Many subdivisions form the field of human resources, each backed by a broad set of employment regulations, legislation, good practices and policies. Becoming an expert in any of these functions requires time and significant training, and HR managers can (and should) specialize exclusively in an area determined by the length of their careers. Other human resources professionals are required to develop a generalist vision of all human resources functions; and work in a variety of projects in multiple areas of human resources.
Human Resources Generalist:
Human resource generalists are characterized by their involvement in - and knowledge of - a wide variety of functions and divisions within HR. On a typical day, the human resources generalist can re-negotiate with a health benefits intermediary, determine if positions should be classified as exempt and not exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act, be open to hiring , to answer questions about medical leave options and testify at an unemployment insurance hearing. The generalist is a person who can administer all aspects of human resources.
Human Resources Manager:
The specialized human resources managers have built a lot of knowledge directly related to the function of specific human resources. In addition to supervisory functions, human resource managers play a more analytical role, using their detailed knowledge of labor laws and regulations, best practices and benchmarking. These in medium and large organizations usually supervise a specific division or function in the human resources department. Examples of these special functions include classification and compensation, labor relations, investigations and discipline, compensation of workers, training, hiring and employee benefits.
Organisational Hierarchy:
In large organisations, human resources generalists usually occupy the extremes of the hierarchy of the human resources department. Some generalist positions perform the entry level, administrative functions, while at the other end of the spectrum, human resources generalist executives are responsible for all divisions of the human resources department, with a layer of specialized human resources managers inserted in the middle. In small organizations, the human resources manager is the only employee responsible for all human resources functions; and he has to be a generalist with knowledge and experience to handle human resource operations that do not require more involvement.
General Manager of Human Resources:
The human resources generalist and the human resources manager do not have to be mutually exclusive; and many times they are not. Senior human resource managers need to be aware of -at least at a basic level- in all areas of human resources in order to effectively supervise personnel. Being a generalist does not mean that the human resources manager does not have something of a specialization in a certain area - but while he may prefer to work in a particular field of specialty, he has the breadth of knowledge to be comfortable supervising any area.
This article was written, edited and reviewed exhaustively by the Talent Magnifier HR Team in order to ensure that readers receive the best and most detailed information possible.
7th January 2019 From India, Mumbai
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