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The Difference Between HR Generalist and HR Manager

The Difference Between HR Generalist and HR Manager

Though they both belong to the Human Resources Department, there is a difference between HR Generalist and HR Manager, mainly in terms of their roles and responsibilities. HR Manager is probably one of the most important parts of an organization. He or she runs a complete department that comprises of a group of people or a whole team working together on different duties, roles and responsibilities whereas HR Generalists are basically entry-level employees in the HR Department of an organization. They typically work hand in hand with their employers.

Whether your company is big, medium or small, someone needs to be responsible for taking care of all the human resources needs if you want your company to continue operating well. Usually though, in larger companies or organizations, the employer or the management would have to divide the job responsibilities among different employees of different levels such as generalists, managers, and directors. Now let’s take a closer look at the difference between HR Generalist and HR Manager in terms of their position level and roles to gain a better understanding of what they do in and for the organization.

Importance of HR Generalist vs HR Manager

Since the HR Generalist has ample knowledge and should be able to communicate well with the employees regarding all the aspects of the HR needs of an organization, the HR Manager would then typically be the link between the employees and the senior management of the organization.

On one hand, HR Generalists (HRG) monitors staff turnover and logistics to find out when and where new employees need to be hired whereas the HRM is in charge of planning, creating and executing strategies for HR management and HR development. The HRG should be familiar with how many employees are required in each department so that if any are missing, steps can immediately be taken to complete the different departments on the contrary the HR Manager would have to oversee the overall administrative needs of the organization and lead the team which is in charge of implementation of all policies. They may also be in charge of supervising the generalists and provide advice or consultation in terms of hiring new employees.

One of the more important responsibilities of the HRG would be to ensure the personal and professional development of all the personnel and employees in the organization. This would involve activities such as employee orientation, training, and development but an HRM is in charge of planning, creating and executing strategies for HR management and HR development.

For smaller organizations, the HR Manager is typically the only person in the whole department and is in charge of all the different roles. He or she is responsible for establishing and maintaining the appropriate systems needed for measuring any and all aspects of the development of the HR Department. On the other hand, HRG would also be in charge of the welfare, safety, health, wellness, and counseling of the employees. He/she could be involved in the development and execution of any and all policy documents and handbooks which will be referred to by the other personnel.

A big part of the communication which happens inside a company is typically generated by the HR Department and the HRG plays a very important role in this aspect. The HRG is one of the key members in the process of making decisions when it comes to employee communication and would be the one who will come up with the content which would be disseminated to the employees.

Difference between the duties of an HR Generalist and HR Manager

HRG is typically involved in the performance management process. They would have to work closely with senior or management level employees within the organization whereas The HRM The HRM keeps track of, measures and reports any and all HR concerns, opportunities and plans for development and achievement all within the agreed upon timescales and formats.

The HRG may also be required to create and develop a good system for compensation and benefits which would fit right into the HR responsibilities of the organization. The benefits and compensation systems for the employees is essential and it has to be developed very well. On the other hand, The HRM is responsible for managing and developing staff for direct reporting. He/she would also be in charge of managing and controlling any expenditure within the department so that they are sure to stay within the allotted budget.

Expectations from HRG vs HRM

Although an HRM is responsible for holding communications with other departmental or functional heads to be able to get a good understanding of all relevant aspects and needs of the HR Department. This is done to ensure that they are always fully informed and updated of all HR goals, objectives and achievements on the other hand an efficient HRG must be able to find, analyze and finally present any relevant information well so that everyone in the organization would be able to understand it, whether it would be the highest ranking members of the organization or the lowest ranking ones.

  • The HRG would also have to be very systematic, organized and efficient especially when it comes to solving problems and managing or filing the employee database or employee systems and the HRM is supposed to maintain knowledge and awareness in terms of all the most current HR developmental theories and techniques so that they will be able to provide the correct interpretation to everyone within the company.
  • Since the HRG would be dealing with and communicating with almost all of the employees in all the levels of the organization, he/she must have above average to excellent communication skills. In contrast to HRG, HRM is in charge of planning and executing training of higher ranking employees such as senior managers. He/she would also have to maintain good contacts with outside trainers and other useful resources.
  • The HRG must also be able to comprehend legalities in terms of business laws which are related to human resources and employee/employment rights. He/she would also have to know how to apply these laws and legalities in the daily work, the welfare of the staff and when creating company policies and other such documentation. Comparing with HRG, HRM contributes to the evaluation and development of HR strategies and performance along with the executive team in the organization. He or she makes sure that all the activities and events in the organization meet all requirements for quality management as well as safety, health and environmental policies.

Difference in Qualifications of HRG vs HRM

As you can see, the HRG may be an entry-level employee in the company but he/she should still be educated with a degree level since a lot of roles and responsibilities are involved. Other qualifications may be required; including previous HR experience, depending on how big the company is and how many employees would have to be handled in the organization

Computer skills are very important for HRG so that he/she would be able to work with any kinds of software. The fact is, different organizations use different kinds of software, which are basically similar so knowing the computer basics would really be very helpful on the other hand being an HRM, one must have higher academic credentials and high level of managerial skills as compared to any other profession in an organization. To reach at a senior level position in HRM, you must have two year or four managerial degrees with advanced computer skills.

Other miscellaneous difference between HRG and HRM

The most important role of the HRG would be to start and lead any HR practices and goals which would provide an employee-oriented environment. This would then lead to a culture of high performance which focuses on empowerment and productivity of the workforce. Now let’s move on to the higher level position, which is the HR Manager.

This is done to determine the needs in terms of staffing, come up with and create job opening postings, review resumes from applicants and conducts the initial interviews and other duties which are considered to be “basic tasks” in the whole department.

From recruiting new employees for the organization, doing research on potential benefits for the employees, filing all employee paperwork with state and/or federal agencies and organizing and preparing all the year-end tax paperwork, the HR Department is basically in charge of a majority of the administrative needs of the organization whereas aside from staffing and recruiting logistics, the HRG helps in the development of the organization and improvement of current management systems.

He/she would be in charge of employment and compliance of employees to regulatory concerns. HRG is usually part of committees in charge of enhancing employee relations, facilitating company-wide events and other similar activities and

The Hierarchy in the Organization

When it comes to larger organizations, HR generalists are usually found at the bottom of the organizational hierarchy but HR Managers are right above them in terms of the job level or position. Some generalists perform all the entry level functions along with other administrative functions while others have additional responsibilities within the department.

On the other hand, HR managers are in charge of more responsibilities and communicate with higher ranking members of the organization aside from all the other employees. Now that you better understand the difference between HR Generalist and HR Manager, you can assign the right people in your organization.


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