The human resources manager traditionally represents your first contact with a company and the last person you meet with upon leaving its employ. Between those first and final days, the human resources manager covers a lot of behind-the-scenes activity related to your employment: records maintenance, benefits administration, performance reviews, training, policy enforcement, skill assessment, career planning, payroll and keeping you informed. According to the Worldwide Learn website, human resources professionals need "a range of personal qualities and skills" to perform the tasks under their charge.
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Honesty, ethics, discretion and fair-mindedness rank high among the personal attributes needed to succeed in human resources. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recommends aspiring HR professionals have a persuasive, friendly personality and an ability to deal with conflict. Other personality traits of effective HR managers, according to the career website Wet Feet, include: "grace under fire" and an aptitude for dealing with change and "ambiguity."
With the evolution of HR as a strategic business partner within today's corporations, human resources managers need team-building skills complemented with an ability to "see the big picture" as well as relate to all levels of management and employees, according to the website Careers in Business. Strong leadership, budgeting, writing, presentation and project management skills benefit all HR professionals, as do an ability to identify talent and familiarity with business principles. Few human resources managers spend their days focusing on one task; time management and efficiency, notes HR Daily Advisor, are must-have skills.
HR professionals must be computer-literate, according to the BLS. Familiarity with a variety of software programs used for scheduling, payroll, benefits administration, recruitment and reporting have become standard qualifications for HR professionals. "Personnel Today" magazine includes financial acumen as a technical requirement for human resources, noting how HR managers must understand the "commercial" side of the company to address its workforce needs.
Keeping current with labour laws and compliance regulations poses a constant challenge for members of a human resources management team, according to "Personnel Today." Some HR professionals view terminations and maintaining objectivity and confidentiality, particularly during staff-reduction discussions, as among the most challenging aspects of their work. Others find the paperwork inherent in employment record keeping to be trying.
The BLS refers to human resources as "interdisciplinary" work, for which a bachelor's degree serves as an entry-level requirement. Recommended coursework, according to the BLS, includes business administration, organizational development, labour relations and behavioural and social sciences. Certification in speciality areas such as benefits administration and training enhance career growth opportunities, as does general HR competency certification from the Society for Human Resource Management.
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- Worldwide Learn: Guide to College Majors in Human Resources
- Careers in Business: Human Resources; Skills and Talents
- Job Profiles: Business and Communication; Human Resources Manager
- U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Human Resources, Training, and Labor Relations Managers and Specialists
- Careers in Business: Human Resources
- HR Daily Advisor: "The Nine Essential Skills of HR Management"