2022

HR Specialist vs. HR Manager: What's the Difference?

HR specialists and HR managers both have a hand in keeping an organization's human resources running smoothly. Though both work together in the human resources department to achieve this goal, some key distinctions exist between the two roles. As HR specialists tend to focus on more specific tasks, HR managers have a more broad and strategic focus.

HR specialists focus on employee benefits and payroll details, while HR managers develop strategies for recruiting and retaining employees. Both contribute to the organization's progress, but in different ways.

Are you also perplexed about their roles and wondering the difference between an HR specialist and an HR manager? If "Yes," then read this blog post. This article will help you understand the roles of HR specialists and HR managers and how they contribute to an organization's success.

What does an HR Specialist do?

An HR specialist is a human resource expert that works to ensure that an organization's employees are happy and healthy. HR specialists typically have a deep knowledge of employment law and benefit programs. They work to keep the organization in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

The HR specialist's job is to manage the day-to-day operations of the human resources department. They are responsible for the administration of employee benefits and payroll. They ensure that employees get the benefits they are entitled to, such as health insurance and vacation days. They also keep track of employee vacations and absences.

An HR specialist specializes in a particular area of human resources. They might handle the hiring process, employee training, or employee development. They work with managers to ensure that they are compliant with employment laws and regulations. Generally, human resource specialists accomplish the following responsibilities:

  • Designing and implementing employee benefit programs
  • Administering payroll and managing benefits
  • Offering information about benefits and compensation to employees
  • Designing and conducting new employee orientation
  • Maintaining employee records
  • Investigating accidents and complaints
  • Overseeing employee training programs
  • Designing and implementing employee development programs
  • Improving employee engagement

What does an HR Manager do?

HR managers are human resource professionals who organize the whole HR department and its staff. The HR manager is responsible for the overall management of the human resources department.

They are strategic thinkers and develop long-term plans for the human resources department. They work with senior managers to ensure that the organization has the right mix of people with the right skills. They develop programs to attract and retain employees.

An HR manager typically has a broad knowledge of all aspects of human resources. They might specialize in a particular area, such as recruiting or employee relations. However, their job is to develop strategies that will improve the overall performance of the HR department. Generally, human resource managers accomplish the following responsibilities:

  • Developing long-term plans for the human resources department
  • Working with senior managers to identify the workforce needs of the organization
  • Developing programs to attract and retain employees
  • Designing and administering employee benefit programs
  • Overseeing the work of human resource specialists
  • Investigating accidents and complaints
  • Managing the budget
  • Assisting in developing strategies
  • Analyzing employee performance to identify trends

How do HR Specialists and HR Managers Work Together?

Both HR specialists and HR managers play a vital role in an organization. They work together to ensure that the organization's employees are happy and healthy. They also work together to keep the organization in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

The HR specialist contributes to the organization's progress by managing the daily operations of the human resources department. They work to manage employee compensation plans so that employees are getting the benefits they are entitled to. They also investigate employee complaints and accidents.

The HR manager is responsible for developing long-term plans for the human resources department. They work with senior managers to identify the workforce needs of the organization. They also develop programs to attract and retain employees.

For example, If a company is expanding its operations, the HR manager will develop a plan to hire additional employees. They create strategies to find and attract qualified applicants. They visualize the big picture and work to ensure that the company has the right mix of people with the right skills.

The HR specialist will then work to implement the plan to hire competent employees. For this purpose, they create job descriptions, post job advertisements, and conduct interviews. They focus on hiring the right candidate for the job. After hiring, HR specialists work with the new employee to fill out paperwork and get them acclimated to the company.

After the completion of the recruitment process comes the onboarding step. HR managers and specialists both play an essential role in the onboarding process. After successful completion of the onboarding process, it is vital to retain good employees. For this purpose, HR managers and HR specialists work together to create employee retention strategies.

Differences Between HR Specialists and HR Managers

An HR specialist and HR manager differ in their responsibilities, skills, focus, knowledge, and several other aspects. Let's learn about them.

Focus

Focus is one of the significant differentiating aspects between an HR specialist and an HR manager. The focus of an HR specialist is mainly on the daily operations of the human resources department. They work to ensure that all the processes in the department are running smoothly.

On the other hand, an HR manager's focus is mainly on developing long-term plans for the human resources department. They work with senior managers to identify the workforce needs of the organization. Their job is to develop strategies that will improve the overall performance of the HR department.

Skills Required

Human resources specialists and managers have quite different roles, so do their skills. The following are common skills required by HR professionals to excel in an HR career path as a human resource specialist:

  • An HR specialist needs to have excellent interpersonal skills.
  • They should be able to communicate with employees at all levels effectively. Effective communication and coordination help them manage the daily operations of the department smoothly.
  • They should also be well-versed in employment law to investigate employee complaints and accidents effectively.
  • They need to be good at problem-solving. Problem-solving skills enable them to find solutions to employee complaints.
  • HR specialists need to have strong analytical skills to identify trends in employee performance.

