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Human Resources Management Specialists

Significant Points

This series includes positions that either (1) direct or assist in directing a personnel management program, or (2) advise on, supervise, perform or provide staff leadership and technical guidance for work that involves two or more specialized personnel functions, or (3) perform specialized personnel management work not covered by other series in this group.

Introduction

Personnel management is concerned with the acquisition, retention, motivation, development and use of the human resources of an organization. It is an integral part of total management. As such it is the ultimate responsibility of the head of the organization. Within the various agencies of the Federal Government there is considerable variation in the organizational and occupational structures through which the personnel function is carried out, and in the role and relationship of personnel management to the total management process. These differences, which influence both series and grade-level determinations, are discussed below.

Personnel Management Specialist (nonsupervisory) GS-0201-05

This is the basic trainee level. GS-05 employees receive formal classroom instruction and/or on-the-job training in the principles, concepts, work processes, regulations, and reference material fundamental to one or a combination of specialized personnel fields. On-the-job training assignments provide a practical understanding of the organization, programs, policies, and objectives of the employing agency as well as furnish experience in the application of principles, procedures, and work techniques to actual operating situations. Instructors or Supervisors give specific instructions and guidance on these assignments and critically review completed work.

Personnel Management Specialist (nonsupervisory) GS-0201-07

This is the advanced trainee level. Work assignments are selected to provide training in the analytic and judgmental aspects of the work and in the appropriate use of such methods and techniques as job analysis and interviewing. The training emphasizes developing an understanding of the relationships of the concepts underlying the field. It is directed toward the recognition of incipient personnel needs or problems and the identification, analysis and solution of personnel problems. Assignments are preselected to combine performance of productive work with supervised on-the-job training in both the judgmental and methodological aspects of the work.

In the solution of specific case problems or other work, the Personnel Management Specialist, GS-07, applies a gradually increasing knowledge of and skill in the use of pertinent principles and techniques in securing, analyzing, and evaluating the essential facts needed for decision.

Management advisory service functions at this level are normally limited to such things as providing information as to the typical duty patterns which will justify a particular grade, the kinds of candidates available for a particular type of job, and similar matters.

Supervision received and authority are important limiting factors at this level. Advanced trainees are given detailed instructions and explanations with each assignment. When they work on more complex problems (i.e., those characteristic of the GS-09 or GS-11 levels) they receive continuing guidance and instruction during the progress of their work. Completed work is closely reviewed to insure adequate and accurate application of principles, guides and standards; to determine the soundness of conclusions and recommendations; and to serve as the basis for further training or different kinds of assignments.

Personal work contacts are mainly to obtain and exchange information, answer questions and, when necessary, explain well-established policies, procedures, regulatory requirements or standards.

Program development and program evaluation

GS-07 personnel management specialists assist higher grade personnel workers in preliminary phases of program development or evaluation functions. Usually in such assignments, the supervisory guidance and review are closer and more detailed than in the operating assignments described for this level. The primary objective is to develop such employees for more responsible work so that gradually increasingly difficult kinds of problems are assigned or there is a gradual increase in the amount of independence permitted.

Personnel Management Specialist (nonsupervisory) GS-0201-09

Program operations

This level is characterized by assignments which regularly encompass problems of average difficulty, frequently combined with management advisory service functions. Problems are of average difficulty when their resolution requires the application of (1) technical skill, knowledge, and judgment in the use of the fundamental principles, concepts, techniques, standards, and guides of the particular specialized field; and (2) knowledge of the occupational and organizational structure and characteristics of the organization served. This arises from the nature of the jobs or organizations dealt with and the degree to which the guides available require interpretation.

The following examples illustrate key differences between positions at this level and positions at GS-07 and GS-11:

1. The assignment might include personnel and positions mainly in clerical, trades, or other types of occupations common in the agency or in the Federal service generally but in an organization which is complex or dynamic and unstable as described at the GS-11 level.

2. The assignment might include personnel and positions which involve work processes of a mental, judgmental, public contact, or coordinative nature or which are in short supply as described at the GS-11 level, but in an organization which is a reasonably stable one so that jobs and career patterns have been sufficiently standardized or clear-cut in operation and covered by specifically applicable guides that their work processes and qualification requirements are relatively easy to understand.

