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"Degrees & Programs"

What is human resource management?

By Brian Fairbanks
June 01, 2021 • 4 minute read

Human resource management impacts a company in many ways, not least of which is its role in developing company culture. A human resource manager is a point of reference for employees. He or she is a professional to whom workers can come with problems with co-workers, supervisors or the company itself.

In addition to helping to mediate internal staffing disputes (such as one co-worker’s complaints about another’s behavior at the office), human resource management professionals are go-betweens for the company. They interview potential employees, help with recruitment and may draft company policies for safety and benefits. They also often facilitate training programs for company employees.

Thinking of pursuing a role as a human resource manager? Keep reading to learn what HR managers do, what skills you’ll need to be successful and how to become one.

What does an HR manager do?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), human resource managers are responsible for the administrative functions of an organization. These responsibilities includes recruiting, interviewing, and hiring new employees. They may also help with strategic planning duties and serve as the primary connection between organization leadership and employees.

These professionals work in, and sometimes oversee, the human resources department. They manage compensation and benefits, oversee policy governance, handle disputes and internal issues, and lead training and development programs. In a nutshell, human resource managers help companies find ― and keep ― the right people.

HR managers focus on the well-being of their fellow employees and help to promote the positive aspects of the company. “These elements can be inspirational and help employees feel as if they are part of something that is bigger than themselves,” notes TheBalanceCareers.com.

On a particularly busy day, a human resources manager might meet with the head of HR or company executives to discuss hiring, layoffs, or organizational restructuring. They might conduct interviews with potential new hires and give them information about the company while making sure their goals are aligned with those of the company. They might also meet with an employee to discuss issues within their department, such as another employee’s problematic behavior. With serious concerns, the HR manager may take the problem to his or her manager to receive further guidance.

What skills do I need in a human resource manager role?

As a human resource manager, you will need to be able to attract, retain and develop top talent. You will also be responsible for identifying HR issues and potential risk factors that can affect the organization and developing strategies to resolve or mitigate them. You should be able to make ethical decisions to solve business issues and help advance organizational goals.

An effective human resources manager will be able to coach, train, advise, and give employees the tools they’ll need to fit in with their colleagues and be productive. The best HR managers also have the knowledge of some legal principles, a knack for talent development, and highly effective communication and management skills.

You can expect to learn many of these skills through an degree program. A few of the critical skills for this role include an understanding of employment law; risk management; and legal, ethical, and regulatory considerations. Other skills learned may include finance and accounting best practices, developing compensation packages, statistical analysis, and business communication.

Communication is, in fact, one of the most important skills for an HR manager. Human resources management professionals should be expert communicators. This helps make sure employees understand company directives — including handbooks and trainings that they are expected to complete. Otherwise, employees may make mistakes that harm the company or their standing within it.

What is a typical salary for a human resource manager?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2020 median salary for a human resource manager was $121,220. (Salaries are not specific to University of Phoenix graduates. They depend on a wide range of factors including experience, location, the size of the company, and the specific job description/requirements.)

To begin your career path toward a role in HR management, BLS notes that a bachelor’s degree is usually required, as is experience in a human resources department or related field. Some companies may also require a human resources manager to have a master’s degree.

How to become an HR manager

In addition to completing a bachelor’s degree program, aspiring human resources managers may consider earning a specialized Human Resource Management Certificate. A typical undergraduate certificate program will last about seven months with an average of five weeks per course. Those who have already obtained a bachelor’s degree and would like to enhance their HR skills may want to consider a Graduate Human Resource Management Certificate.

If you’re looking for online programs, University of Phoenix offers certificates that can be combined with a Bachelor of Science in Business (BSB) or a Master of Business Administration (MBA). These programs offer flexibility to meet the needs of busy adults, including online classes and 24/7 access to course materials. This allows students to continue to work full-time and/or handle other obligations. Each course in our Graduate Human Resource Management Certificate, for instance, lasts six weeks.

The University also offers course options — such as a Research in Human Resource Management — which focuses on quantitative analysis and secondary research. HR employees might use this insight to recruit and pick employees to meet company goals. (These are typically much shorter courses , with many lasting six weeks in total, For graduate-level options, look for courses under the titles Organizational Training & Development or International Human Resource Management.)

Interested in a degree in HR management? Check out our programs!