Human Resources Professionals: Main Responsibilities and Duties

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Human Resources Professionals have a constant need for further growth and development. This profession is ever changing in several aspects, and due to such change, requires the professional to always maintain a plan of development and continued growth. The Human Resources field changes as new methods to dealing with employees, and employee issues continues to change as new generations develop and enter the workforce. This field also requires continued further education and development as laws and guidelines for the handling human resources matters change (Daley, 2006).

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As a newly graduated Human Resource Professional I find that it will be necessary to ensure that I continue my development in this area. While there are many ways to do so, and endless opportunities for the purpose of the next few pages I plan on reviewing the importance of professional networking, and continuing to seek professional certifications that will allow me to further develop my human resource management skills. Also included as a vital part of this is the membership of a professional organization that would help in providing me resources to do so. The one that I plan on reviewing in the next few pages is the Society for Human Resource Management or (SHRM) as it is often referred to as.

The Society for Human Resource Management is the largest professional organization for Human Resource professionals and its membership expands in over 165 countries, and had over 285,000 members at the current time. The mission and vision of the Society for Human Resource Management is as follows:

“Our vision is to be a preeminent and globally recognized authority whose leadership, perspective, resources and expertise are sought and utilized to address the most pressing, current and emerging human resource management issues. Our mission is to be a globally recognized HR professional society that exists to develop and serve the HR professional, and advance and lead the HR profession”(SHRM, 2016)

The Society for Human Resource Management through its vision and mission offers the human resource professional educational opportunities, leadership options and training, and tools to help them develop their human resource management in the communities in which they live, and allow them to become advocates in this area that is important to them. The Society for Human Resource Management also provides professionals in this field with their membership access to thousands of articles and tools covering a wide range of topics that they may encounter to help them with solving problems in their current work place, developing themselves professionally, and also allowing them to continue their development through certifications, classes, and materials relevant in today’s society.

The Society of Human Resource Professionals also is related to one of the other areas of this profession that I believe is critical to success and that is the need to develop contacts and continually work on “professional networking”. This organization allows us to open up countless opportunities to network with similar professionals in our field locally, nationally, and internationally if we choose to do so. Professional networking is crucial for sharing and learning information and procedures for those that share the same field as we do and are able to help assist us in continuing our development (HR Management, 2016).

Professional networking has proven to be a great spring board as well as for opening doors into career opportunities that we may not otherwise come across. Often times those seeking new human resource professionals search at networking events, for that individual who has the “personality” that may be a perfect fit for their organization but also by the fact that they have taken the initiative to network, join professional groups, and show a “go get it” attitude. We live in a society where there are many individuals seeking the same position. Competition is fierce and in order to land that dream job with that dream company you must show that you have initiative and the ability to make your own place in the world.

Another benefit of social networking while involved in a professional organization such as the Society for Human Resource Management is you then have the ability to showcase your skills, and build your resume. By actively participating in the organization, taking on projects, leadership roles, etc. you begin to build a reputation as a person who can get it done, and is not afraid of a little hard work. As a young professional with a new degree this is critical in helping to achieve your goals.

Another equally important aspect in the realm of the Human Resource Professional is to work towards and further your development by earning certifications that are recognized in this field. While there are many, and some positions may require you to have special ones, I have chosen to discuss a few of the most common ones in this profession and what they mean and how they can benefit you as a human resource professional.

One of the most common certifications is that of the PHR (Professional in Human Resources). This certification will prove that you have mastered all of the technical and operational areas of human resources as it relates to the laws here in the United States. Most times this is a required certification if you will be in charge of other human resource professionals and have responsibilities for implementing human resources programs within your organization or place of employment. This is a crucial certification for the human resource professional that has the focus of the Human Resource Department and not over an entire group. Cost of this certification is $375.00 with an additional $75.00 application fee. Testing is administered online and consists of three hours to complete 150 multiple choice questions.

Another popular human resource certification is the SPHR or Senior Professional in Human Resources. This is a certification that shows that you have mastered the “strategic” aspects of human resource management here in the United States. This is more for the human resource professional who is in charge of planning and not focused on the implementation piece. It is more for the professional who is in charge of the “big picture” and not just the small pieces. It is for the human resource professional who has accountability for the human resources department as a whole. This certification has a cost of $475.00 with an additional $75.00 application fee. Is administered online and consists of 150 multiple choice questions which need to be completed in a three hour time frame.

