Human Resources Professional: How the Roles Have Changed

The role of human resources workers has changed over time. Human resources professionals used to be seen as the "gatekeepers" and mediators of the company or organization. The job of an HR professional was to ensure that both employees and managers understand the policies and observed them. As time progressed, so have the responsibilities of HR professionals. Now, people working in HR are not just policy enforcers, but they have also taken on the job of the policy-makers. Human resources training is a great way to understand the roles and responsibilities that an HR manager undertakes.

Human resources training will tell you that people who work in HR are often seen as the guardians, enforcers, and administrators. However, you will also be trained in a human resources certificate program, to take on other responsibilities. For example, HR professionals now need to know how to handle the role of strategizing, creating, and implementing policies as well, instead of just enforcing them.

If you want to work in HR it's important to understand that some people in the organization will view HR professionals as employee advocates, while others may view them as management advocates. This can make working in HR very difficult. However, human resources training can help you learn how to best deal with this in the most efficient way.

Although there are challenges in human resources, many human resources certificate programs will prepare you to learn how to manage them. Experts say that another important aspect to human resources right now is balancing all of this while becoming more involved strategically with evaluating and responding to organizational, managerial, and employee needs. According to experts, doing this allows HR personnel to act as problem solvers and advisors.

Another hat you may have to wear as an HR representative is that of business partner. HR collaborates with both the management as well as the employees to make sure that all organizational goals and objectives are met. This is a very important aspect to working in human resources.

Experts in the field say that now HR professionals are also expected to play a more consultative role and also be more proactive. Instead of knowing how to react to problems once they occur, HR professionals are being trained and are expected to anticipate and respond to any emerging issues. Employees as well as management expect HR to prevent problems, not just react.

You can learn how to be proactive in human resources training. One of the ways to learn how to be hands-on with this approach is to clarify procedures, provide guidelines, options and alternatives. However, it's important for people to remember that the job of an HR professional is to advice and support people with decision-making, not direct. Due to the new set of skills required of HR professionals, it's important to be properly trained. For example, having a human resources certificate will prove that you completed the proper human resources training necessary to acquire these skills.

Another benefit of human resources training is that you will gain the interpersonal skills needed to interact and engage with people more effectively in your career and in your personal life. Beyond communication, human resources now require that you have negotiation skills and project management skills. Overall, it's important that you communicate with everyone and form partnerships with managers and employees as well so that every situation can be handled responsibly. As an HR professional, you may have to communicate with your clients by clarifying expectations, implications and consequences in order to prevent any confusion. Although this can be demanding, understanding and responding to the needs of managers and employees will lead to a better outcome, and will in turn help your career progress successfully.

David Shoemaker is Vice President of Learning Solutions and Innovation at eCornell. For more information on human resources training, human resources certificate, or eCornell, please visit

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