Simon Sinek—marketing consultant, speaker, and author—wrote, “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” When people support the companies they work for, there’s a reciprocal need for the company to support the employees in return, whether its with better benefits or training, a raise, and more. A company’s human resources (HR) department oversees all of these processes. Ultimately, HR is about supporting the people who make businesses run, so taking on the role of HR manager allows professionals to make a tangible impact on the everyday lives of their colleagues.
HR managers lead teams in all types of industries: health, IT, international development, manufacturing and business, education, community development and nonprofits, and hospitality and tourism, to name a few. By gaining HR manager skills, as well as additional experience and education, HR staff can open the door to career advancement.
HR staff are essential to a number of tasks in a company, such as conducting orientations, explaining benefits, and communicating personnel policies, but it’s the responsibility of HR managers to incorporate these tasks into their strategic, high-level vision for leading employees and building workplace culture. For instance, if HR managers seek to improve employee morale, they may explore new benefits that make their colleagues feel appreciated.
Increasingly, HR managers need to be responsive to changes in business trends. As laws, regulations, policies, expectations, social norms, and technology evolve, HR managers help lead the way toward inspiring positive change in their companies. To be successful along the way, HR managers need to be skilled in leadership, research, and analytics.
Someone in a leadership position isn’t necessarily an effective leader. Executives and managers may have risen to their positions for their extensive subject-area expertise yet lack experience in managing a team; however, training can help.
HR managers can foster a culture of healthy leadership in every department of their organizations. According to Saba, a talent management solutions provider, HR managers can accomplish this goal through four steps: understanding the nature of positive leadership, providing leadership coaching and mentoring to managers and executives, putting policies and systems in place that support strong leadership, and creating a culture of leadership with buy-in from the top.
In our digital world, companies leverage data to make smarter decisions. In turn, HR staff who wish to advance to management roles need to develop skills in two key areas: applied research and data analysis.
Informational website What Is Human Resource reports that research can take many forms. The most time-consuming but revealing form of research is the in-person interview. HR professionals can conduct interviews both with employees exiting the company and periodically with staff and managers—and even customers. This research method allows the HR team to get a better picture of company culture and morale, as well as what is and isn’t working within the company. Employee and customer questionnaires are another source of information for HR teams. If questionnaires are anonymous, they will likely receive more honest responses.
HR managers may oversee the applied research process and determine what type of research methods are best for their organizations and what questions they are attempting to address. They may even select an impartial third party to conduct the research if, for instance, the performance of the HR department itself needs evaluation.
Each applied research method generates data that HR professionals must collect, organize, and analyze. When HR managers develop their data analysis skills, they can discover trends and areas for improvement.
The usefulness of analytics to HR professionals doesn’t stop there. According to the Academy to Innovate HR, human resources staff can leverage data to discover employee turnover rates and the reasons for turnover, the quality of new candidates, which employee benefits have the highest return on investment, the effect of employee morale on the company’s financial performance, how to motivate employees, and more.
For example, HR managers may want to learn which employees are most likely to succeed and advance in their roles so they can inform other managers which colleagues they should nurture with the most intention. They can assess different metrics of job performance and conduct staff interviews to determine each employee’s desired career trajectory in order to make informed recommendations.
HR managers can analyze data for valuable information and trends and then communicate their findings to executives and stakeholders so they may make create positive change within the company environment and operations.
Because of their important role in companies across all industries, HR managers command high salaries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2018 median pay for HR managers was $113,300. Compensation depends on a number of factors, such as industry, workplace environment, employer, geographic location, education level, and years of experience. The industries that compensate HR managers with the most competitive salaries include professional, scientific, and technical services (2018 median salary of $127,690) and companies and enterprises (2018 median salary of $126,420).
The BLS anticipates that job opportunities for HR managers will grow 9% from 2016 to 2026, exceeding the average national growth rate of 7% for all jobs across all fields. Because the availability of HR job openings fluctuates depending on the strength of the economy, the projected continued growth is a result of the success of companies individually. The BLS notes that the best way for candidates to land HR manager positions is to boost their credentials with a master’s degree or certification in human resources management.
You care about people, and you’re invested in your colleagues. That’s why you chose to pursue a career in human resources. If you’re interested in advancing professionally, consider developing HR manager-level skills that can prepare you for your next, bold steps. The MS in Leadership and Human Resource Development from LSU Online equips you with the tools to become a fierce advocate for the future of human resources and provide valued support for employees and companies alike.
Academy to Innovate HR, “What Is HR Analytics?”
LSU General Catalog, Human Resource Education, M.S.
LSU Online, MS in Leadership and Human Resource Development
Saba Blog, “Creating Effective Leadership Requires HR To Fulfill 4 Key Roles”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Human Resources Managers
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