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What is it like working in HR?

A was browsing a list of careers on the internet, and I came across Human Resources. It definitely sparked my interest, so I did some more research. I could really see myself going into HR, but i would like a little more information. For example, what does a typical day consist of? Do you make enough to live comfortably? Is working in HR stressful? Do you have a good work- life balance? #helping-others #human #social-work #college #business #human-resources

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John’s Answer

Ramsey every company has got its own human resource department that handles every employee problem related to job satisfaction and productivity. It also handles various policies and money-related tasks to ensure that at the end of the day, the company gets benefited from the business. So the human resources career is not a piece of cake. The demands of working in HR are considerable. Working with people is completely different from working with machinery. There are no set directions or instructions for working with people, so HR employees will have to develop their own methods of adjusting and managing the difficulties that arise on the job. The working demand of the job is huge. There is no simple set of equations or list of instruction that can help you in dealing with problems related to humans.


Human Resources covers a broad set of job duties, ranging from recruiting to development to benefits management. While you may be able to work in a variety of business fields after earning an HR degree, there are also good options available solely within the realm of HR. Once you are employed, there is plenty of room for career advancement in human resources, both upwards and laterally. You may find careers in training, compensation, or recruiting, or expand upwards to an executive level. You may also choose to become an independent human resources consultant, helping companies through transitions or solving specific organizational problems.

HUMAN RESOURCES ANALYST • The average HR Data Analyst II salary in the United States is $64,500 as of July 27, 2020,
Human resources analysts are responsible for analyzing data in the human resources department. They work as part of a team and recommend suggestions on employee changes, productivity and compensation. They analyze salary and benefit plans to ensure employees are working at their best while also keeping costs under control. They typically work in an office setting and use computer programs to collect, analyze and apply their data findings.

HUMAN RESOURCES SPECIALIST • The average Human Resources Specialist, Benefits salary in the United States is $64,900 as of July 27, 2020
Human resources specialists focus on finding, interviewing, and hiring employees. They are responsible for handling benefits and compensation questions that employees may have. They review information regarding potential candidates and decide if they will be a good fit for the company. They pay close attention and listen to ensure they are hiring the best applicant for the job, and also use strong communication skills to provide information to candidates about the company.

TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST • The average Training Specialist II salary in the United States is $74,500 as of July 27, 2020
Most training specialists join human resources departments as entry-level college graduates and move into specialist roles with 2-5 years of experience and additional training. These professionals usually work in comfortable office settings. However, travel between offices may be necessary. Jobs are typically full-time during normal 9-to-5 business hours. The skills required for a career as a training specialist include strong verbal and written communication, leadership, interpersonal, analytic and assessment skills. Most entry-level training jobs require a bachelor's degree at a minimum. Some colleges offer bachelor's degree programs in adult education and training or human resource training and development. These programs hone in on subjects related to training, such as adult learning, human development, teaching methods, and educational psychology.

LABOR RELATIONS SPECIALIST • The average Labor Relations Specialist II salary in the United States is $80,000 as of July 27, 2020
Labor relations specialists often work in the human resources departments of organizations. They serve as liaisons between management and workers, helping to resolve disputes or overall breakdowns in communication. They negotiate wages, conditions and benefits. They can help companies avoid litigation, work on collective bargaining accords and handle complaints. The nature of this work often provides a stressful environment. Knowledge of labor or employment law and familiarity with the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act is usually required. A bachelor's degree is also essential, typically in labor and employment relations, and a master's degree may be helpful for career advancement or required by some employers.

BENEFITS & COMPENSATION SPECIALIST • The average Benefits & Compensation Specialist salary in the United States is $82,000 as of July 27, 2020
Aspiring human resources compensation and benefits managers can reach industry competence benchmarks by obtaining compensation certification from relevant professional associations. To begin a compensation certificate program, students must have either significant professional experience or a bachelor's degree in human resources or a related field. Programs feature fields of study in compensation strategy and design, benefits administration and health plan management. Courses are designed to teach HR specialists to set and administer competitive and equitable employee compensation packages. This includes determining salaries, health insurance, raises, bonuses, retirement and other benefits.

