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Susan M. Heathfield

Do HR Leaders Need Degrees?

By May 11, 2014

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Are you interested in advice about a Human Resources degree? Not sure whether it's unemployment or early planning, but my email is filling up with requests for school recommendations and requests for a list of the best classes to take in an HR program. Common also throughout the year are requests for dissertation and masters thesis topics.

I do what I can to help, but each reader is an individual with their own needs and opportunities that may differ based on where they live. So, I usually recommend that they follow these steps for a better understanding of the HR field and opportunities in HR where they live.

My current list of topics to consider for papers, since it seems as if everyone's professor wants an up-to-the-minute topic studied, are: telecommuting and other flexible schedule working arrangements, work-life balance initiatives, performance management instead of appraisal, employee wellness, diversity, and rising health benefits costs plus the implementation costs and requirements of ObamaCare.

My ongoing recommendations also include how to make HR more strategic, how and what to measure in workforce talent management and in the HR department operations and contributions, and HR business planning.

HR Leaders and Degrees

An additional topic surfaces every year, too. The question is:

Do HR leaders need degrees? I vote on the yes side of this question because the field has become more competitive and looking at the colleagues with whom HR staff interact these days, most have degrees.

In fact, in my last service as an HR Director, the executive team that I worked with had three people with MBAs, three with Masters Degrees, and four with Bachelors degrees in their respective fields: marketing, IT, computer science, and quality management.

I don't want HR staff less educated than their peers. But, many of you disagree with me. So, take a moment and vote in my poll. I am curious, year-to-year, if the tide of opinion is changing.

Poll: Do Human Resources Leaders Need a Degree?

Image Copyright Peter Chen

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