In the “olden” days of human resources, even before it was called human resources, there was no specific degree for entry into the field. Most people “fell in to” the profession. As the profession changed and took on greater importance a degree program developed at universities and people became “degreed HR”. That gave them some business education and has allowed the profession to move along the “business partner” agenda. But today the world has gotten much more complex. As a result I think there are three degrees that HR should consider hiring specifically for the HR department in order to help master this complexity.
With the growing importance of social media and the ever changing nature of people and society the science of sociology has taken on a new importance. Marketers in particular have been paying attention to sociology for some time. Perhaps it is time for the business of human resources to do so as well. Sociology is a social science which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity, structures, and functions. Graduates of the degree come prepared to deal with data and behavior.
I think it would make sense today for large companies to have a sociologist on staff in addition to the talent manager, the compliance expert and the employee relations specialist. At a minimum HR degrees should include courses in sociology.
In the era of “big data” companies, especially large companies, need to pay attention to the information that is being collected on employees. Data on recruitment, retention, and performance are often important to the decision making process in HR and help make strategic decisions. Unfortunately many HR professionals wouldn’t know a multiple regression analysis if it bit them in the butt. So why not hire someone who can crunch the data, interpret it and make it useful.
As I say in a webinar that I have given, much of social media use is about creating a great consumer, aka your employee, experience. As social media takes on a greater importance in recruitment, onboarding and training in HR it would behoove HR to have someone on staff that understands about getting a message across that resonates with candidates and employees. There is so much for HR to learn about marketing that it would be smart to have that knowledge in house rather than having someone trying to learn it on the fly.
There is one issue with idea. Let’s face it. HR doesn’t have the greatest reputation for creating career advancement. So attracting people with these degrees may take some work. You will have to design a job that has some appeal.
What other degrees do you think would be a good match with the HR department of the future?