Ramsey most extroverts enjoy and draw energy from various social interactions with all kinds of people, and they also like to take action and get things done. Human resources is a great career field for these personality types, since human resources is responsible for overseeing all activities related to the employees of an organization.

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Manish’s Answer

Hi Ramsey

Human Resource, as the name suggests is a stream that deals with people. Human Resource is a job where there are no definite or right answers as it has to do with people. Every person is different from the other. There is no one solution that will work for everyone. Here are some of the tasks that someone in human resource department has to work on.
• Preparing policies on employee benefits and welfare.
• Listen to employee challenges and concerns. Take feedback and appropriately factor into policies.
• Work with managers to review workforce and talent mix and plan for future.
• Talent building and management – identify current skills, groom and develop workforce for future needs.
• Get involve into conflicts between management and employees and help to solve it.
• Advise managers on policies like equal employment opportunity and sexual harassment.
• Define programs for onboarding new employees, employee orientations and exit formalities.
• Hiring and recruiting which includes interviews, reference checks and background checks.
• Work with managers on salary, bonus and rewards allocations.
• Work with managers for any disciplinary actions and procedures.

Hope this helps.

This was very helpful! Thank you so much! Ramsey P.

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Kristen’s Answer

Hi Ramsey,

I love my job in HR and my job is a little more unique than most! I work in Diversity, Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility. I have been with this team for seven years and have had many different roles within the team.
- I first started as an engagement Specialist doing associate events. This role was tied to the associate experience and corporate culture. I LOVED IT!
- I then became a Project Manager overseeing many of our Diversity and Inclusion initiatives.
- I am now beginning a new role managing our Foundation which includes all of our corporate giving (philanthropy) and volunteering.

Hope this helps and good luck to you!

Thank you so much! Ramsey P.

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Steffany’s Answer


I agree with each response. HR will cover the spectrum from hire to retire, so it’s about finding what you are passionate about.

I have been in the HR field for nearly thirty years, holding many different positions from generalist to specialist type roles, and all with the same company. “What is a typical day?” The best way to answer that question is “Every day is different”.

As you consider your options, I’ll share what HR has meant to me:
• It continually changes;
• Can make a difference in the lives of others;
• Builds leadership skills;
• Enables diverse thinking and collaboration; and
• Is highly rewarding.

There will be times you have to have difficult discussions, and work long hours, yet it’s all worth it!

Thank you so much! Ramsey P.

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Jackie’s Answer


John, Manish and Ally did a great job of outlining the different specialties of Human Resources. You now need to do the research to determine what specialty is right for you. The demand for professionals in this field is vast as every company has an HR department and service companies like mine also have HR consultants that help HR professionals within companies. While each specialty handles different aspects of the overall role of Human Resources within a company you will find smaller companies may have one person handling more than one of the specialites. You asked about a typical day or the stress level of the job but as others have said people can be unpredictable and life events get in the way of typical.

Let me share how my company, ADP's, HR department is helping during this pandemic. They worked hand and hand with other internal departments to rapidly deploy a global workforce from working inside office building to working from home. They helped take phone calls from our client who looked to us for guidance on everything from compliance, legal, to how to transition their employees. Not their typical role, very stressful situation but vital given the circumstances.

As with every job, you will find it rewarding if you love what you do but there will be time of stress and times when it does interrupt your work life balance.

I wish you much luck in your career search.

Thank you so much! Ramsey P.

