HR Generalist: Why Your Company Needs One

HR Generalist: Why Your Company Needs One

It’s useful to have employees that can specialize in one particular area or responsibility, but it’s also important to have someone who can take a more holistic view of an organization and its employees. That’s where the HR generalist comes in.

HR generalist reviewing applications on writing notes on journal

An HR generalist is someone with a wide range of knowledge and experience in human resources. They’re not just good at one thing, they’re good at everything. This makes them an essential part of any company, as they can fill in when someone is out sick or on vacation, and they can also help to oversee the entire HR process.

So, why do you need an HR generalist? Let’s take a look at some of the key reasons.

Who is the HR generalist?

Before delving into why your company needs an HR generalist, it’s important to understand who this professional is and what they do.

Simply put, an HR generalist is a human resources professional who specializes in all areas of HR, from recruiting and onboarding to training and development. They provide support to the entire organization by ensuring that all HR processes and programs are executed effectively and in compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

What’s an HR department?

Most companies have an HR department, which is typically led by a human resources director. The HR department is responsible for all aspects of employee management, from recruiting and hiring to terminations and everything in between.

The HR generalist is a key member of the HR department and plays a critical role in ensuring that the department operates effectively and efficiently.

HR generalist key responsibilities

The HR generalist is truly fluent in all things human resources and is responsible for a wide range of key duties and responsibilities.

hr generalist onboarding new hire

As outlined by SHRM, these responsibilities are:

  • Review, track, and document compliance with mandatory and non-mandatory training, continuing education, and job evaluations. This may include safety training, harassment prevention training, professional licenses, and proficiency testing and certification.
  • Encourage recruitment, interviews, and recruitment of qualified applicants for the job category. Work with the department head to understand the skills and abilities required for the job category you are looking for.
  • Perform or purchase employee background checks and proficiency checks.
  • Hold a new employee orientation and employee award program.
  • Perform daily tasks necessary for managing and operating a human resources development program, such as compensation, benefits, and vacations.
  • Disciplinary action; dispute and investigation; performance and talent management. Productivity, awareness and morale; work-and health protection; as well as education and training.
  • Respond to employment-related inquiries from applicants, employees and superiors and escalate complex issues and confidentiality to the right employees.
  • Attend and participate in disciplinary meetings, dismissals, and employee investigations.
  • Comply with federal, state, and local labor laws and regulations and recommended best practices.
  • Review policies and practices for maintaining compliance.
  • Maintain knowledge of trends, best practices, regulatory changes and new technologies in the areas of talent development, talent management and employment law.
  • Perform other tasks as assigned.

Clearly, the HR generalist is a person of many talents — but they don’t have to handle all of these alone. Usually, the HR generalist is backed by a team of HR professionals who each specialize in an area of HR themselves.

Why you need an HR generalist running your department

An HR team is going to be highly effective on its own, but it will be even better with an HR generalist at the helm. This individual is a jack of all trades, and they know how to wear many hats. They can take care of everything from onboarding new employees to handling terminations. They are also great at handling employee relations issues.

interviewing applicant for hr job

So, why should you add an HR generalist to your team? Here are a few reasons:

  1. They can wear many hats. As mentioned previously, an HR generalist is great at covering all bases with their extensive knowledge. They can take care of onboarding, benefits administration, and even terminations.
  2. They have a strong understanding of employee relations. An HR generalist knows how to handle delicate issues with employees, which is a truly valuable skill. They can help mediate disputes, handle harassment allegations, and also conduct investigations.
  3. They are great at training employees. When it comes to onboarding new employees, an HR generalist is your best bet. They can provide new hires with the necessary training and orientation to help them succeed in their role.
  4. They are up-to-date on the latest laws and regulations. An HR generalist stays completely up-to-date with all the latest laws and regulations that affect the workplace. This ensures that your company is compliant with all applicable laws.
  5. They are great at problem-solving. When it comes to HR, there are always going to be problems that need to be solved. An HR generalist is great at coming up with creative solutions to these problems. They are also great at thinking on their feet.
  6. They have a strong people skills. Finally, an HR generalist is great at working with people. They have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, which makes them the perfect candidate for an HR role.

But if you’ve already got people who specialize in different areas of HR, what do you need an HR generalist for?

coworkers decide on how to improve hr department

When it comes down to it, the HR generalist isn’t going to be taking anyone’s jobs or doing the work of an entire team. They are simply a way of knitting the team together, filling in the gaps, and ensuring that all bases are covered.

Additionally, an HR generalist can help to take on some of the more administrative tasks within the department, freeing up other team members to focus on more strategic work.

How to find an HR generalist

If you’re ready to step up your HR game and start seeing real results in your workplace, it might be time to hire an HR generalist. But how can you find the right candidate for the job?

The first step is to make sure you understand what an HR generalist does. This role is responsible for overseeing all aspects of HR, from recruiting and onboarding to performance management and employee relations. So, if you’re looking for someone with a lot of experience in a specific area of HR, you might be disappointed.

Instead, look for someone with a well-rounded background and strong people skills. They should be able to wear many hats and take on whatever challenges come their way. And they should be excited to tackle new projects and develop innovative solutions.

Once you’ve identified the key qualities you’re looking for, it’s time to start your search. The best place to start is with your network of contacts. Ask around and see if anyone knows of someone who might be a good fit for the role.

employee looking at laptop for schedule

If that doesn’t yield any results, there are plenty of other places to find qualified candidates. Try job boards, professional associations, or social media sites like LinkedIn.

No matter where you find them, make sure to screen candidates thoroughly before making a final decision. Ask them about their experience in HR, their approach to problem-solving, and their goals for the role. And be sure to ask them for examples of times when they’ve gone above and beyond to solve a problem.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find an HR generalist who is excited to take on the challenges of the role and help your company reach its goals.

Onboarding an HR Generalist

Once you’ve hired an HR generalist, it’s important to onboard them properly. This process should include a detailed overview of their job duties and expectations, as well as a training program that will help them learn the ropes.

The goal is to set the new employee up for success and help them hit the ground running. So, take the time to create a detailed plan and make sure everyone involved knows their role in the process.

The onboarding process should include the following elements:

  • A job description that outlines the employee’s responsibilities and expectations.
  • A training program that covers the basics of HR, from recruiting and onboarding to performance management and employee relations.
  • Ongoing support and feedback from their manager and other members of the team.
  • Regular check-ins to ensure the employee is meeting all expectations and has everything they need to be successful.

The onboarding process can be time-consuming, but it’s worth the investment. By taking the time to set your new employee up for success, you’ll help them reach their full potential and make a valuable contribution to your team.

Final thoughts

No matter how talented your HR team is, it cannot cover all the bases by itself. You need an HR generalist to provide broad-based support across the entire employee lifecycle. From recruiting and onboarding to development and retention, this individual can ensure that your company is getting the most out of its workforce.

successful onboarding on employee hr generalist

An HR generalist can also help you stay compliant with ever-changing regulations. By keeping up with the latest changes, this individual can help you avoid costly fines and penalties.

Ultimately, an HR generalist is a valuable member of any organization. They provide essential support to the HR team and help ensure that your company is running efficiently and effectively — and really, there’s nothing to lose by having one on board!