3. The assignment might include a wide variety of different occupations and personnel which require a breadth of knowledge of guides and occupations significantly in excess of the GS-07 level.

Examples of assignments which involve problems of this level of difficulty are:

1. A position-classifier is assigned to provide continuing classification service to a group of organizational segments performing supply, fiscal, and warehousing functions. The jobs in these segments are about evenly divided between the Classification Act and wage board pay systems. The variety of jobs serviced ranges from laborers and fork-lift operators to stock control clerks, accounting clerks, office machine operators, perhaps a few professionals, and their supervisors. Agency or US.

Office of Personnel Management standards are available for most jobs, or, where no standards are available, the jobs fall logically into typical patterns. Regular, scheduled surveys are performed in accordance with a plan established by the supervisor. The main technical problems encountered are those relating to the development of full factual information and the interpretation and application of the standards to the jobs. There is responsibility for working closely with supervisors to keep current on organizational and procedural changes to ascertain their effect on job content. Classification decisions are discussed informally with supervisors and employees, to explain the basis for them and to develop understanding and acceptance of them. Advice is given to supervisors in the organization serviced regarding the probable effects of duty changes on classifications, and suggestions are made, on request, as to other alternative shifts in duties which might have a more satisfactory classification result.

2. A placement officer is assigned to provide continuing service to a group of organizational segments performing claims and other kinds of quasi-legal examining, office services, and adjudicative functions. The jobs serviced are mostly Classification Act with a few wage board employees. Qualification standards are available for almost all the jobs. In their absence, or where they do not seem to fit actual job requirements, develops new qualification standards based on job analysis and submits to appropriate US. Office of Personnel Management office for review and approval. The major problems encountered arise from the filling of entrance-level jobs, internal placement actions to improve employee utilization, and the operation of a merit promotion program for filling the higher-level jobs, many of which are supervisory.

Working closely with supervisors, conducts screening interviews with applicants, makes telephone reference checks, and refers the best applicants to operating supervisors for final selection. Orients new employees to the personnel policies of the organization. Conducts follow-up interviews with supervisors and employees to determine need for additional placement action. Where such action is indicated, tries to work it out by discussions with the employee affected and other supervisors, fitting as closely as possible the strengths and weaknesses of the employee into the organizational structure. Prepares draft promotion plans, including methods for ranking employees, based on rating procedures suggested by other approved plans, and within the framework of well-defined agency policy on promotions. After approval of plan, carries out its provisions. Occasionally participates in or conducts recruiting activities, e.g., as a speaker at high school "career days."

Management advisory service functions are frequently found as an integral part of personnel jobs at this level, but consist of a limited amount and type of advice to supervisors in the exercise of their supervisory responsibilities. At this level, this function is largely performed as a result of a specific request related to an immediate problem of limited scope, for which one or more alternative solutions are readily apparent to a trained personnel worker. The personnel worker must be sensitive to the meaning of these problems, so that he can secure assistance from his supervisor or a higher-level personnel worker on those requests which have broader implications than he can deal with, independently, at this level. Advisory service of this level is also characterized by the fact that the personnel worker is expected to provide such advice primarily in terms of his own particular personnel specialization, rather than in terms of the total field of personnel management, even though the problem may have been generated because of the impact of another personnel specialization. While specific advice on problem solution is limited to his own field, the personnel worker is expected to be sufficiently broad in his understanding of personnel management generally that he recognizes the impact of other specialized personnel fields on the same problem and provides information about the problem and its possible ramifications to personnel workers in these other specialized fields. For example, a position-classifier is asked to advise re: the grade or series classification effect of the removal of certain duties or responsibilities from a position. The reason for removal of the duties may be the inability to find people who can perform them. While the classifier must be aware of the reason for the request, his responsibility for advice is still primarily limited to the application of the techniques of his own field.

