VP of Human Resources Career Guide
When an HR department is effective, we feel it right away––we feel it in the health, security, and joy in each team and division.
And when an HR department is under-supported, messy, or ineffective we also feel it right away! We see it in the form of delayed paychecks, compliance issues, and structures that make little sense.
VPs of Human Resources set the tone for the employee experience, safety, and long-term health of entire organizations.
A VP of Human Resources is responsible for the effective operations of an organization’s human resources department. They support those within the department, as well as CEOs, COOs and other C-suite leaders in big-picture planning for an organization.
They are key players in a company’s executive structure, often reporting to the CEO, and sometimes carrying the title of Chief HR Officer, or Director of HR.
A VP of human resources is part of the executive team in an organization, and works closely with other VPs and directors to prioritize business goals, employee retention, and effective organizational structure.
They often lead a team of HR professionals focusing on the areas of organizational policy, recruitment, compliance, employee relations, performance, and benefits.
Expected duties include:
- Lead the HR department. HR departments are made up of lots of different types of roles, such as benefits and payroll specialists, diversity and inclusion leaders, HR business partners, HR managers, and more. It’s the responsibility of the VP of Human Resources to understand each of these roles and ensure the department is contributing to their organization’s overall goals.
- Compliance. Human Resource VPs ensure the correct interpretation and implementation of federal and state labor laws, OSHA, EEO, compensation and payout requirements, pension plans, taxes, and any other laws regarding employees. They must have respect for confidentiality and compliance setups. It also commonly falls to the VP of Human Resources to handle any disciplinary actions, terminations, or lay-offs. This is especially true when dealing with employees in senior positions.
- Policy writing. HRVPs oversee the contracts between an organization and its employees, partners, vendors, and contractors. They are also experienced in writing policies for company HR commitments including hiring, firing, and workplace complaints. They have experience implementing non-compete agreements, confidentiality, and compensation structures, all ensuring the goals and interests of an organization. Employee handbooks are likely written by the VP of HR and their team.
In order to become a vice president of human resources, you’ll need a competitive degree and substantial work experience that demonstrates progression and commitment in the field of HR.
Most competitive applicants in an HRVP pool have completed a bachelor’s of science in business administration, with a specialization in human resources. A BSBA in HRM teaches the fundamentals of understanding an organization’s structure and the HR department that you would oversee as a VP. An intimate knowledge of HR’s diverse functions is required.
Pursuing a BSBA in HRM also allows HRVP hopefuls to have exposure to hands-on learning experiences, projects, and to network for industry connections.
Alongside HR work and volunteer experience, you do need a degree to qualify for VP of Human Resources roles. Those looking to be competitive in their applications would benefit from an advanced degree like an MBA or MS in management and leadership. A BSBA in HRM is the best place to start, giving you the foundational knowledge you need to begin a career in HR or to continue your career path at your current organization.
There is no required certification for a vice president of Human Resources, but as with most VP and executive positions, advanced training and continued education in your field will set you apart when seeking a high-level and highly competitive role.
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.
No need to wait for spring or fall semester. It's back-to-school time at WGU year-round. Get started by talking to an Enrollment Counselor today, and you'll be on your way to realizing your dream of a bachelor's or master's degree—sooner than you might think!
A VP of Human Resources is responsible for setting, enforcing, and evaluating HR policies, procedures and best practices. In order to do this, they need a set of skills that range from analytical, to technical, to empathetic.
VPs of HR will be expected to have a long-term mindset of company HR goals, and step away from the more of the day-to-day responsibilities HR departments manage. They need to be excellent delegators, communicators, and mentors to their teams as well as cross-divisionally.
In a mock job description by the Society of Human Resource Management, they’ve listed some of the most commonly required skills for a vice president of human resources:
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
- Excellent interpersonal and conflict resolution skills.
- Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail.
- Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
- Strong supervisory and leadership skills.
- Thorough knowledge of employment-related laws and regulations.
- Knowledge of and experience with varied human resource information systems.
- Proficient with reporting and organizational software.
How Much does a VP of Human Resources Make?
The average base salary for a VP of Human Resources is $138,808, according to Payscale. This does not include bonus benefits such as commissions or shareholding, which are common for a vice president position. Base salary can vary depending on industry and the size of the organization you work for.
What is the Job Outlook for VPs of Human Resources?
Human resource roles are projected to grow 6%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with continued openings for HRVPs. Growth opportunities can vary by industry, based on the overall health of that field, but many VP opportunities will come from the need to replace senior workers as they exit the workforce.
How Long Does it Take to Become a VP of Human Resources?
Most human resource VPs complete their education in 3-7 years, depending on whether or not they have pursued an advanced degree. From there, they may work in HR generalist roles, as specialists in diversity and equity, benefits, or other specific HR fields. They will then advance into HR management positions before becoming a director or VP. Typical applications for a VP of Human Resources ask for roughly 10 years of HR experience.