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HR Generalist Vs HR Manager

Human resources (HR) generalists and managers do perform some of the same tasks, but HR managers oversee operations, including what an HR generalist does. Find out how these HR careers are similar and different.

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Comparing HR Generalists to HR Managers

Human resources (HR) generalists and managers function in similar capacities to manage the new and current employees in an organization. However, HR generalists focus on the day to day tasks of HR departments, while HR managers oversee what all HR personnel do, including HR generalists. Keep reading for more about how these careers are interconnected.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2014-2024)**
HR Generalist Bachelor's degree $51,919 5% (for all human resources specialists)
HR Manager Bachelor's degree $64,255 9%

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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  • Human Resources Development
  • Labor and Industrial Relations
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Responsibilities of HR Generalists vs. HR Managers

HR generalists and HR managers both work in an HR office or department to ensure that all employees are properly hired, situated, and managed. However, HR generalists focus on the day-to-day details and tasks within HR, such as taking care of recruiting and implementing programs. They, like other HR specialists, usually work in an office. HR managers are in charge of the full HR department and spend their time acting as an HR representative to other departments within an organization. They usually work in offices during normal business hours.

HR Generalist

HR generalists are in control of many facets of an HR department. They are skilled in helping new hires get situated and trained. They are also often in charge of maintaining safety procedures as well as employee training. They usually report their activities and observations to the HR manager. Since they are knowledgeable about the daily happenings of employees, they are often called on to advise the rest of an organization about employee communication.

Job responsibilities of an HR Generalist include:

  • Managing the recruitment process
  • Administering payroll and benefits
  • Answering employees' questions regarding pay, policies, duties and benefits
  • Working with HR information systems
  • Maintaining employees' personnel records

HR Manager

HR managers oversee the functioning of an HR department as well as involve themselves with functions relating to the administration of an organization. They act as a liaison between employees and the management of an organization. They meet with organization leaders to help with strategic planning as well as make sure the HR department is doing its job as far as hiring new workers. They ensure that each new employee is placed in the position that is best suited for their talents and skills. HR managers usually stay in an office, but if they work for organizations with many different locations, they may travel to attend meetings and visit branches.

Job responsibilities of an HR Manager include:

  • Overseeing benefits programs
  • Handling employee disputes and complaints
  • Coordinating what generalists and other specialists do
  • Managing regulatory compliance

Related Careers

For those interested in what an HR generalist does, a role as an executive assistant does might be beneficial, because both careers involve managing many daily tasks to help an organization function properly. Anyone who likes the idea of becoming an HR manager might also consider becoming a certified office manager because both involve overseeing daily operations in an office.

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