Personnel Officer Positions

Personnel officers are required to apply a broad and intensive knowledge of:

1. The structure, functions, missions, objectives and current problems of the organization served, and their relationships both to other components of the organization involved and to the Federal Government as a whole;

2. The general principles and methods of organization and administration including (a) theoretical and practical concepts and types of organizational structures and their relationships to and relative utility for various kinds of missions and (b) the financial management cycle, i.e., the Federal budgeting, appropriation, funding and accounting processes and their implications for effective mission accomplishment;

3. The theories, concepts, and principles of personnel management;

4. The kinds of jobs in the organization and their requirements; and

5. The human qualities involved in or required for successful job performance and effective group relationships.

Personnel Officer GS-0201-11

The following examples illustrate some of the combinations of situations, factors, and responsibilities in a GS-11 personnel officer position:

1. When the operational character of the program is essentially Level 1, it is characterized by serving a medium work force and/or by a substantial weight and range of complexities and problems presented by the various environmental elements. (The classification significance of technical and environmental complexities is somewhat attenuated by the Level 1 character of program operation, since such a level of operation implies limited depth of analysis, and a limited degree of creativity in the solution of problems.)

In other words, a program operating essentially at Level 1 is typically classifiable to this grade on the basis of serving a work force of medium size, even though the majority of environmental elements are at or near minimum levels of difficulty. On the other hand, a program serving a small work force may be classifiable to this grade by reason of a substantial weight of complexities and problems presented by other environmental factors. A combination of both conditions is also contained within this grade.

2. When the operational character of the personnel program matches the definition of Level 2, the personnel officer is required to function at a level of professional responsibility which supports a grade of GS-11 even though the work force is small and the environmental situation imposes little more than the minimum of problems. A Level 2 character of program operation normally presumes that the personnel officer will have substantially full delegation of authority. The professional level of operation reflected by a Level 2 program assumes a moderate amount of complexities and problems arising from other environmental factors (several of them ranging above the minimum up to near the mid-range of difficulty).

Personnel Officer GS-0201-12

The following examples illustrate some of the many combinations of situations, factors and responsibilities in a GS-12 personnel officer position:

1. Directing an operating level personnel program which functions at Level 2 in terms of its operationalcharacter which either:

a. Serves a medium work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a limited to moderate weight and range of problems; or
b. Serves a small work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a very substantial weight and range of problems.

2. Directing a personnel program at the secondary policy level which functions at Level 2 in terms of its operational character, which typically serves a small work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a limited to moderate weight and range of problems.

3. Directing a personnel program at the primary policy level, when the program does not materially exceed Level 1 in terms of its operational character, which typically serves a small work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a limited to moderate weight and range of problems.

Personnel Officer GS-0201-13

The following examples illustrate some of the many combinations of situations, factors and responsibilities in a GS-13 personnel officer position:

1. Directing an operating-level personnel program which functions at Level 2 in terms of its operational character which either:

a. Serves a medium work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a substantial to a very substantial weight and range of problems; or
b. Serves a moderately large work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a limited to moderate weight and range of problems; or
c. Involves responsibility for coordinating personnel activities at lower levels, and serves a medium work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a moderate weight and range of problems.

2. Directing a personnel program at the secondary policy level which functions at Level 2 in terms of its operational character which either:

a. Serves a small work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a substantial weight and range of problems; or
b. Serves a medium work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a limited to moderate weight and range of problems.

3. Directing a personnel program at the primary policy level which either:

a. Functions at an operational level which does not materially exceed Level 1, and serves a medium work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a limited to moderate weight and range of problems; or
b. Functions at Level 2 in terms of its operational character, and serves a small work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a limited to moderate weight and range of problems.

4. Less commonly, directly at the operating level a Level 3 program which serves a small work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a very substantial weight and range of problems.

Personnel Officer GS-0201-14

The following examples illustrate some of the many combinations of situations, factors, and responsibilities in a GS-14 personnel officer position:

1. Directing an operating-level personnel program which functions at Level 2 in terms of its operational character which either:

a. Serves a medium work force in a situation where the environmental elements present an exceptional weight and range of problems; or
b. Serves a moderately large work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a substantial weight and range of problems; or
c. Serves a large work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a limited to moderate weight and range of problems; or
d. Involves responsibility for coordinating personnel activities at lower levels, and serves a medium work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a very substantial weight and range of problems.

