Rising through the ranks of the human resources field to the role of HR director is a solid career goal – and with the right combination of education and experience, it’s an achievable one. Knowledgeable in all aspects of human resources, the HR director is a valued management position in firms of all sizes. These professionals typically report to C-suite executives, who recognize the need for qualified HR directors to keep their firms competitive and profitable.
If you already have an HR career but you are seeking challenges, opportunity and growth in your career, then pursuing an HR masters online is a great way to gain the high-level skills and advanced knowledge you need to transition into the role of HR director.
HR management job growth should be strong, according to data reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In fact, according to the 2010-2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook, overall HR jobs are predicted to grow much faster than average in the next several years, due to changes in legislation, an increasingly complex business environment, and the desire of business to reduce employee turnover and costly litigation by retaining the expertise of qualified HR directors. HR professionals with advanced degrees, experience and professional certifications should enjoy the best job opportunities.
HR directors are responsible for the smooth and profitable operation of a company’s human resources department. Typically, they supervise and provide consultation to management on strategic staffing plans, compensation, benefits, training and development, budget, and labor relations. An HR director is also expected to take a leadership role in developing a culture that enables employees to perform in accordance to a firm’s objectives.
Talented HR directors effectively plan, design, develop and evaluate human resource-related initiatives that support organizational strategic goals. In addition, HR directors often lead performance management, talent assessment and effective labor relationships, including negotiating and administering labor agreements.
Daily tasks vary, but a typical HR director will supervise staff and report to the chief executive officer on issues regarding implementation of policies and procedures, safety of the workforce, recruiting and hiring high-performing employees, and labor, legislative and other human resources issues.
HR directors often direct the development and implementation of organizational development programs; employee orientation and training programs; benefits plans, policies and guidelines; database management procedures; equal opportunity employment programs; and employee records and documentation policies. Evaluating effectiveness through compiling and analyzing data is a vital function of the HR director, and they typically prepare and distribute various reports on HR metrics to ensure needs are met.
Reducing risk is another important aspect of the HR director’s role. Ensuring compliance with federal, state and local laws and industry regulations is vital to the continued success and profitability of any firm, as is advising department managers on legal implications of HR issues related to discipline and employee grievances. Planning and overseeing the HR department budget is an additional duty of the HR director.
Most HR director positions require a minimum bachelor’s degree and several years of work experience. Many employers prefer to hire candidates with professional certification or a master’s in HR. Competition for these positions can be strong; distinguishing yourself through education and certification can really pay off when pursuing a sought-after HR director job.
HR professionals can gain in-demand skills and specialized knowledge by enrolling in a Master of Science in Human Resource Development degree program. Coursework typically includes human resource technology solutions, workforce planning, benefits and organizational training.
Employers can be confident that professionals who have earned a Master’s Degree in HR are able to:
If becoming an in-demand HR director is your career plan, you’ll need a broad base of business knowledge and strong organizational, presentation and interpersonal skills. Additional must-have attributes for HR directors are sound judgment, discretion, flexibility and integrity. A strong sense of self and the ability to make decisions in a variety of situations will also serve you well in this challenging profession.
With a combination of these skills and attributes, along with the prestige of a Master of Science in Human Resources Development degree, you’ll be well-positioned to pursue and land an HR director position with a top employer.