Ideally, those who work well with others are better suited for these positions rather than those who work better alone or who prefer to have little contact with co-workers, especially from other company departments. Other responsibilities within these groups include participation in federal law courses to ensure the company is in compliance with workers' rights and other concerns, tradeshow participation, job fair participation, as well as ensuring timely updates are made to the company's standard operating procedures and employee manuals.
The skills for those seeking human resources positions might include the ability to effectively interview job candidates, verify previous employment and educational claims, and provide testing when required. HR employees must remain current with equal employment opportunity guidelines as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act. They may be required to maintain Minority, Women, Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise (MWDVBE) statistics for monthly reporting to the government. These are just a few of the many responsibilities that can be found in a human resources department.
Job analysts provide profiles of the best suited skills for any particular positions and work to ensure cross-training is made available when applicable. They also provide data regarding pay scales for any number of positions and can sometimes meet with labor unions to discuss those pay scales.
A new avenue that many companies have either incorporated or are considering in their efforts to attract and maintain the best employees is that of child care. With compromises that include modified work weeks, on-site child care facilities, and/or allowances to offset daycare expenses, many companies have, in one fell swoop, managed to keep their best talent simply by providing a solution to an age old problem Americans have faced for decades. These efforts are most often generated from within a company's human resources department.
Still another area that has generally become accepted as part of a human resource's area is that of employee tuition reimbursement programs. Human resources departments work with employees who wish to seek the education that will allow for promotions in the future. Companies have earmarked within their budgets the funds for those with the most promise to continue their educations at reduced costs. Many companies are even allowing these employees a bit of room in the form of time off to attend day classes.
But what are the "in demand" qualifications? As one might guess, a fluency in other languages puts one in an extremely advantageous position. Spanish, French, and Chinese are often at the top of companies' wish lists when looking for bi-lingual HR personnel. Willingness to travel and/or relocate is often taken into consideration as well as a solid work history within human resources all combine to make an excellent HR candidate. Those who can compile a solid procedures manual and employee manuals, are familiar with state and federal laws regarding employment, and those who can address groups (i.e., potential candidates at a job fair) are all bonuses. Those in management might be required to provide disciplinary notices, counsel employees, provide advertisements and coordinate testing (including drug testing), and remain in compliance with laws regarding confidentiality and personnel records. Further, a solid working relationship with department heads is a must and accurate recordkeeping of resignations, discharges, new hires, layoffs, and other company statistics.
Educational requirements vary from company to company and are determined by the responsibilities each respective company chooses with any given available position. Needless to say, a solid business background with at least an associate's degree and even those with a psychological background fit nicely in a potential employer's expectations. Administrative skills are a must, and computer literacy, organizational skills, and a commitment to ensuring the job is done right are vital. Those who take it upon themselves to learn every aspect of their company stand to provide benefits that aren't forgotten during promotions. Just as with every other job, loyalty counts.
There are several human resources-specific courses offered by a few nationally accredited institutions. Some of these include Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBP), The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), and other industry-specific courses offered via OSHA and other federal agencies.
Currently, there are around 870,000 positions across the country within human resources departments, including over 200,000 dedicated to training new employees and over 100,000 that specialize in health insurance and other employee benefits. Indications reveal a steady growth across the country. These expected new positions are partly due to the many large companies that appear to be in trouble. For companies to remain viable, trends are leaning towards a more transparent business environment. As such, qualified employees will be required to ensure enough information is available to satisfy both the public and oversight agencies; but without revealing confidential company information.
If all of this sounds like big shoes to fill, it is. But for those who can successfully fulfill their responsibilities within a company's HR area, the rewards are many and the demand for those who can pull it off is high.