2. Directing a personnel program at the secondary policy level which functions at Level 2 in terms of its operational character which either:

a. Serves a small to medium work force in a situation where there is little or no delegation of personnel responsibilities to lower echelons, but where the environmental elements present an exceptional weight and range of problems;
b. Involves responsibility for coordinating personnel activities at lower levels and serves a medium work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a substantial weight and range of problems; or
c. Involves responsibility for coordinating personnel activities at lower levels and serves a moderately large work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a limited to moderate weight and range of problems.

3. Directing a personnel program at the primary policy level which functions at Level 2 in terms of its operational character which either:

a. Serves a small work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a substantial to very substantial weight and range of problems; or
b. Serves a medium work force (typically including responsibility for coordinating lower echelon personnel operations) in a situation where the environmental elements present a limited to moderate weight and range of problems.

4. Less commonly, directing a personnel program which functions at Level 3 in terms of its operational character which either:

a. Serves, at the operating level, a medium work force where the environmental elements present a substantial to very substantial weight and range of problems; or
b. Serves, at the secondary policy level, a small work force in a situation where the environmental factors present a substantial weight and range of problems.

Personnel Officer GS-0201-15

The following examples illustrate some of the many combinations of situations, factors, and responsibilities in a GS-15 personnel officer position:

1. Directing an operating-level personnel program which functions at Level 2 in terms of its operational character, which may or may not include responsibility for coordinating personnel activities at lower levels, and which either:

a. Serves a moderately large work force in a situation where the environmental elements present an exceptional weight and range of problems; or
b. Serves a large work force, in a situation where the environmental elements present a very substantial to exceptional weight and range of problems.

2. Directing a personnel program at the secondary policy level which functions at Level 2 in terms of its operational character, which typically includes responsibility for coordinating personnel activities at lower levels, and which either:

a. Serves a medium work force in a situation where the environmental elements present an exceptional weight and range of problems; or
b. Serves a moderately large to large work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a very substantial weight and range of problems.

3. Directing a personnel program at the primary policy level which functions at Level 2 in terms of its operational character, which typically includes responsibility for coordinating personnel activities at lower levels, and which either:

a. Serves a medium work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a very substantial weight and range of problems; or
b. Serves a moderately large work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a substantial weight and range of problems.

4. Less commonly, directing a personnel program which functions at Level 3 in terms of its operational character, and which either:

a. Serves, at the operating level, a medium work force in a situation where the environmental elements present an exceptional weight and range of problems; or
b. Serves, at the primary policy level, a small work force in a situation where the environmental elements present a very substantial weight and range of problems.

Human Resources Specialist, GS-0201-11

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

At this level the HR Specialist serves as the principle program proponent in one or more of the following areas and as supporting subject matter expert in all others:

Provides position management and classification services to managers and employees. Advises employees and managers on the position classification process, and use of the various classification tools such as classification and job grading standards, higher headquarters decisions, and the use of standard job descriptions. Advises on possible classification changes, position or employee impact and associated actions to assure compliance with overall human resource requirements. Conducts position audits, implements new classification guides and standards, and classifies positions.

Manages the merit promotion program and serves as a Delegated Examining Unit Manager. Advises management on recruitment and placement strategies, sources and special programs which support merit system objectives and principles in recruiting for and filling positions. Assists selecting officials in developing crediting plans to identify appropriate levels of knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics necessary for the recruitment and placement of internal and external candidates. Assists in developing short and long range staffing plans to support mission requirements. Assesses employee turnover patterns; reviews past recruitment practices, and provides advice on future staffing strategies. Identifies recruitment sources. Provides information to employees and the general public regarding Federal hiring procedures, employment requirements, and related procedures. Counsels current employees regarding their career options.

