HR specialists serve as the link between an organization and its employees. HR specialists can concentrate in a specific discipline of human resources or handle all human resources responsibilities for a business. Whether HR specialists focus their skills in one human resources discipline, or all areas of human resources, they work with company managers to ensure that all staffing issues are appropriately and legally addressed.
Education and Credentials
In most cases, employers require a bachelor’s degree in human resources, psychology or a related discipline for entry-level HR specialists. For specialized positions, many employers require several years of work experience in human resources. Along with a bachelor’s degree, human resources specialists can obtain credentials from organizations such as the Society for Human Resource Management. The society offers certification for both professional in human resources and senior professional in human resources.
HR specialists represent their organizations to potential employees. They post job openings, review resumes and select candidates to interview. In most cases, they screen candidates to ensure that they’re qualified for the job opening, then set up interviews with managers. When a candidate is selected to hire, the HR specialist prepares an offer, negotiates the salary, and conducts the appropriate investigation, such as calling references and performing a background check. They also conduct orientation sessions with new employees.
Benefits, Services and Retention
HR specialists also implement benefits and services for employees. They help their employers to select programs for employees, such as health-care benefits, paid time off and retirement or savings plans. They sometimes coordinate other services and functions for employees, such as incentive programs, food and beverage services, holiday parties and other organizational events. HR specialists work to improve employee retention rates.
Policies and Regulations
Each organization implements policies for its employees and must adhere to government regulations regarding hiring, training, firing and safety. HR specialists must know federal and state laws in order to help draft and implement these policies for legal compliance and enforceability. They develop employee handbooks, recommend disciplinary action and assist management with terminating employees when necessary. HR specialists process the appropriate paperwork for termination or resignation. They also investigate employee complaints about violation of company policies or government regulations by co-workers or employers.
Job Outlook and Salary
HR specialist job openings are expected to grow by 21 percent from 2010 through 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The majority of the growth is expected to increase with human resource consulting firms, employment services firms and placement agencies. Organizations are expected to increasingly outsource many of their human resources functions, cutting the costs of recruiting and other human resources services. The average salary for HR specialists was $58,890 per year as of 2011, according to the BLS.