high because they feel that they are making a difference to the company’s well-being. At this level they can also begin to take managerial positions outside of human resources management, particularly if they have built up contacts within the business community.
Human Resources Manager Trends
Here are three trends influencing how human resources managers work. Human resources managers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.
Increased Focus on Recruiting Millennials
As millennials continue to enter the workforce, companies are focusing more on recruiting new talent from this generation.
The millennial generation, which has now reached its peak age of 25-34 years old, is characterized by several traits that are influencing business decisions today—such as an emphasis on quality of life over salary and a greater awareness of diversity in the workplace.
People and Skills First
As the number of job seekers continues to grow in the U.S., HR managers will need to place a greater emphasis on skills and education when looking for new hires.
Businesses are shifting away from traditional, college-centric recruiting practices and instead focusing on non-traditional ways of finding talented employees. As a result, many HR professionals are expanding their job boards beyond traditional recruitment sites to better connect with qualified candidates.
Improved Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is becoming increasingly important for many workers, particularly women. The majority of HR professionals surveyed by staffing firm Accountemps said that they are focused on hiring individuals who can make work and personal life more balanced.
To achieve this, companies may need to focus on creating flexible working environments in order to appeal to a broader pool of candidates while providing HR managers with the training they need to create these work environments effectively.
How to Become a Human Resources Manager
1. Planning Your Career
A career in human resources can be very rewarding, but it can be a high-stress position. To excel in this field, one should be passionate about people.
HR management positions usually require working experience preferably in HR or management. Securing an entry-level position in an HR department to develop experience can be a good starting point. A graduate degree could also be advantageous. Some HR managers have studied in other people-related fields such as psychology or social sciences.
2. Writing a Resume
If you’re applying for a job as a human resources manager, your resume should demonstrate your experience in the field and highlight how your skills can benefit the company. Review the job description carefully and make sure to include information relevant to the position you are applying for.
As an HR manager, you are an important part of the recruitment process. Your resume should highlight your leadership abilities and ability to work in a team, as well as your industry knowledge.
3. Applying for Jobs
Human resources managers should use a combination of their personal network and online job boards to find employment. Reach out to your professional network, both online and offline, and contact everyone you know who works in the HR field. Try to get your name out there by attending HR-related conferences, workshops, and training sessions.
It’s also important to use the Internet to look for openings; visit LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, and Glassdoor for listings in your area. You can also join your local chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management and look into joining their email list for other potential openings.
4. Ace the Interview
In order to succeed in an interview as a human resources manager candidate, it is important to know what the employer expects from you. If you do not have experience in the position, talk about your interest in human resources and how you can use your skills to help improve the company.
When asked a question, make sure you answer directly and succinctly. Be prepared to discuss your experience with managing employees, dealing with conflicts between co-workers, or other situations that might arise at work. You will also want to prepare for questions regarding your managerial style. As a human resources manager, you may be expected to take charge in a difficult situation, so be ready to describe a time when you had to fire someone or ask someone to leave a project. Also, make sure you can talk about policies and procedures you implemented, and how they were successful.
It is also important to be prepared with thoughtful questions about the company’s goals and expectations of the position.