Have you been thinking about starting a career as a Human Resource Specialist and don’t know how or where to begin?
The first step toward becoming an HR specialist is to learn more about the role and what is required.
Once you’ve learned what an HR specialist does, decide if following this career path is right for you.
Below we provide essential information on what it’s like to be an HR specialist and a few pros and cons of doing the job.
Keep reading to learn if becoming an HR specialist is the right career pathway for you!
Table of Contents
- What is a Human Resources Specialist?
- Human Resource Specialist Job Duties
- Pros of Being a Human Resources Specialist
- Cons of Becoming a Human Resources Specialist
- 14 Pros and Cons of Being a Human Resources Specialist – Summary Table
- Should I Become a Human Resources Specialist?
What is a Human Resources Specialist?
Today’s Human Resources Specialists are the lifeblood of many HR departments and integral team members.
We can find HR specialists working in businesses of all sizes.
Almost every company will need a dedicated HR team as their business begins to scale and they hire more employees.
Human Resource Specialists work in a multi-faceted role in most human resources departments.
The job duties of an HR specialist include (but are not limited to) some of the following tasks.
Human Resource Specialist Job Duties
HR specialists assist with finding the best employees for open positions within a company.
They are responsible for analyzing each job to create relevant job descriptions posted on popular job boards and company websites, where potential employees begin recruitment using Applicant Tracking Software.
Hiring New Employees
Today’s Human Resources Specialists manage the recruiting process from start to finish.
Recruiting new employees means that once they have posted job listings and interviewed potential candidates for jobs, they also provide hiring and onboarding support for new hire employees through paper-based and automated applicant tracking systems.
Managing Employee Benefits Programs
Once employees are hired, HR specialists are tasked with ensuring they are paid their agreed-upon wages and providing access to employee benefits programs through phone and website applications or employee portals.
Training and Development Programs
Many HR specialists create or select the content presented in new hire training and existing hire development programs.
These programs give employees vital skills for carrying out the everyday tasks defined in their job description.
Payroll and Compensation
HR specialists are famously known for ensuring everyone on their payroll list is paid and compensated for the correct hours worked and wages.
They also resolve payment issues and assign salaries.
Legal Compliance and Regulation
The HR team is responsible for ensuring all employees, contractors, and service providers comply with ever-changing and dynamic local, federal, and state employment laws.
Managing Employee Conflicts
Some HR specialists consider managing tons of employee conflicts as a downside, while others consider it as a learning opportunity.
Mediating and resolving employee conflicts according to company policy encompasses a large part of the HR specialist’s role.
Pros of Being a Human Resources Specialist
#1. – People Oriented Role
If you love interacting with people on a day-to-day basis while solving complex issues and fostering a positive work environment for many employees, then you’ll love taking on the role of HR specialist.
HR specialists spend most of their time directly or indirectly influencing employee-related decisions at companies of all sizes.
#2. – Career Growth and Expansion Opportunities
Entry-level HR specialists and those considering becoming an HR specialist will be happy to learn that there are unlimited opportunities for advancement when you take on this integral people-oriented role.
As employee rules, regulations, and standards continue to change, so will the part of HR specialists who can apply their human resources skills across a wide variety of related disciplines throughout their careers.
#3. – Direct Impact on Organizational Success
Research shows that happier employees contribute to more satisfied customers in most workplaces.
HR specialists are crucial in implementing employee rules, policies, and compensation programs that can make or break employee morale.
Dedicated HR specialists can tremendously impact organizational success through the rules, regulations, rewards, and policies they implement.
#4. – Lifelong Learning Opportunities
As long as you’re in the field of HR, you can be assured that you will always be learning.
For example, today’s HR specialists are learning how to manage the thousands of remote employees created within the past few years.
They are also learning how to implement distance-based services for counseling and telehealth as part of employee compensation and benefits packages.
#5. – Unlimited Problem-Solving Opportunities
If you’re someone who loves to solve unique and complex problems, then working as a Human Resources Specialist may be just the career for you.
HR specialists are presented with a wide variety of novel, challenging, and complex issues for which they must find or create a solution daily.
Savvy HR specialists can find workable solutions to almost any problem.
