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What Makes a Great HR Professional?

There was a time when the human resources department was simply referred to as “personnel” because its role was more or less limited to staffing a company with the employees it needed to operate effectively. But as organizational structures have become more complex, and the number of regulations and laws governing workplace practices has increased, the role of the HR professional has evolved over time.

According to Entrepreneur magazine, HR should now be defined as “the department or support systems responsible for personnel sourcing and hiring, applicant tracking, skills development and tracking, benefits administration, and compliance with associated government regulations.” The modern HR professional is required to wear many hats!

So what makes a great HR professional? What follows is a closer look at the many characteristics and skills that a successful HR staff member or manager must possess.

Mastering Employee Relations

While the HR professional must now be proficient at numerous administrative tasks, the primary focus is still working with people. HR professionals must be able to identify the needs of employees and effectively address them, while also keeping the best interests of the organization as a whole in mind. They must also have the soft skills necessary to resolve conflicts between employees, as well as between employees and management.

Strong Recruiting Abilities

Finding and attracting qualified employees is still one of the most important functions performed by the HR department. A great HR professional will utilize multiple channels in order to locate the best job candidates. They must also be able to assess whether specific candidates would be a good fit for a particular job.

Strong persuasive skills are also necessary to “seal the deal” with the right candidates. Additionally, the HR professional must continuously evaluate compensation and benefits packages to ensure they are in line with what other companies within the industry are offering.

Focus on Employee Development

While attracting and hiring the right employees is an important role of the HR professional, keeping talented employees in the fold can pose a significant challenge. By working to create in-house training programs and other resources that allow employees to develop their skills, the HR department can help the company demonstrate that it values its team and is striving to provide opportunities for advancement. This can go a long way toward improving employee retention and keeping costly turnover to a minimum.

Thorough Knowledge of Workplace Regulations

Organizations are required to adhere to an ever-increasing number of laws that dictate how they must operate. These regulations encompass many different areas that touch the HR job function, including hiring and firing practices, employee relations, safety in the workplace, and administration of fringe benefits — to name a few.

A great HR professional will make a concerted effort to keep abreast of changes in the laws and have a keen understanding of how they impact the organization. Additionally, the HR department is typically responsible for ensuring the organization takes the appropriate steps to remain in compliance with workplace laws.

Superior Time Management Skills

Because the role of modern HR professionals is so wide-ranging, strong time management skills are essential to success. They must be able to effectively prioritize a number of tasks and ensure they are completed within a specified time frame, whih is often set by company management. Consequently, a great HR professional must be extremely organized and able to execute short- and long-range plans with maximum efficiency.

A Solid Education Serves as the Foundation for Success as an HR Professional

As you can probably tell, it isn’t necessarily easy to be a great HR professional, but to those who work in this exciting field, HR can be an extremely rewarding career choice. The all-important first step to gaining entry into the HR profession is to get the right training.

The best way to prepare for a HR career is by obtaining a degree. An Associate of Applied Science in Business Management, Human Resources degree can be completed in less than two years. By the time you receive your degree, you will be ready to serve as an HR Generalist, or even fulfill more specialized job roles such as a Benefits Specialist or Labor Coordinator.

No matter what position you eventually take in the human resources industry, a solid education is the first step you need to get there. Your education will provide you with the skills you need to locate qualified staffing for employers, develop benefits packages, and create programs to motivate employees and improve workplace morale.

Take the Next Step Toward Your Career in HR

If you would like more information about becoming an HR professional, contact a Vista College Admissions Representative today to learn more about our Associate of Applied Science in Business Management, Human Resources degree program.

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