What are the Duties of HR Generalist: Career Review

Group of workers having a section with the HR generalist in cooperate gathering

The duty of a Human Resources Generalist or HR officer is to facilitate the recruitment and onboarding process of new employees. Beyond this, they are responsible for ensuring employers receive the perks due them. 

Also, HR generalists initiate career development and empowerment programs for workers within the organization. 

If you’re interested in a people-focused career, a role in becoming an HR generalist might be your perfect fit. 

This article aims to help you understand the duties of an HR Generalist. As we progress, we will discuss the key skills and educational qualifications a human resource specialist or generalist should possess. 

What is an HR Generalist?

It is very common to find people confusing the role of an HR generalist with that of an HR specialist. Although both have some major points of intersection, one performs a more specific role while the other takes up a more general responsibility as the name implies.

Therefore, we define an HR generalist as a professional in the field of human resources who handles a wide range of tasks related to managing an organization’s workforce. 

Unlike specialists who focus on specific HR functions such as recruitment, training, or benefits administration, HR generalists are responsible for a lot of tasks.

Human resources (HR) generalists wear many hats, you can call them the jack-of-all-trades in HR. They handle a diverse range of responsibilities, to ensure the smooth functioning of the human resources department.

Some of the basic duties of an HR generalist include handling recruitment, employee onboarding, training and development, payroll, performance management, employee relations, and more. We will go into detail in the next section.

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HR Generalist Duties and Responsibilities 

HR Generalists provide a vast number of services depending on the industry they serve and of course the country in question. However, some of the most general duties and responsibilities of HR generalists are:

  • Acting as a central point of contact for employees regarding various HR-related matters.
  • Implementing HR policies and procedures set by the organization.
  • Sourcing and attracting talented candidates, conducting interviews, and smoothly integrating new hires into the organization.
  • Administering payroll, managing benefits programs, and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations
  • Addressing employee concerns, resolving workplace conflicts, and fostering positive relationships between employees and management.
  • Identifying training needs, organizing training programs, and supporting employee development initiatives.
  • Conducting performance reviews, setting goals, and providing feedback to employees.
  • Maintaining the organization’s compliance with employment laws and regulations.
  • Gathering people data and insight by utilizing HR information systems 

HR Generalist Roles and Job Titles

It is true HR generalists are multi-taskers, however, in some industries and counties, they are addressed by different names or job titles also, depending on the experience level. So, you may find the following job titles for job adverts for HR generalists as those described below:

  • Human Resources Administrator
  • Human Resources Representative
  • Human Resources Officer
  • Personnel Manager
  • People Business Partner
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Head of People
  • Director of People.

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HR Generalist Skills and Qualifications 

To succeed as an HR generalist you need to possess different skill sets. Possessing these skill sets helps perform your duties in the most efficient ways.  Some of these typical skills include the following: 

1. Communication Skills

This is the cornerstone of every successful HR professional. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are necessary for interacting with employees at all levels, from explaining policies to mediating conflicts. 

2. Time management and Administration

HR generalists are masters of organization and detail. They handle paperwork, maintain employee records, manage payroll, and ensure compliance with various regulations. Efficient time management and strong organizational skills are key to juggling these administrative tasks and meeting deadlines.

3. Interpersonal Skills

To succeed in this role, you must understand how to build interpersonal relationships. HR generalists wear a human touch as a badge of honor. They need strong interpersonal skills to build relationships with employees, foster positive company culture, and navigate sensitive situations. 

Hence, empathy, conflict resolution skills, and emotional intelligence are crucial for dealing with employee concerns and creating a supportive work environment.

4. Problem-Solving and Decision-Making

HR generalists encounter new challenges daily. Strong problem-solving and decision-making skills are necessary to analyze these situations, find solutions, and make informed choices that benefit employees and the organization.

5. Technology Savvy

Gone are the days when HR roles required just paperwork and phone calls. To be efficient in this role, you must be comfortable with handling tools and systems like HR information systems (HRIS) and talent management platforms. Understanding technology enables you to streamline processes, automate tasks, and access valuable data.

HR Generalist Experience Qualifications 

Because of the how vast duties of an HR generalist, employers prefer candidates with several years of experience in the HR sector to take up the role of HR generalist. 

However, for junior HR generalist roles, employers may consider candidates with HR internship experience or someone with at least one or two years of working experience.

However, for a senior HR generalist role, employers accept candidates with five years or more experience in the HR field. 

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HR Generalist Education and Training Requirement  

Employers require prospective candidates for the HR Generalist position to possess a bachelor’s degree in Human resource management business administration or a related field. However, in some cases, employers specify the need for postgraduate certificates. 

Moreover, there are roles where employers specify an ongoing Human resources professional certification course approved by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development or, one form of PHR (Professional in Human Resources) as the case may be.

For an entry-level role, many companies offer internal training programs for new hires to learn specific HR processes and company policies. This offers the opportunity to orient the HR generalist on key duties and performance.

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HR Generalist Salary 

The salary expectation for an HR generalist is determined by various factors which include, your job description, Location, and your years of expertise. Typically, an Entry-level HR generalist earns less than a Senior-level professional.

According to Salary.com, ‘the average salary for an Entry HR Generalist ranges from $56,800 to $70,600 with the average base salary of $63,400” while that of a Senior HR Generalist ranges from $84,923 to $105,123 with the average base salary of $94,373. 

However, the median annual salary for HR generalists in the United States is $62,260, with variations based on experience, location, and industry.

Conclusion on HR Generalist Duties and Responsibilities

The career path for an HR generalist is promising and offers a rich experience of adventure and impact. 

Let me iterate some points. With experience and additional certifications, HR generalists can progress to senior HR roles with broader responsibilities, or specialize in specific areas like recruitment, employee relations, or training and development. 

So, if you’re looking for a fast-paced career that allows you to make a real impact on people’s lives, consider becoming an HR generalist. It’s a rewarding journey that can take you far!

Key Facts covered in the article:

  • HR generalists wear many hats, with duties spanning the entire employee lifecycle.
  • Strong communication, problem-solving, and organizational skills are essential.
  • A bachelor’s degree is preferred, but experience can be substituted.
  • The median annual salary in the US is $62,260, 
  • Career advancement opportunities include senior HR roles and specializations.

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