What is a Human Resources Manager?

A human resources manager plans and implements workforce development efforts that include recruiting, employee training, creation of compensation and benefits packages and much more. The job functions for human resources (HR) professionals incorporate both business administration and public relations activities. Human resource professionals are often the first company representatives who meet employment candidates, and they are usually the last ones who speak with employees whose jobs have been terminated. The human resources career field employs human resource generalists and specialists. Nearly all human resource professionals start off as generalists and later gain experience in one or more of the field’s specialty areas like labor relations, recruiting or training. Human resource managers are leaders who often oversee the work of subordinate HR generalists and specialists. Here are some details about the duties of these managers, the education and training that they use to propel their careers and some common career development activities that are undertaken by them.

Job Activities of a Human Resource Manager

Human resource managers facilitate a variety of functions, according to the Houston Chronicle. Providing input to human resource directors for departmental plans, policies and procedures is arguably the most prominent of their job duties. These plans give general guidance about the company’s hiring process, its adherence to labor laws, employee benefits and professional development of the work force. HR managers are also responsible for establishing and implementing employee record keeping processes and systems, and they establish structured communication channels and procedures so that employee grievances can be recognized and resolved at appropriate management levels. HR managers must supervise junior HR generalists, advise and gain input from HR specialists and report progress to senior leaders within their organizations.

Education and Training for Human Resources Managers

Human resource managers usually begin their careers by gaining undergraduate degrees in business administration with concentrations in HR management. The career field of HR management is highly specialized, and hiring an HR generalist who has an academic background in another business-related concentration area is not typical. The curricula for HR undergraduate degrees usually introduce students to labor laws, standard components of benefits packages and best practices concerning recruiting. In addition to several years of progressive experience in the HR career field, many large corporations require that HR managers have advanced degrees. The curricula for most Master of Human Resource Management degree programs focus on the development of HR strategies that align with corporate ones. The program courses expose students to data-driven methods for recruiting, training and retaining work force assets in the long term.

Professional Development Opportunities for Human Resources Managers

Since changes in employment law significantly impact the HR management career field, HR managers must continue to refresh their knowledge through ongoing education. Most HR practitioners join professional organizations like the Society for Human Resource Management to gain access to the latest HR-related research from academia and educational seminars that are led by industry experts. The Society also administers internationally-recognized certification programs for knowledgeable HR professionals. Aspiring HR managers can gain additional leadership experience by participating in the organization’s mentor programs and student chapters.

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While the job title of human resources manager seems like a catch all for a person who is working in an organization’s HR department, it really is a distinct position that has specific associated functions. The role of human resources manager often prepares HR professionals for greater challenges as HR directors or HR vice presidents later in their careers.