About HR Generalists

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Like many of those they help hire, HR generalists fill a vital employment niche that requires the ability to perform a number of complementary tasks a specialist normally would not undertake, but which are vital for the smooth execution of recruitment. Just as a generalist scientist is expected to have multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary capabilities and interests, an HR generalist will have a sufficiently well-developed grasp of multiple and interrelated aspects of key recruiting processes.

Such generalist skills are the perfect and essential complement to the skill sets of HR specialists, and provide critical support in the recruitment environment for staff who may be neither and for applicants and candidates during the vetting process.

Among the specific skills required of them, HR generalists are expected to have strong organizational and people skills, as well as an eye for detail.

An HR generalist, whose job duties are quite diverse, is required to not only manage and multitask various jobs, but also to have a diversified skill set. As a summation of the importance of the job, it has even been described as the "central glue" of the whole organization.

Most organizations prefer that the HR generalists have at least a bachelor's degree. Although the type of degree is not that crucial, the more common degree programs among HR generalists are social sciences, human resources, business administration (with the focus on HR management), management and communications. In addition, candidates with HR-related work experience and basic computer skills are generally preferred. They should also have a good knowledge of local employment regulations and practices.

While there is no definite job description, the HR generalist's job responsibilities can be generally described as follows.

* Recruitment
* Manpower planning
* Updating personnel files and employee status changes
* Staff-related administrative matters
* Managing employee relations
* Conducting employee satisfaction surveys and exit interviews
* Reviewing annual performance reviews
* Developing and implementing the organization's HR policies and procedures

In the course of his or her work, the HR generalist often has to be sensitive to and aware of the needs and desires of other employees in the organization, while also maintaining an impartial stance, especially when communicating and explaining the rationale behind some of the policies of the organization. Sometimes, when there are competing demands from either side, the professionalism and skills of the HR generalist will play an instrumental role in ensuring a mutually-acceptable outcome.

Within human resources (HR) departments, there are HR assistants, HR supervisors, HR managers, HR generalist and other HR staff. The generalist performs general HR duties that can include the development of the human resources function, recruitment duties, managing performance issues that are related to the department, handling logistics and travel issues, developing relations with other departments, preparing documents and conducting employee orientations.

The individuals who work in a generalist capacity are able to multi-task effectively and accept impromptu assignments. These individuals also have the ability to move from one task to another and back to the previous task in a manner that is seamless and effective. An assignment may involve preparing job descriptions for posting on the company's Intranet and on external website. Within the same day, other duties that are not connected to each other may also need to be performed efficiently. Hence, people in this role should be able to handle a variety of duties and associated requirements.

Other duties that are associated with this role include the provision of employee counseling and support services, developing benefits and compensation packages, informing new hires of their orientation requirements, facilitating employee sessions and meetings, organizing wellness sessions for staff and providing human resources related employee communications and information.
The position may report directly to a human resources manager or supervisor. Where applicable, supervision of junior human resources staff may also be appropriate. Coordination skills are essential for this position, including the ability to remember how one task is to segue into another. Organizational skills are also crucial, to ensure that pending tasks are identified and gaps in the processes are filled efficiently.
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