What Does an HR Generalist Do?
An HR Generalist is a human resources professional who understands and can perform a broad range of HR functions rather than focusing on just one field. Therefore, they can handle all kinds of human resources tasks at an entry-level.
HR Generalists use their excellent interpersonal skills for the diverse tasks they perform. They need strong verbal and written communication skills to listen, learn, and actively communicate with employees. Additionally, HR Generalists have to practice excessive confidentiality and discretion since they work with sensitive employee data.
HR Generalists wear many hats, and while this gives the role an edge over other professional roles, it also makes the part tricky to understand. Therefore, you need to dive into the finer details of what an HR Generalist does and understand them so you can train to become a talented HR professional yourself.
This article will take a closer look at the question and explore what an HR Generalist does in an organization. If you're interested in learning more via video, then watch below.
Let's dive right in.
The HR Generalist Role
HR Generalists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers in an organization. They also handle compensation, benefits, training, employee relations, and payroll, among other HR functions. Therefore, it's hard to exhaustively pinpoint and describe the duties associated with the HR Generalist role for a given company.
The human resource generalist role can change and adjust with various state laws and company policies in the United States. For example, some companies let HR generalists handle benefits administration completely rather than hiring an HR Specialist. Regardless, the average median HR Generalist salary is around $68,437 per year, according to Glassdoor.
While such scenarios are common in smaller organizations, some medium-sized companies also hardly compartmentalize their HR departments and let HR Generalists handle multiple tasks. HR generalists in medium-sized companies may also require a basic understanding of Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS). Therefore, the HR generalist job title can mean many things depending on the organization, state, and level of experience you have.
Regardless of their job description within the organization, all HR Generalists work under the HR manager or HR director. Since their responsibilities can vary from business administration to employee relations and basic human resource management, they are crucial for an HR department. Many smaller companies often initiate their recruitment process for the department by hiring an HR Generalist.
If you wish to become a successful HR Generalist, it is important to have a firm grasp of knowledge about the human resources field. Therefore, you should look into our top-quality certification at HR University to learn all you need to become a talented HR generalist.
HR Generalist Duties
Within human resources management, responsibilities for positions such as the human resources specialist are according to their specialization. However, the HR Generalist role is never limited to one field, and it can develop and expand along as the organization grows.
The following image shows some important differences between the HR generalist role and the HR specialist role.
Some of the other duties and tasks human resources generalists have to manage are given below:
- Help with recruiting and staffing logistics. If there isn't a designated recruiter, the HR generalist may have to handle the recruitment processes directly.
- Assist in decision-making, organizational development, and enforcing company policies.
- Ensure that the company is compliant with regulations, labor laws, and employment laws. HR Generalists have to report regulatory compliance too.
- Help establish performance management, improvement, and training programs and systems.
- Lead or participate in employee orientations, development programs, and training regimens. Furthermore, HR Generalists help new employees settle in through onboarding programs.
- Establish active employee communication systems for all departments.
- Manage compensation and handle employee benefits administration.
- Conduct exit interviews to understand employee behavior.
- Calculate and analyze employee turnover and return on investments for various company programs and policies.
Smaller organizations that can't afford to hire a dedicated HR professional for a particular responsibility because of their average salary hire a human resources generalist. Since HR generalist responsibilities cover all major human resources functions, you can learn which ones you can specialize in and smartly advance your careers.
The expectations organizations have with HR Generalists are that they must have a solid grasp of all HR functions and robust interpersonal skills. Therefore, you should fill your knowledge gaps by learning more about the human resources field and sharpening your communication skills.
Once you become an HR Generalist, it's best to take advantage of the experience you gain from the role and work out where you can specialize further. Lastly, it's always best to stay updated with the industry's human resources policies and learn more about how the HR Generalist role and human resource management are changing as industries shift globally.
Can HR Generalists Handle Employee Relations?
The human resources department ensures that all employees lead productive professional lives. Part of that responsibility is to encourage healthy employee relations. These relations include those employees have with the organization and with each other. Since an HR generalist is competent in all major human resources tasks, they can also handle employee relations.
If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into an HR Generalist role, we recommend taking our HR Certification Course, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft a great HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy.
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He’s a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.