In business, attracting and retaining quality employees can be a competitive advantage. HR generalists’ skills and knowledge are increasingly called upon to help companies manage and develop human resources, and achieve strategic goals. If you are a human resources professional with an eye on the future, then planning an HR generalist career may be a beneficial career move.
HR generalist job typically requires a broad base of knowledge. Advanced HR training can make professionals more marketable to a wide variety of category-leading firms. Industries ranging from healthcare to financial services may value HR generalists for their expertise in payroll, employment law, benefits administration and more. Earning a master’s degree in HR can also help distinguish professionals when competing for today’s demanding HR generalist jobs.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that HR management jobs are expected to grow 5% through 2024, as fast as the national average for all other occupations. As new employment legislation is enacted and court rulings lead to changes in healthcare, retirement plans, family leave, occupational safety and wellness plans, businesses may experience a greater need for qualified HR generalists. Professionals with higher education and credentials may have a better chance to land a quality job than those without advanced education and certification.
While specific duties can vary according to industry and employer, HR generalists typically act as a resource on human resources matters, providing guidance, assistance and support to management, supervisors and administrators. Daily job duties can range from consulting with managers and supervisors concerning individual employees or groups, identifying and resolving employee-related matters or providing guidance and mediation on staffing and management issues.
Additional responsibilities of an HR generalist may be developing and implementing procedures, including communication plans, performance reviews, new hire orientation, training programs, compensation and benefits planning and talent assessments. Generalists may also conduct employment interviews and termination exit interviews and subsequently compile and distribute acquired information.
In smaller firms, HR generalists may be required to handle all aspects of human resources management. In larger companies, they may supervise subordinates in charge of specific HR duties, such as payroll or benefits. Consulting with and managing internal and external partners, such as legal counsel, benefits plan vendors and recruiters also typically falls under the HR generalist’s scope of duties.
The duties of an HR generalist typically center on achieving business objectives set by employers and other stakeholders, primarily to find opportunities to solve business problems through broad and up-to-date knowledge of employment law, organizational behavior, change management, best practices and company policy.
Training and education requirements can vary depending on the employer, level of responsibility and specific range of duties. Most employers usually require at least a bachelor’s degree and related work experience. Others may show preference to candidates with professional knowledge in labor law, industrial relations and HR management, along with advanced skills gained through professional training and education, such as an HR certificate program or a master’s degree in HR program.
HR professionals who wish to pursue an HR generalist career may help improve their prospects by enrolling in a Master of Science in Human Resource Development degree program. Coursework typically includes organizational training, employment law, human resource technology solutions and workforce planning.
Employers can be confident that professionals who have earned a Master’s Degree in HR are able to:
In today’s increasingly complex business environment, employers often need skilled HR professionals to manage employee issues, recruit and retain quality talent, avoid litigation and manage risk. The HR field may be ideal for individuals with strong communication, leadership and interpersonal skills, and who are diplomatic and flexible. Sensitivity to a diverse workforce, with its wide variety of ages, cultural backgrounds and experiences, is usually another valuable asset for aspiring HR generalists. In addition, negotiation and persuasion abilities, as well as strength of character and discretion, are good characteristics for this position.
A broad base of business and human resources skills, along with a Master of Science in Human Resources Development degree, can help give professionals the qualifications and respected credentials to launch their career as an in-demand HR generalist.