Give Thanks for HR Generalists

little bit of this and a lot of that.  Sound familiar?  If so, you
are probably a Human Resources Generalist or have been one in the past. 
Negotiating the company’s medical insurance renewal in the morning and then
darting off to give an employee orientation a few hours later.  Arguably,
Generalists are the most overused and under-appreciated members of the Human Resources Profession.  Generalists wear
multiple hats including but not limited to recruitment, payroll, HRIS, benefits,
performance appraisal, employee relations, compensation, training, holiday
party planning, flu shot clinic coordinating…okay you get the idea!

do these people not go off the deep end you may ask?  Good question. 
Most of them are very good at multi-tasking and are experts at
prioritizing.  The smaller the company, the more the HR Generalist has to
do and know.  Most are very attune to what’s happening in local and
federal government.  Many stay on top of legal news by subscribing to
numerous attorney email blasts.  A new law passed?  Yeah, we got your
email Mr. Attorney…yours and the ones from the 800 other law firms that just
downed our servers.  Oh, and SHRM too, of course…every Monday around
midnight when you send our iPhones dinging as we’re settling in for the

the peaks and valleys of a hectic schedule is absolutely essential to being
successful as a Generalist.  You have your “tasky” type work that takes up
a majority of your time and then during the down times you can work on project

what’s the draw to becoming an HR person who at the end of the day is not sure
which direction is up?  It’s been said by many that the best place to
start your HR career is as a Generalist.  It helps establish a broad HR
knowledge-base and serves as a jumping-off point for either pursuing a career
in HR leadership or zeroing-in on a specialization like benefits, employee
relations, HRIS,
etc.  However, there is a healthy number of people who are Generalists
throughout their whole career—especially those who work for smaller companies
where mobility is limited.  Another benefit to becoming an HR Generalist
is that you have the opportunity to make a measurable difference to your
organization and its employees—you can see the work you’ve done.  You
hired that person.  You helped them enroll in benefits.  You helped
your company save a ton of money by shopping different benefit plans.  The
impact a Generalist has can be far-reaching and measurable.

year—serve yourself a little extra turkey if you’re an HR

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