The field of human resource management is evolving. HR employees and the HR department as a whole are critical to the success of any organization. What is appealing about the career path is working with people and focusing on their development. As an HR manager, you are a critical part of the team and key to the morale of an organization.

A graduate degree in human resources helps expand your professional network and prepares individuals for various roles within an organization. Modern businesses need employees with versatile skills. Professionals with HR knowledge can move into many different roles, including key positions that help drive successful business strategy.

Recruiting, training, and retaining top employees have always been crucial to long-term business success. Close collaboration with HR experts helps executives and managers match the right people to organizational roles.

For motivated students ready to take on more challenging positions in the HR field, Merrimack College offers Strategic Human Resource Management as a concentration option in its hybrid/online Master of Science in Management program. The curriculum focuses on essential aspects of management as they apply to HR, including:

  • Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Human Resource Analytics
  • Aligning Strategy, People, and Performance

Students can also complement the HR concentration with courses in organizational leadership. These two concentrations combined can serve as a pathway into a career in HR and leadership, opening the door to some lucrative employment opportunities.

A Degree for HR Jobs Fills Critical Need

McKinsey & Company refers to HR specialists as “business partners” who collaborate with hiring managers and executives, ensuring they recruit the right people to execute business strategy. There is now a more concentrated effort on making effective talent management and practices part of HR.

McKinsey suggests that businesses can benefit by having designated people in HR assigned to talent recruitment and retention advisement. They call for at least one position in HR that does not have operational responsibilities but works purely on strategy.

More recently, McKinsey also reported that in Europe, more people-centric policies are becoming popular and are better received than policies focused entirely on productivity metrics. Businesses want to foster creativity and innovation to attract and develop talent and optimize workforce performance.

With a renewed focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, creating a DEI-focused workplace welcomes the perspectives of people of different races, ethnic backgrounds, and genders. These strategies are essential to creating a more dynamic and inclusive work model collaboratively.

Important Skills Learned in Graduate Programs Focused on HR Practices

HR professionals provide value in all types of organizations across all industries. By managing the recruitment process and filtering applicants down to those who meet the needs of the job, they save managers many hours of legwork. HR specialists also have the expertise to understand the best methods for recruiting, training, and retaining employees.

An industry-experienced faculty at Merrimack College teach the MS in Management Program’s specialization in Strategic Human Resource Management. The expert instruction expands students’ knowledge and skills in essential HR disciplines.

The courses within the concentration expose students to HR issues facing organizations today, focusing on how HR experts play a critical role in achieving business objectives. Students study offer negotiation, implementing an effective DEI strategy, team building using analytical data, and strategic leadership skills. With these concepts in hand, graduates emerge equipped with the knowledge to meet daily challenges as they arise. As skilled HR management professionals, they will play a critical role in building collaborative teams.

Courses focused on leadership, business communications, technology, and business strategy further enhance the HR concentration. The degree confers upon each student a well-rounded approach to their profession.

Forecasts project continued growth in HR leadership roles will continue into the near future. A degree specializing in strategic human resource management is the first step toward success in this challenging and changing career field.