Working in the field of human resources can be very rewarding for people who enjoy playing a role in shaping company culture, creating a better work place and assisting employees in the various aspects of their experience.
What Do HR Departments Do?
HR departments perform a wide scope of duties. They not only work directly with employees, but also with the higher-ups in the company, developing strategies to grow and develop the organization. In many respects, they are the middleman between the management and the workers. Some specific duties under this department’s purview include hiring and orienting new employees, handling payroll, benefits administration, monitors salaries in the industry to remain competitive, coordinates employee training and mentoring programs, performance reviews, handle employee complaints, oversee union contracts, oversee assistance programs for personal issues, tracks federal and state laws to ensure the company is in compliance and handles employee disputes.
If you are interested in a leadership role, an HR manager may be a good fit. The exact nature of your job would depend on the type of company and its size. In a larger company, for example, different HR functions may have their very own departments within the larger HR department, and you would be responsible for overseeing all of them.
The Evolving Role of the HR Department
In the past, the bulk of HR work pertained to administrative duties, such as payroll, tracking sick and personal days, and administering benefits. While these tasks are still important parts of the job, the department has evolved into much, much more over the years. There is a greater emphasis on ‘’talent management,’’ creating programs and policies to improve the company culture and employee performance, and helping employees realize their full potential. For someone interested in leading the charge on change and making a company the best it can be, the role of HR manager can be very challenging and fulfilling.
If you are interested in getting a degree for a human resources job, several different disciplines can prepare you, and the people in this field have a variety of degrees, such as psychology, business, education, sociology and other disciplines in the social sciences. If you really see yourself in this field for the long-term –and you have an eye on management in particular– you should look into degrees specifically for this field. There are a variety of master’s programs, for example, that are appropriate for a manager, such as a master’s in organizational leadership. You may be able to obtain certain entry-level positions without any sort of degree, but growth would be limited, as the field has become more competitive over the years, and getting at least a bachelor’s degree is the norm.