Most people have either heard of or had a direct experience working alongside an “HR” representative in either their professional or academic career. “HR” is a short name often used to refer to human resources management, but just what is human resources management?
Human resources management is one of the most dynamic and vital components of any company or organization and can best be described as the procedures and management of practices of any type of company or organization that employs individuals.
It is the function of human resources to assist in all facets and phases of employee relations. Human resources managers are charged with all the responsibilities associated with the employment process including advertising an open position and finding suitable candidates to interview. The HR department is also responsible for screening candidates, advancing salary negotiations, and assisting new and current employees with everything from workplace disagreements, potential bonuses and raises, and even inappropriate emails. Essentially, HR is involved in every single facet of employee relations in any company or organization.
Human resources professionals might choose to pursue careers as HR generalists or specialists. HR Generalists work in all facets of the duties involved in the HR department while HR specialists focus on a specific field or area of HR and use their talents and skills exclusively for their specific area of expertise. Those interested in pursuing careers in HR can choose from a wide variety of career paths that might include many different specializations in the human resources field. HR professionals can choose to work as recruiters, employment interviewers, benefits counselors, in risk management, workforce planning and employment, employment and placement specialists and HR managers among many other options.
In addition to those listed in the above chart, there are many other specializations that HR professionals might choose to pursue, not all HR specializations can be easily classified into one field as they include a varied multitude of duties and responsibilities. Some of the positions listed in the chart above involve the following specific duties and responsibilities:
Benefits Counselor- also known as a benefits specialist, charged with creating and executing a company’s benefits program that includes health benefits as well as benefits relating to retirement planning and insurance planning.
Workforce Planning and Employment- charged executing the company’s recruiting strategy including conducting interviews, background checks, pre-employment tests, hiring and firing.
Risk Management- specialists are charged with running a company’s health and safety platform and ensuring that the company is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations that govern employee health and safety in the workplace.
Employee and Labor Relations- charged with dealing with the communication aspect between employees and employers in terms of contract negotiations, collective bargaining issues, as well as handling employee grievances.
Many HR professionals choose to begin their careers as human resource assistants. HR assistants typically are tasked with reporting to a manager while executing all the necessary administrative support required in dealing with personnel. HR assistants are usually responsible for verifying employee documents and conducting background checks, assisting with recruitment, and hiring and firing. HR assistants are typically required to have great communication skills, problem solving skills, as well as the ability to adapt to all types of situations.
Some HR professionals choose pursue a career path towards becoming HR directors. HR Directors are tasked with the responsibility for enforcing and overseeing all aspects of the human resources administration. It is the duty of the HR Director to make sure that all company departments maintain excellent communication, to consult with different departments and committees to carry out responsibilities in an efficacious manner.
About the Author: Svetlana Pham is a New Jersey based freelance writer. She has a BA in English from Rutgers University and an J.D. from New York Law School.