Announces positions, accepts, reviews, and rates applications; certifies candidates, assists selecting officials with the selection process; and notifies candidates of the results. Serves as the student employment program manager. Leads the state recruiting team, directing the activity of area recruitment coordinators to ensure appropriate Agency participation in recruitment activities with high schools, colleges, and agricultural organizations. As the proponent for the recruitment program, ensures it meets short and long-range staffing requirements and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) goals and objectives.

Provides advice and assistance in identifying responsibilities, duties, and functions to be performed; on-the-job, on-line, and other training appropriate to each developmental level; and appropriate performance measurements. Orients students and trains training supervisors.

Reviews and updates personnel policies; i.e., General Manual amendments, and correspondence providing statewide procedural instructions on staffing, the Merit Promotion Plan, leave, and other human resources programs. Drafts revisions, and initiates correspondence as necessary. Provides guidance and assistance on interpretation of laws, policy, and regulations pertaining to all aspects of human resources. Drafts informational and training materials for use by others in training employees and supervisors.

Provides advice and assistance on employee relations issues such as discipline, adverse actions, grievances, performance management, employee counseling, and related functions.

Gathers background information, recommends appropriate disciplinary actions, and prepares formal correspondence on the full range of disciplinary actions. Advises and assists employees, managers and supervisors regarding grievance procedures and options for conflict resolution. Assures that official case files are properly maintained with complete documentation to support recommended and final action.

Completes a variety of personnel reports by compiling and analyzing statistical data.

Coordinates the preparation of the Affirmative Employment Program plan.

Works within a team concept to develop and implement ways to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of the products and/or services provided to internal and external customers.

Performs duties in a manner supportive of a safe and healthy work environment, and exercises safety precautions when exposed to dangerous objects, chemicals, extreme temperatures, etc.

Performs duties in a manner which actively supports civil rights policies regarding personnel rules and regulations and delivery of Agency programs and services without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, marital status, or mental or physical handicap.

Human Resources Specialist (Benefits), GS-0201-11

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

Incumbent serves as a Subject Matter Expert on the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA); and as a “WC Case Manager” who is involved in all facets of a case. This includes documentation of the injury/illness, encouraging early treatment, serving as a liaison with the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, monitoring rehabilitation progress, and facilitating return to work.

Performs in depth management and technical program work, that includes, program planning and evaluation of the workers’ compensation program. Prepares sensitive responses to correspondence concerning workers’ compensation for the Medical Center and acts as a liaison between the facility and the Department of Labor's Office of Workers Compensation Programs (OWCP) District Offices. Works with/provides guidance to persons and/or groups within and outside of the organization on complex Workers Compensations issues.

Provides the necessary information to help management/employees identify and clarify problems and issues. Develops short and long-range management plans for the efficient and effective operation of the organization. Develop agency-wide guidance material on the implementation of methods and procedures for workers’ compensation.

Conceptualizes, formulates, develops, and implements creative techniques to proactively manage the workers’ compensation chargeback with the goal of reducing and preventing unnecessary and costly expenditures. Serves as liaison with critical persons, and groups both inside and outside of the organization.

Researches and/or analyzes problems, issues, or program requirements. Provide analyses and advice to management, on complex program issues. Based on operations and changing program requirements, identifies relevant issues. Collects relevant information from many varied sources, some of which are difficult to access. Devises new analytical techniques to evaluate findings. Makes authoritative recommendations.

Develop policy for use in evaluating employee benefits or benefits activities, or functions related to the workers compensation program.

Reviews new or proposed workers’ compensation policies, procedures and guidelines and makes recommendations to supervisor on the need for changes in existing policies. Conducts reviews of new or proposed personnel policies, procedures and guidelines for impact on agency-wide personnel policies as it relates to the workers compensation program. Assists in the development of organizational strategies and plans. Assists in the development of new workers’ compensation policies, procedures and guidelines when the issues under consideration are new and have no applicable precedent or are highly controversial. Provides supervisor with interpretations of policy and procedures.

Studies appropriate directives governing the Federal Employees Compensation Act then compiles and analyzes findings. Prepares status reports that identify specific needs or problems and provides feedback to supervisor. Recommends actions that will improve the workers' compensation program and solve problems.