HR managers, on the other hand, need the following skills to excel in their careers:

  • On the other hand, HR managers need to have excellent strategic planning skills. Strategic planning enables them to develop long-term plans for the human resources department.
  • They should also be good at developing programs to attract and retain employees. Retaining employees save the company from spending money on recruiting and training new employees.
  • They should also have strong leadership skills to lead and motivate the team of HR specialists.
  • Analytical skills and critical thinking allow an HR manager to identify problems in the department and find solutions to them.
  • HR managers need to have a deep understanding of the organization's business goals. It allows them to develop strategies that align with the organization's goals.

Scaling Factor

The roles and responsibilities of HR specialists and HR managers vary from organization to organization. The organization's size is one of the significant factors that determine the duties and responsibilities of HR professionals.

In small organizations, the HR department is usually headed by an HR manager. The HR manager performs all the duties and responsibilities of an HR specialist. They are also responsible for developing long-term plans for the department.

In large organizations, the HR department is usually divided into different sections. An HR specialist leads each section. The HR manager is responsible for overseeing the activities of all the HR specialists.

Certifications

There are various certifications available for HR professionals. Some can help HR specialists in their job roles, while others help HR managers. Popular certifications for HR specialists are as follows:

  • Retirement Plans Associate certification
  • Medical Administrative Specialist certification
  • Certified Employee Benefit Specialist certification
  • Certified Health Service Administrator certification
  • Certified Benefits Professional certification
  • Group Benefits Associate certification

Popular certifications for HR managers are as follows:

  • Senior Professional in Human Resources certification
  • Global Professional in Human Resources certification
  • Associate Professional in Human Resources certification
  • Certified Staffing Professional
  • Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP)

Educational Qualification and Experience

Education matters a lot when it comes to job roles in the HR industry. Most companies require HR specialists to have a bachelor's or master's degree in business management, human resources, or a related field. The required experience for HR specialists varies from organization to organization. Most organizations require 3 to more years of experience in the HR field.

Some companies may also require HR managers to have a bachelor's degree in human resource management or a related field, but the experience required by the HR professionals varies. Most organizations need about 2 to 5 years of experience for the job role of an HR specialist.

Salary

The salary of an HR manager and HR specialist depends greatly on their experience. Experienced professionals usually earn more than ones with less experience. But HR managers typically get paid more than HR specialists.

The base salary of an HR specialist is in the range of $39,000 to $75,000 per year. The median salary of an HR specialist is $53,000 per year. They get a bonus of $4,234.

The base salary of an HR manager is in the range of $49,000 to $93,000 per year. The median salary of an HR manager is $69,000 per year. They get a bonus of $8,232.

FAQs

What is the difference between HR managers and specialists?

HR specialists and HR managers require different skillsets and experiences. The job roles and responsibilities of these two professionals are also different.

An HR specialist performs the duties and responsibilities of an HR department. They are responsible for recruiting, training, and managing employees. They deal with employee relations and benefits. They develop long-term plans for the department. They need to have excellent communication and interpersonal skills to accomplish these tasks. They also need a good understanding of laws related to HR.

An HR manager oversees the activities of all the staff, HR generalists, and HR specialists. They are responsible for developing long-term plans for the department. They make sure that the department is run smoothly and efficiently. They report to the director or vice president of the organization.

They need to have excellent leadership and interpersonal skills. They should also be able to work well under unfavorable circumstances. They need to have analytical skills to make sure that the department is working towards the organization's goals. They must be able to develop effective strategies for the company.

Is HR specialist higher than HR generalist?

Yes, HR specialists are higher than HR generalists in the organizational hierarchy. When it comes to knowledge and carrying out functions, HR specialists are higher than HR generalists. They have more in-depth knowledge about the roles of HR. They can carry out the tasks and responsibilities of the HR department more efficiently.

HR specialists are specialized in a particular area of HR, such as recruitment, training, and employee relations. They have more knowledge about the laws related to HR. They can carry out the tasks and responsibilities of their department more effectively.

An HR generalist has a broad understanding of all the functions of HR. They focus on several human resources management roles. HR managers often supervise HR generalists.

What is higher than HR manager?

A Vice president of human resources and chief human resource officer is in higher positions than HR managers. They are responsible for the overall management of the HR department. They develop and implement strategies for the department. HR managers oversee the activities of all the staff, HR generalists, and HR specialists.

The vice president of human resources reports to the CEO or president of the organization. The chief human resource officer reports to the board of directors. They work to ensure that the department is run smoothly and efficiently. They make sure that the department is working towards the organization's goals.