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Human Resources: Preparing for the Next Generation


By Thomas Stone, Business 2 Community
Special to Online Career Tips

Preparing for the next generation

Human resources is a wonderful people-focused field that can cross business boundaries. Every organization, large or small, has someone on board who focuses on hiring, on-boarding and managing employee services. But those thinking about the path to a job in HR may be unsure of how to break into a career. Likewise, current HR industry employees may be wondering how to make the field more attractive to newcomers or how to best mentor young HR employees in their careers. Whether you are a novice or seasoned HR employee, how will you prepare for the future?

Getting started in HR

For some, reception skills led to a position in human resources. Candidates in both reception and HR need warm personalities, the ability to multitask and the ability to interface well with folks at all levels of the organization. HR employees may specialize in benefits, payroll, recruiting, employee management or performance management. Accordingly, business and accounting skills are often of value in an HR department.

Historically, there has been no clear-cut way to get started in human resources. Students with liberal arts or social science backgrounds may have some of the business skills needed to succeed. Students with business backgrounds may be more familiar with the HR environment, but many have business goals. Students who want to get started in HR can look to business administration courses to supplement their people skills. Many colleges offer certificates or concentrations in human resources, giving students an educational path geared for a career in human resources.

Volunteering offers a convenient way to acquire some of these skills. For example, if your company is planning a holiday party or company retreat, consider volunteering with the planning. Whether handling the party budget or planning ice breakers, you’ll be exposed to new people in the organization and may gain skills that translate well in HR.

Educating next generation candidates

In a complex business environment, education can be the difference between getting the job and being the runner-up. Human resources management courses cover diverse topics including talent retention, succession plans, meaningful employee compensation and evaluating performance metrics. These courses can help prospective employees prove their merit and land a mid-range HR job and help organizations better train their employees. Online certificate programs work well, because students can learn at their own pace, from anywhere at any time.

An agile or flexible mindset is anticipated to be a growing part of the HR field. Employees will need to keep up with a corporate culture that changes at a fast pace. Agile employees may need to familiarize themselves with a rapidly changing array of new products and technologies. Workers will need training, support and a corporate culture that values nimbleness — which speaks to the need for quality human resources managers. HR employees that are used to dealing with change can better foster this sort of environmental shift in the workplace and can better hire employees that will rise to the challenge. Employee orientation, training and leadership across the organization can help everyone adapt and thrive in a competitive global marketplace.

Third party human resources companies are growing in popularity, because they allow in-house HR staff to offload some of their time-intensive paperwork to an outside firm and focus more on working with the people in their company. Familiarity with these services and enough technical skill to handle human resources computer programs is a more valuable skill than ever.

These skills can help new and seasoned human resources employees alike take stock of their skill sets and create a professional development plan. There are many online and place-based resources and training for employees at all levels. To take your HR career to the next level, seek out the type of training that well be of most benefit.