Another common certification is the GPHR or Global Professional in Human Resources. This is a global based competency test for the human resource professional that will be working with an organization that has responsibility to function in the global marketplace. This is useful for the professional that works with global growth, employee retention, and strategies in a business that wants to see worldwide business goals be realized. Again this certification has a cost of $475 with an additional $75.00 application fee. It is again administered online and consists of 150 multiple choice questions to be completed in a three hour time frame.

When considering the importance of obtaining certifications in your human resource professional career there are many reasons to take the plunge, study, and retain them. Sure its hard work, but this is one area that the benefits outweigh the sacrifices that are made to achieve them. The national average shows that a human resource professional earns nearly double what their counterpart does that has not received any certifications. This can be a big step in furthering your financially stability in the career you have chosen. The time and financial investment that you make in this will go a long way and pay for itself many times over. Another benefit along these lines is that is has been shown that those human resource professionals that have obtained certifications are promoted within five years which is nearly twice as much as those that have not taken those steps (GBHR, 2016).

One last certification I would like to mention, while it is far from the last that is available is that of the CHRP or Certified Human Resource Professional. This certification is nationally recognized level of achievement in the field of human resources. It has also proven to be very beneficial in helping professionals obtaining this certification to be promoted with their current organizations for develop further with larger scale positions when applying for new positions.

The above graph is taken from a survey by Payscale in 2012 found that 45 per cent of HR generalists with CHRPs become HR managers in five years compared to only 21 per cent of HR generalists without the CHRP (H1, 2016).

Besides the reasons that I have discussed above based around specific certifications there are many reasons why as a human resource professional part of your development plan should be to join professional organizations such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and also pursue certifications in this field. Those human resource professionals that do this have shown that they have proven expertise in their field. You show that you have the ability to focus on goals, and that you have the knowledge to function at a high level as it relates to your particular tasks in human resource management. You also show that you have a desire to continually learn. This goes a long way in showing an employer that you want to continue to develop and grow in your career and that you want to ensure that you always have the most up to date knowledge and how it relates to your field.

With certifications you demonstrate your commitment to this field. Often time’s organization see students that have obtained a degree but still are unsure of what they want to do and what function they want in an organization. With certifications you are showing your commitment to the field of human resource management and based on your certification selection what areas of this field are most important and interesting to you. With your certification you develop a community of knowledgeable professionals that you are associated with and can assist you in furthering your knowledge and developing a professional base of peers to help when you need to further discuss an issue, ask a question, or network with. Obtaining certifications also links you to the ethical code of human resources. This links with your commitment to the career and how important the ethical handling of human resource issues is to your success.

The Human Resource Management Professional is a rewarding fulfilling career whose possibilities can be endless with the proper planning and development plan. While joining professional organizations, networking with other professionals, and continuing your education are keys to this success, they are not the only ones. Ensuring that you are always on top of what is new in this profession, changes in law, it is important to utilize the benefits and knowledge that can be gained either from the organization itself or its members. It’s imperative to keep in mind that sometimes the best knowledge is from another person in the business. We all have different outlooks and ways of handling things and often times we learn from someone else’s experiences.

Human Resource professional careers are based on the skills that we have, and the ability to adapt and adjust to ever changing environments. Our profession is surrounded with challenge as we balance what’s best for the organization with the need of our employees. We must realize that not every individual is the same, personalities clash at times, ideas don’t mix, and so forth but that doesn’t mean that both individual and the idea is wrong. It’s simply a part of human nature and the gift we have been given that everyone is different. Human Resource Professionals have the job of ensuring that we communicate well, are ethical in our practices, do what is best for both the company, and the employee, and find a way to work through the grey area that so often exists in business. The career is rewarding and challenging. Is full of balance and allows us to put together a wide combination of skills.

As we develop our plan, and ourselves we should keep in mind that most believe there are six key components to the human resource professional that makes them successful. Organization, Ethics, Problem Solving, Leadership, Commitment, and Expertise. If we find ways to grow in each of these areas we will be well on our way to a successful and rewarding career with a path of growth that will never end.

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