Skip to content

Explore a Rewarding Career in Human Resources

Published: March 15, 2024

Published: March 15, 2024

a female HR professional explaining something to a colleague

Do you love working with people and want to be in the center of the action? If so, a career in human resources might be for you. 

The field of human resources offers the unique opportunity to become an integral part of an organization, directly influencing its culture, growth, and success. It not only demands a varied skill set—ranging from interpersonal savvy to strategic planning—but also provides the satisfaction of supporting and developing an organization’s greatest asset: its people. 

Below, we will look at the things you need to know before choosing to work in human resources (HR).

a female HR professional seated with her boss in an office

What Does a Career in Human Resources Involve?

HR professionals have a broad range of responsibilities that are vital to the effective management and support of an organization’s workforce. Depending on the size of your company, you might be working on some or all of the following initiatives:

  • Recruitment and Staffing: Overseeing the entire recruitment process, which includes drafting job descriptions, posting job openings, screening applicants, conducting interviews, and coordinating hiring efforts with departmental managers.
  • Onboarding: Facilitating new employee orientation and onboarding programs to ensure a smooth integration of new hires into the company.
  • Training and Development: Identifying training needs, designing training programs, and implementing professional development initiatives to enhance employee skills and knowledge.
  • Performance Management: Developing and administering performance review systems, providing feedback, and working with managers and staff to set performance goals and measures.
  • Employee Relations: Acting as a liaison between staff and management, addressing employee grievances, and working to resolve workplace conflicts.
  • Compensation and Benefits: Managing payroll and benefits programs, and ensuring competitive compensation structures that comply with legal requirements.
  • Legal Compliance: Ensuring the organization’s adherence to labor laws and employment standards.
  • Policy Development: Crafting and revising company policies and procedures and making sure they are communicated and upheld throughout the organization.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Promoting diversity and inclusion within the workplace and developing policies that support a diverse workforce.
  • Health and Safety: Overseeing workplace health and safety initiatives, conducting risk assessments, and ensuring compliance with OSHA standards and other safety regulations.
  • Strategic Planning: Contributing to the overall strategy of the organization from the perspective of human capital and resource planning.
  • HR Information Systems: Managing employee data and HR analytics for informed decision-making, often through sophisticated human resources information systems.

What Skills Do You Need for a Career in Human Resources?

To work in human resources, you need a combination of interpersonal, organizational, strategic, and technical skills. These skills enable HR professionals to manage the breadth of responsibilities required to support an organization’s workforce effectively.

Interpersonal skills are paramount in HR because they underpin the ability to interact effectively with employees at all levels. While on the job, you will find yourself navigating the complexities of workplace dynamics and cultivating a positive company culture. Strong communication skills will enable you to share company policies, conduct interviews, and deliver presentations. Additionally, empathy and emotional intelligence play key roles in resolving employee issues, managing conflicts, and promoting a supportive work environment. Building and maintaining robust professional relationships is at the core of these HR functions, ensuring a harmonious and productive workplace.

Organizational skills are equally important, as HR professionals often handle multiple tasks simultaneously. Being detail-oriented helps ensure accuracy and compliance in documentation and reporting, while time management and the ability to prioritize tasks are essential to meet deadlines and manage the employee lifecycle efficiently.

Strategic thinking is necessary to align HR initiatives with business goals. As an HR professional, you should understand the broader business context, develop workforce planning strategies, and contribute to policy formulation. You must also have the foresight to anticipate and plan for future talent needs and to measure the impact of HR practices on the organization’s success.

Lastly, technical skills are becoming increasingly important. Proficiency with HR information systems (HRIS), data analysis, and a solid understanding of employment law are now staples in the HR toolkit. Familiarity with digital tools for recruitment, such as applicant tracking systems, and platforms for employee engagement and performance management is also valuable. These technical competencies allow HR professionals to make data-driven decisions and maintain regulatory compliance.

What Degree Should You Get to Work in Human Resources?

A career in human resources is accessible through several academic paths, including human resources management, psychology, and even sociology. Each of these degree programs offers a unique lens through which to view the complexities of managing an organization’s human capital. 

Additionally, a business administration program is an excellent starting point for anyone wanting to work in HR. It provides a robust foundation in the operational facets of business and critical HR functions like talent acquisition, employee relations, and compliance. UoPeople’s Bachelor’s degree in business administration can set you on a path toward a human resources career in less than two and a half years. The flexible online, asynchronous format is perfect for work adults who want to balance their work and personal responsibilities with a business degree program.

If you aspire to a senior HR role, a Master’s of business administration (MBA) is a good choice. This degree enhances your business acumen and leadership skills, preparing you for strategic positions where you can influence organizational policies and drive HR initiatives that align with overarching business strategies. An MBA also includes advanced coursework in areas such as negotiation, strategic planning, and international business, all of which are increasingly relevant in today’s globalized market. Both of UoPeople’s business degree programs are widely recognized for fostering the critical thinking, problem-solving, and managerial skills essential for success in the dynamic field of HR.

What are the Benefits of Working in Human Resources?

Embarking on a career in human resources presents a multitude of benefits that extend beyond the conventional boundaries of a job. Professionals in this field are granted a unique vantage point that encompasses both the operational and strategic aspects of an organization.

One of the foremost advantages is the opportunity to engage in meaningful work that directly impacts the welfare and development of an organization’s workforce. HR professionals are instrumental in fostering a positive and productive work environment, facilitating not only the growth of the company but also the professional advancement of its employees.

Moreover, HR roles offer considerable versatility, ranging from specialist functions in recruitment, training, and development, to broader roles in strategy and planning. This variety allows for a dynamic career path with the potential for continuous learning and professional growth.

Working in HR also provides a platform to hone one’s interpersonal and leadership skills. As the nexus between management and employees, HR professionals develop a keen understanding of how to navigate complex organizational dynamics, positioning themselves as pivotal figures in driving change and influencing the company culture.

Additionally, HR practitioners benefit from the satisfaction of being problem solvers and innovators. Whether through conflict resolution, designing employee retention programs, or shaping inclusive workplace policies, they are at the forefront of creating solutions that have a lasting positive impact.

Furthermore, the increasing importance of talent management in the global business landscape has elevated the strategic importance of HR, giving HR professionals a seat at the executive table. This reflects a recognition of the critical role that human capital plays in achieving business objectives, and it empowers HR professionals to contribute directly to the strategic direction of the organization.

a female human resources professional

The Future of Human Resource

A career in human resources holds a promising future. As organizations increasingly recognize the critical role that a skilled, engaged, and well-supported workforce plays in achieving business success, the demand for proficient HR professionals continues to grow. 

The future of HR is being shaped by several key trends, such as the use of data analytics to inform workforce decisions, the emphasis on employee experience to attract and retain top talent, and the integration of artificial intelligence in routine HR tasks. Moreover, the ongoing need for companies to adapt to changing labor laws, globalization, and the dynamics of a diverse workforce ensures that HR roles will remain both relevant and essential. HR professionals who have expertise in these areas position themselves as integral employees who can make a significant impact on an organization’s culture and performance.

As we have seen, HR professionals play a critical role in shaping workplace environments, ensuring employee well-being, and fostering a culture of inclusivity and productivity. This career path promises growth, challenges, and the rewarding ability to make a tangible difference in both the lives of individuals and the trajectory of businesses. 

With the evolving landscape of work and the increasing importance placed on strategic human resource management, a career in HR is not just relevant but is also viewed as a cornerstone of organizational resilience and adaptability.