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HR managers are people-oriented and increasingly analytics-driven human capital leaders at organizations across industries today. They’re often new employees first point of contact upon joining a company, and the last person to interview employees when they leave. As such, it’s critically important at most companies that their HR manager be perceived as not only supporting, but even embodying the value pillars, culture and mission of the organization.

Zooming in a bit to get a more granular perspective, major responsibilities of HR managers include:

  • planning, managing and leading employee engagement initiatives on an ongoing basis — something that has become all the more important with remote teams since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • guiding and advising team members and leaders on HR policies and procedures at larger organizations
  • staying on top of the latest changes to local, state and federal employment laws as well as compliance requirements, particularly as they impact business decision-making
  • contributing to the benefits open enrollment process
  • directing and coordinating the onboarding process for all new hires
  • leading new hire orientations
  • responding promptly to all HR-related inquiries from internal as well as external stakeholders
  • embodying key elements of the company’s mission or culture
  • promoting employee morale through diverse initiatives
  • supporting end-to-end recruitment efforts
  • personally carrying out exit interviews to understand retention levers
  • regularly reporting to senior-level managers as well as C-suite leaders
  • working closely with the company’s training and development manager

how do you become an HR manager?

There aren’t significantly high barriers to entry for aspiring HR managers. This is also a job that can be done remotely, which is key given COVID-19 social distancing requirements — and it’s a role that’s increasingly in demand right now as organizations struggle to get a handle on issues with morale and engagement among remote teams.

That said, there are some educational and professional experience boxes you’ll need to check in order to be considered for the role. Namely:

  • bachelor’s degree in HR, business administration or a related field
  • anywhere from three to five years of previous HR experience
  • demonstrated ability to engage with and support remote workforces (not always required)
  • Microsoft Office proficiency (especially with Microsoft Excel and Outlook)
  • familiarity with OSHA best practices and the latest regulatory requirements

Beyond these core requirements, ongoing professional education can be a key differentiator for HR managers today. That’s why it’s a good idea to check out the latest offerings in online learning. Explore the most relevant courses in HR management on Udemy, our learning partner, if you aren’t sure where to get started.

what are the key skills of an HR manager?

Assuming you have the right experience, there shouldn’t be too many obstacles standing between you and your next great role as an HR manager. Bear in mind, too, that soft skills can be the deciding factor in who gets a given role — and who gets told, “Better luck next time.” After all, HR managers are above all people-focused professionals. No surprise, then, that soft skills would matter so much.

But what are the right soft skills to call attention to on your resume? Do your best to showcase the following:

  • team leadership
  • analytical and critical thinking
  • emotional intelligence
  • empathy
  • patience
  • self-awareness
  • mindfulness
  • listening
  • attentiveness to detail
  • problem-solving and troubleshooting abilities
  • native administrative, organizational and managerial acumen
  • interpersonal, communication and social skills

how much does an HR manager make?

HR managers play an essential role in human capital management today, and the capital they take home as compensation reflects that. Take the latest salary data, for example. Right now, average compensation for HR managers can be grouped into three tiers — low, middle and high — as follows:







Of course, any time compensation spills over into the six-figure range, it isn’t exactly “low,” but you can get a sense — in the above — of the significant variance in compensation expectations that HR managers are facing today.

Looking for a deeper-dive analysis around the latest salary information for HR managers? We’ve got you covered. Just head on over to our free salary comparison tool. There, you’ll find in-depth and at-a-glance intelligence about pay rates for HR manager roles across the U.S.

key takeaways

As we have discussed, HR managers are highly in-demand professionals today, a fact you can see reflected in their generally high pay grade. And perhaps no less importantly, this is a role that’s effectively COVID-19-proof, too, as HR managers are on the front lines of employee engagement, outreach and retention efforts.

For a quick recap, in this article we’ve broken down:

  • what HR managers do
  • training, experience and core requirements frequently associated with the role
  • essential skills for success
  • salary expectations for recruiters
  • … and a whole lot more!

Ready to take advantage of all your latest learning? That’s great news! Why not start searching for HR manager job openings with Randstad right now?