How to Become a Human Resources Generalist

Human resources is a major aspect of all companies and organizations. Human resources generalists are trained professionals that handle a variety of the daily aspects of human resources activities.

What does a human resources generalist do?

Human resources generalists manage the every day operations of the human resources department. They oversee the implementation and administration of the procedures, policies, and programs through staff members. They are involved in department development, training and development, human resources information systems, employee relations, compensation, benefits, employment, and organizational development. They develop and direct practices and objectives that will enable to company to achieve high performance while being committed to its employees. They strive to create a superior work environment that focuses on quality, goal attainment, productivity, constant improvement, and empowerment. Human resources generalists also assist and advise managers about human resources issues.

What kind of training does a human resources generalist need?

Human resources generalists usually need at least a bachelor degree in human resources, organization development, business, or other related field. Many employers prefer applicants with a master degree in human resources. Human resources generalists typically complete courses in employment law, organizational planning, compensation, employee relations, organizational development, labor relations, and training and development. Many complete internships to gain practical experience in the field. Most employers provide on the job training for new human resources generalists to learn the policies, procedures, and programs of the company. Many human resources generalists gain the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification to remain competitive in the field. They must stay up to date on the current advancements in the field and often complete continuing education and attend meetings and seminars on a regular basis.

What are the prospects for a career as a human resources generalist?

Employment of human resources generalists is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 17% from 2006 to 2016 (1).

Job prospects are expected to be very good especially for human resources generalists with advanced training and professional certifications. Numerous job openings will arise from the need to replace human resources generalists that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do human resources generalists make?

As of November 2009, the middle 50% of human resources generalists earn annual salaries between $41,659 and $54,137. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $60,021 (2).

A career as a human resources generalist is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in managing the daily operations of human resources departments. Human resources generalists must have a solid knowledge of human resources polices and procedures and the current employment laws and practices. Organizational skills, problem solving skills, patience, and determination are essential characteristics. Human resources generalists must also have a high level of confidentiality because they deal with a variety of sensitive information. They must have excellent oral and written communication and the ability to lead others.

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