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Human Resources Generalist Career Guide

How to Become an HR Generalist

TA company’s human resources (HR) department works to satisfy current employees while identifying and screening potential new hires. HR generalists serve as the backbone of any successful HR department, whether they’re recruiting new employees, planning employee compensation and benefits packages, or implementing new health and safety protocols.

As an HR generalist, you will work to ensure that your company’s workforce is equipped for any challenges it might face. On some days, you will find yourself involved in hiring new staff members to complement your existing employees. On other days, you might spend time creating and implementing policies that assist in your company’s workflow.

If you’re someone with a passion for communication and employee management, the role of an HR generalist will serve as a compelling career option.

Man writing on notebook at computer

What Is an HR Generalist?

An HR generalist fulfills virtually every human resources task, whether they are auditing employee performances, hiring new staff, processing benefits packages, or enforcing new or existing company policies. Through developed communication skills, you will ensure that all company employees have the tools they need to succeed.

HR generalists do not need a specialized degree. Typically, a relevant undergraduate degree is sufficient to qualify an HR generalist for hire, in addition to any required certifications.

What Does an HR Generalist Do?

HR roles have evolved since the department first became necessary for many businesses. An HR generalist is required to complete a variety of tasks. Operating with a full understanding of corporate policies, HR generalists identify and satisfy human-related business needs, whether that means releasing an employee or mitigating employee conflicts.

  • Hiring new employees that can complement your existing workforce.
  • Completing employee background checks during the hiring process.
  • Releasing employees who no longer fit the company’s vision.
  • Deciding on employee compensation and benefits packages.
  • Handling employee issues and helping to satisfy conflicts between individual employees, or between employees and their employer.
  • Training new and existing employees on any new procedural changes.
  • Maintaining company compliance with all federal and state regulations.
  • Creating and integrating employee appreciation programs that recognize staff members who make exceptional contributions to the workplace.

These and other tasks keep human resources generalists busy, as they work to equip a company's employees with the tools they need.

What Education Does an HR Generalist Need?

Aspiring human resources generalists have a few educational benchmarks to clear before entering the HR industry. Most importantly, you will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in human resource management or a closely related field.

Your undergraduate degree will go a long way toward improving your candidacy for hire as an HR generalist. As you work to obtain your diploma, you’ll learn indispensable skills including employee management, conflict resolution, project management, and employment law.

Human Resource Management – B.S. Business Administration

A SHRM-recognized online business degree program:...

A SHRM-recognized online business degree program:...

A SHRM-recognized online business degree program:

  • Time: 65% of graduates finish within 36 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,720 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Human resource specialist
  • Director of talent acquisition
  • Recruiting manager
  • Organizational learning specialist
  • Vice president of HR

Earn your B.S. in Human Resources and help build strong organizations.

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HR insurance meeting

What Skills Does an HR Generalist Need?

To perform all of their responsibilities, HR generalists require certain skills. These skills will help you remain attuned to the needs of current employees while you continually search for new individuals who can contribute to a company’s long-term vision.

The exact skills that an HR generalist needs can include:

  • Employee management: The ability to effectively guide all employees toward optimal performance benchmarks by connecting them with all of the resources they need to find motivation and success each day.
  • Interpersonal communication: The ability to correspond effectively with fellow HR team members, employees, and executives.
  • Conflict resolution: The ability to mitigate conflict on behalf of any employees experiencing issues.
  • Staffing: The ability to hire new employees, facilitate successful new employee onboarding procedures, and release employees whenever necessary.
  • Teamwork: The ability to work alongside fellow HR staff members to collectively complete projects and provide a variety of human-related needs.
  • Technological proficiency: The ability to successfully use all necessary pieces of technology, including any computers, tablets, phones, online tools, and human information data collection methods. 
  • Problem-solving: The ability to creatively solve any issues that companies or their employees are facing.
  • Data analysis: The ability to analyze and draw conclusions from data trends present in a company’s employee operations.
  • Reporting: The ability to create user-friendly reports that aggregate information sourced from HR information systems.

How Much Does an HR Generalist Make?


The exact income of an HR generalist can depend on a variety of factors including your employer, employer’s location, years of experience, education, and obtained certifications.

On average, the salary of an HR generalist is $55,154, with a range of roughly $42,000 to $72,000 earned each year.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


Employment of human resource employees is expected to grow 7% from 2019 to 2029, a growth rate faster than the average across all occupations. As companies continue to rely on human resource departments to facilitate staffing, implement policies, and create benefits packages, the outlook for HR generalist roles should remain positive.

Some companies have also begun to outsource their human resource responsibilities to third-party HR providers. However, the role of an HR generalist itself is still secure, as long as businesses rely on HR employees to implement policies that accommodate all local, state, and federal regulations

Where Do HR Generalists Work?


Human resources generalists need to continually understand their company’s needs so that they can create and implement human-based solutions. This need typically requires that you work onsite at your employer’s place of business — in an onsite human resources department — maintaining availability whenever employees need you.

Every single type of industry needs HR generalists. Large and small businesses, nonprofits, governments, schools, hospitals—every single company requires HR departments to help them succeed. As an HR generalist you will likely be able to find a position in any type of organization that you want


Interested in Becoming an HR Generalist?

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