The role of the human resources (HR) department has always been important to the well-being of a company and its employees. However, in today’s workplace — which includes employees ranging from baby boomers to Gen Z — having an HR department with highly-skilled, versatile, and committed professionals is absolutely essential.
The Skills Needed to Become a Human Resources Professional
If you’re interested in entering the fast-growing field of human resources, which has “many lucrative opportunities for managers, HR generalists, and more,” there are specific skills companies are looking for. And most of them fall into one or more of the following five categories:
- Conflict management.
Many of the skills in demand within the human resources profession are — well — very human. Employees aren’t just employees. They’re also human beings. And that’s why the most successful HR professionals understand how to interact with and manage these individuals in ways that are productive, positive and fair.
How National University Trains 21st-Century HR Professionals
According to The Balance Careers, “Degrees have become more important in most fields, but nowhere has the shift occurred quite as dramatically as in HR.” At National University, you can earn a Master of Arts in Human Resources Management online, making it a popular choice for those who have full-time jobs.
So, what skills are students learning in National’s human resources courses? They’re learning the skills that will set them apart from other job candidates and that will help them become successful HR professionals. Our human resources courses are designed to address the most prevalent and most challenging issues confronting HR professionals today — as well as those predicted to arise in the future.
Students start by learning about current practices, trends and theories within the HR profession. They consider questions about strategic alignment among the different stakeholders within an organization — including how that alignment (or lack thereof) impacts training, policies, jobs, systems, and organizational development.
HR professionals are often part of an organization’s team that’s charged with addressing legal matters that arise regarding a wide range of issues including compliance, equal employment opportunity (EEO) requirements, and employee liability. These are complex challenges that require an understanding of applicable laws and regulations. In National University’s human resources courses, students work through legal and ethical workplace scenarios, such as employer use of power, organizational business practices, and safety issues. By analyzing these scenarios as a group and individually, students learn how to successfully and ethically navigate these challenges.
Honing communication skills is a significant focus throughout all human resources courses taught at National University. Students learn about employee relations, including how to lead negotiations, manage grievances, deal with strikes and lockouts, and stay within the bounds of the law when working with unions, employees, managers, and government officials.
Being able to recruit and retain top talent for an organization is one of the primary responsibilities of an HR professional. At National, students take human resources courses that teach them how to test and assess job candidates in ways that help ensure a good organizational fit. They also learn how to conduct effective onboarding of new employees, how to support the professional development of employees, how to develop and implement employee training programs, and how to effectively measure and enhance job performance.
One of the first questions most job applicants ask during an interview is, “What benefits do you offer?” And, of course, they also want to know what their salary would be. As an HR professional, you’ll help create and administer benefits packages — including health insurance options, retirement plans, incentives, employee assistance programs, and other offerings. Additionally, you might be involved with determining compensation levels for specific positions. In their HR studies, students learn the fundamentals of benefits and compensation — including how new technologies impact them — so that they can successfully execute these crucial elements of human resources management.
Developing critical thinking skills is a core component of National University’s Master of Arts in Human Resources Management program. Being able to not only understand a challenge but to then develop and implement effective solutions is a must-have skill for HR professionals. In the capstone course, critical thinking skills are applied to a practical challenge of a student’s own choosing. They work under the supervision and guidance of a faculty member as they collect data, develop a written report, and deliver an oral presentation to classmates and faculty.
Taking the Next Step Toward a Rewarding Career in Human Resources
If you’re considering entering the human resources profession as a first career or if you’re looking at it as a possible career change, that’s great! The next step should be making sure you not only have the right skills to be a successful HR professional but that you’ve developed those skills in a way that will bring significant value to the 21st-century workforce. That’s what you’ll achieve at National University. We’re working with individuals just like you who want to make a positive difference in the lives of others and who are excited about the many opportunities to do that through a rewarding career in human resources.
If you’re interested in becoming a human resources professional, consider enrolling in National University’s Master of Arts in Human Resources Management program. You can learn more about National University, the on-campus and online degrees and programs we offer, veteran opportunities, and student experiences by reading the blog articles on our resources page.