Assists in the development of new or proposed workers’ compensation policies, procedures and guidelines and makes recommendations on the need for new or modified policies. Develops new or revised personnel policies, procedures and guidelines for use throughout the organization as they relate to the workers compensation program. Recommend improvement in workers’ compensation policies, procedures, and practices. Recommendations made by the incumbent must comply with statutory and regulatory requirements.

Provide managers and employees with information and training on workers’ compensation. Provide agency management with interpretations of policy and procedures when the issues involved are new, highly controversial, precedent setting and/or involve more than one area of personnel policy. Reviews workers' compensation cases and performs fact finding as necessary to advise management officials. Provide advice on the preparation of disciplinary and adverse action, grievance and appeal letters. Comment on the soundness of the case by comparison to applicable laws and regulations. Provide adept advice in a manner that protects the government's interests.

Use judgment and originality to adapt guidance. Assess the impact of the case on agency practices. The incumbent serves as a technical expert on the program and responds to personnel program situations where there is the potential for serious impact on the agency's mission. Develop solutions to extremely complicated problems with potential to impact all employees or the entire personnel program for the organization as it relates to the workers’ compensation program.

Assist in the development of data concerned with workload and program accomplishments that are currently unavailable. Assists in the development of proposals/plans related to the implementation of the workers' compensation program. The problems to be solved are ones for which experience, data, and guidelines are very limited or point in conflicting directions, or the problem solutions are of special urgency or likely to be particularly controversial. Develops and monitors action plans related to the implementation of these development projects. Monitors progress and acts to resolve problems, which will delay the project, or to obtain necessary support for changes.

Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

The educational backgrounds of human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists vary considerably, reflecting the diversity of duties and levels of responsibility. In filling entry-level jobs, many employers seek college graduates who have majored in human resources, human resources administration, or industrial and labor relations. Other employers look for college graduates with a technical or business background or a well-rounded liberal arts education.

Education and training. Although a bachelor’s degree is a typical path of entry into these occupations, many colleges and universities do not offer degree programs in personnel administration, human resources, or labor relations until the graduate degree level. However, many offer individual courses in these subjects at the undergraduate level in addition to concentrations in human resources administration or human resources management, training and development, organizational development, and compensation and benefits.

Because an interdisciplinary background is appropriate in this field, a combination of courses in the social sciences, business administration, and behavioral sciences is useful. Some jobs may require more technical or specialized backgrounds in engineering, science, finance, or law. Most prospective human resources specialists should take courses in principles of management, organizational structure, and industrial psychology; however, courses in accounting or finance are becoming increasingly important. Courses in labor law, collective bargaining, labor economics, and labor history also provide a valuable background for the prospective labor relations specialist. As in many other fields, knowledge of computers and information systems is useful.

An advanced degree is increasingly important for some jobs. Many labor relations jobs require graduate study in industrial or labor relations. A strong background in industrial relations and law is highly desirable for contract negotiators, mediators, and arbitrators; in fact, many people in these specialties have law degrees. A master's degree in human resources, labor relations, or in business administration with a concentration in human resources management is highly recommended for those seeking general and top management positions.

The duties given to entry-level workers will vary, depending on whether the new workers have a degree in human resource management, have completed an internship, or have some other type of human resources-related experience. Entry-level employees commonly learn by performing administrative duties—helping to enter data into computer systems, compiling employee handbooks, researching information for a supervisor, or answering phone calls and handling routine questions. Entry-level workers often enter on-the-job training programs in which they learn how to classify jobs, interview applicants, or administer employee benefits; they then are assigned to specific areas in the human resources department to gain experience. Later, they may advance to supervisory positions, overseeing a major element of the human resources program—compensation or training, for example.

Other qualifications. Experience is an asset for many specialties in the human resources area, and is essential for advancement to senior-level positions, including managers, arbitrators, and mediators. Many employers prefer entry-level workers who have gained some experience through an internship or work-study program while in school. Employees in human resources administration and human resources development need the ability to work well with individuals and a commitment to organizational goals. This field demands skills that people may have developed elsewhere—teaching, supervising, and volunteering, among others. Human resources work also offers clerical workers opportunities to advance to more responsible or professional positions. Some positions occasionally are filled by experienced individuals from other backgrounds, including business, government, education, social services administration, and the military.