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Ally’s Answer

Hi Ramsey,

Thanks for the question! As a Human Resources professional who has worked in both generalist and specialist roles of HR, I will tell you that it can be different for each company. Human Resources are known to be the as the title indicates, resources for the employee. It can range anywhere from benefits (healthcare, PTO, compensation) to payroll or policies and procedures (employee handbook). There are several different core parts of what makes up Human Resources but primarily it includes Talent Management/Acquisition and Total Rewards (Compensation/Benefits) and finally Employer Relations. I would say that if you truly like to help others, this might be the field for you! Every day is different in Human Resources and I can say that it will definitely keep you on your toes.

Ally recommends the following next steps:

If interested, you can browse the SHRM website which is the Society for Human Resources Management.

Thank you so much! Ramsey P.

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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Ramsey,

Human Resources describes a wide and diverse set of field. Most roles are around the hiring and support of employees throughout their careers at an employer. At my company, you have anything from hiring managers, to people who find and support various benefits, to labor relations, and learning and development. I believe that the single mission of this diverse set of roles is support of the employee. The roles can vary through the time in that role as well. There are roles that specialize in onboarding, day to day work life of employees, payroll, through to retirement.

I am in Learning and Development, which is usually referred to as Training. I have created training for new hires or continuing education training for those who want to get even better at what they want to do or promoted to do something else. It is a rewarding field, helping someone to be the best version of themselves at work through education efforts.

Work - life balance is often dependent on the person. I work for an employer where the work load is often determined by what you can handle. And most of the people that i know who do not have a work - life balance have made that choice for themselves. They take on too much work that they know little about or commit to unrealistic deadlines. Some people just like to work more. From time to time, everyone has to work a long day or the occasional weekend as deadlines get close or change. It is normally an exception rather than the rule. You should be aware of your own limitations and set reasonable boundaries for yourself in any job you take, including HR.

Financially, my experience has been that most HR roles pay enough to have a good life. As in anything, specialization can mean a bit more money. Also moving up into leadership roles would also result in more pay. A college education improves your likelihood of getting a higher paying job as well, although it does not guarantee that. You still need to be good at whatever role you choose to take.

I hope that you will take a closer look at roles in HR. Look for something that plays to the strengths that you already have. Make sure that once you have chosen a path, learn as much as you can.

Good luck,

Thank you so much! Ramsey P.

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Kimberly’s Answer

Hello! I absolutely love working in HR! I started out my career obtaining my degree in psychology, then transitioned to and Industrial and Organizational Psychologist to now an HR Representative. For some of your questions asked above, it depends what kind of area of HR you want to go into. You could be a Specialist focused on one field of HR or a Generalist focusing on multiple areas at the same time. As outlined in other comments above, there are more details regarding each.

A typical day in HR for me is checking my emails, creating a priority list as to what needs to get done and working to accomplish those tasks. More specifically, I have worked with analytics, recruitment, creating new projects to assist employees, a whole range of tasks! Depending on the company you work for and the type of HR position you want, your day wont be exactly the same. There is variety to each day; some days more stressful than others depending on the tasks to be completed that day.

As for the living comfortably question, again it depends on which position and which company. Majority of HR individuals do receive enough to live comfortably. If you wish to obtain your Masters in HR, it will benefit you even more if you are looking for that higher paycheck. Plus, the trend in HR to stand out as a valuable candidate is a Masters Degree and experience working with HR Analytics.

Lastly, HR can be stressful, depending on the tasks. Benefits and Compensation is known to be the more difficult area of HR however, each area has its own positives and negatives. For me, I love being in HR that I do not find it as stressful compared to someone who does not enjoy this profession. Also, I do find it easy to maintain a work-life balance. No matter what profession you are looking to go into, there will be days where you work some weekends or nights. This will not be all the time. My advice is to make your boundaries clear and create a priorities list every morning before starting the day.

Hope this helps and good luck with your HR career!

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Mansi’s Answer

They may also handle employee relations, payroll, benefits, and training. Human resources managers plan, direct and coordinate the administrative functions of an organization. HR specialists tend to focus on a single area, such as recruiting or training. HR generalists handle a number of areas and tasks simultaneously.