#6. – Shaping Company Culture
HR specialists play a vital role in shaping company cultures through the compensation packages, benefits, perks, and policies they implement.
Many of today’s employees are demanding more from their employers than just traditional compensation.
Human Resources Specialists foster and shape the work environments and policies that directly contribute to company culture.
#7. – Networking Opportunities
As HR professionals, generalists, specialists, and other key employees are often invited to attend company trainings, events, and meet and greets where they can rub elbows with key people within the organization.
This networking opportunity can lead to career advancement and key roles for HR specialists who want to grow and try out a variety of different roles within thriving companies.
Cons of Becoming a Human Resources Specialist
Becoming a Human Resources Specialist definitely has its rewards for today’s HR professionals who are up for the challenge.
There are also a few downsides for HR professionals who manage employee conflicts and balance the needs of the business.
Keep reading to learn about some of the downsides reported by HR professionals already working in the field.
#1. Managing Employee Conflict
If you purposely avoid conflicts at all costs, becoming an HR specialist may not be the best career choice for you.
HR professionals must mitigate employee conflicts whenever they arise and are often the last point of contact for disgruntled and unhappy employees.
The rules and regulations surrounding employment laws are ever-changing.
This means that dedicated HR specialists must stay abreast of “all” of the latest employment-related news, regulations, laws, and compliance standards and follow up by communicating relevant changes in policy to managers, employees, and business owners.
#3. – Heavy Workload During Peak Times
Working in HR can be an extremely taxing job.
This is especially true for new specialists coming into companies with a history of dissatisfied employees and high turnover rates.
This can be challenging for HR specialists who fill high-stress roles in call centers and retail operations where turnover is high.
#4. – High-Stress Work Environment
At first glance, it may not appear that working as an HR specialist is high-stress.
However, the stress becomes apparent when you add in the weight of developing fair and attractive employee compensation and benefits plans along with mitigating employee arguments and disputes while maintaining legal compliance.
#5. – Hiring and Firing Responsibilities
Making hiring and firing decisions can seem like a dream — until you’re faced with the prospect of firing one of your longest-running employees.
HR specialists are often tasked with hiring new employees and preparing them for training in their new roles.
On the flip side, they also have to deal with the unpleasant realities that come along with escorting one of their favorite team members out of the building — after they’ve had to fire them.
#6. – Emotional Toll
Working for the good of others with no outlet of your own can begin to take its toll after a while.
Human Resources professionals should be aware that they need to have ways to decompress and de-stress as they take on the frustrations and upsets of employees, management, and higher-ups and then deal with the tasks of taking care of themselves and their family issues after working hours.
#7. – Managing Expectations
Nothing is more frustrating for a human resource professional than being unable to deliver on a promise.
Today’s HR specialists must manage the expectations of what they can deliver to employees and keep the interests of legal compliance and the employer at heart.
Managing employer, employee, and company expectations can be a slippery slope for HR specialists who would like to feel more empowered when it comes to managing the expectations of their colleagues.
14 Pros and Cons of Being a Human Resources Specialist – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Human Resources Specialist||Cons of Becoming a Human Resources Specialist|
|#1. - People Oriented Role||#1. Managing Employee Conflict|
|#2. - Career Growth and Expansion Opportunities||#2. - Effectively Navigating Legal Compliance|
|#3. - Direct Impact on Organizational Success||#3. - Heavy Workload During Peak Times|
|#4. - Lifelong Learning Opportunities||#4. - High Stress Work Environment|
|#5. - Unlimited Problem Solving Opportunities||#5. - Hiring and Firing Responsibilities|
|#6. - Shaping Company Culture||#6. - Emotional Toll|
|#7. - Networking Opportunities||#7. - Managing Expectations|
Should I Become a Human Resources Specialist?
Now that you’ve learned more about the pros and cons of becoming an HR specialist, is the career path right for you?
If you’re a person who loves to solve complex challenges and can easily switch gears between complex administrative tasks, then you may want to consider becoming an HR specialist.
The role of a Human Resources Specialist can be both challenging and rewarding.
Most people who take on this role start with or learn to develop a thick skin and how to balance employee and company needs with ease.