The human resources field demands a range of personal qualities and skills. Human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists must speak and write effectively. Ever-changing technologies and the growing complexities inherent to the many services human resources personnel provide require that they be knowledgeable about computer systems, storage and retrieval software, and how to use a wide array of digital communications devices.

The growing diversity of the workforce requires that human resources managers and specialists work with or supervise people of various ages, cultural backgrounds, levels of education, and experience. Ability to speak a foreign language is an asset, especially if working in an industry with a large immigrant workforce or for a company with many overseas operations. Human resources employees must be able to cope with conflicting points of view, function under pressure, and demonstrate discretion, integrity, fair-mindedness, and a persuasive, genial personality. Because much of the information collected by these employees is confidential, they must also show the character and responsibility of dealing with sensitive employee information.

Certification and advancement. Most professional associations that specialize in human resources offer classes intended to enhance the skills of their members. Some organizations offer certification programs, which are signs of competence and credibility and can enhance advancement opportunities. For example, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans confers a designation in three distinct areas of specialization—group benefit, retirement, and compensation—to persons who complete a series of college-level courses and pass exams. Candidates can earn a designation in each of the specialty tracks and, simultaneously, receive credit toward becoming a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS). The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) Certification Institute offers professional certification in the learning and performance field. Addressing nine areas of expertise, certification requires passing a knowledge-based exam and successful work experience. In addition, ASTD offers 16 short-term certificate and workshop programs covering a broad range of professional training and development topics. The Society for Human Resource Management offers two levels of certification, including the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Additionally, the organization offers the Global Professional in Human Resources certification for those with international and cross-border responsibilities and the California Certification in Human Resources for those who plan to work in that State and become familiar with California's labor and human resources laws. All designations require experience and a passing score on a comprehensive exam. The WorldatWork Society of Certified Professionals offers four distinct designations in the areas of compensation, benefits, work-life, and global remuneration that comprise the total rewards management practice. Candidates obtain the designation of Certified Compensation Professional (CCP), Certified Benefits Professional (CBP), Global Remuneration Professional (GRP), and Work-Life Certified Professional (WLCP). Certification is achieved after passing a series of knowledge-based exams within each designation. Additionally, WorldatWork offers online and classroom education covering a broad range of total rewards topics.

Exceptional human resources workers may be promoted to director of human resources or industrial relations, which can eventually lead to a top managerial or executive position. Others may join a consulting or outsourcing firm or open their own business. A Ph.D. is an asset for teaching, writing, or consulting work.

Employment

Human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists held about 904,900 jobs in 2008.

Human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists were employed in virtually every industry. About 13 percent of human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists were employed in administrative and support services, 11 percent in professional, scientific, and technical services, 10 percent in healthcare and social assistance, and 9 percent in finance and insurance firms. About 12,900 managers and specialists were self-employed, working as consultants to public and private employers.

Sources of Additional Information

For information about human resource management careers and certification, contact:

  • Society for Human Resource Management, 1800 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Internet: http://www.shrm.org

For information about careers in employee training and development and certification, contact:

  • American Society for Training and Development, 1640 King St., Box 1443, Alexandria, VA 22313-2043. Internet: http://www.astd.org

For information about careers and certification in employee compensation and benefits, contact:

Information on obtaining Human Resources Management Specialists positions with the Federal Government is available from the Office of Personnel Management through USAJOBS, the Federal Government's official employment information system. This resource for locating and applying for job opportunities can be accessed through the Internet at http://www.usajobs.gov or through an interactive voice response telephone system at (703) 724–1850 or  (703) 724–1850  or TDD (978) 461–8404 and   (978) 461–8404. These numbers are not toll free, and charges may result. For advice on how to find and apply for Federal jobs, download the Insider's Guide to the Federal Hiring Process” online here.

Sources:

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition; and
  • Office of Personnel Management, Position Classification Standards.

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