The HR Generalist: 5 Generalizations to Live By

Funny enough, one of the fastest growing specialists in the Human Resources field is no kind of specialist at all – but the HR Generalist. 

Take a look at this list of Primary Objectives as listed on

It’s not a bad start for understanding the position, but as you’ll see, it also a list that’s changing quickly. Growing your HR Generalist position is not always easy, almost certainly requires stepping on some toes and pays off big when it’s done right.

These are the five most important supplements to the list above. Like any augmentation, some parts will fit in large measure, and others need to be squeaked in, and in pieces, before the benefits start to take shape. They also require the HR Generalist to actively seek out partners in all different areas of your organization.

1) Branding the Employee-Focused Organization

From the first meeting, your brand should be evident. Exceeding expectations early means working with marketing, or your Brand Leader. Potential employees are one thing, but you’ll be surprised how many companies put their reputation right in the toilet within two weeks of EVERY NEW HIRE. Your already dedicated people can be a terrific help in understanding your brand – and in improving it. They’ve learned benefits and the process of enrolling, and the pitfalls that aren’t apparent. The HR Generalist needs to take a long look at how the brand is represented throughout this entire process.

2) Communication

Many HR Generalists will come from communications backgrounds. “Employee experience” has leaped to the foreground not only as organizations have become more complex and in need of better explanations. But as employees have gotten harder to hold onto, so too the process of administering the complex packages of benefits and rewards has gotten tougher. There’s good reason to have some branding background too when communications are this important.

3) Culture

Culture is the key to consistent messaging, message and the messengers too. Connectedness is every bit as important and it’s culture that results. Culture also results from expectations being met, exceeded and renewed. Unifying big global organizations takes identifying and highlighting common values and common methods at least as much as throwing parties and mentioning names.

4) Information

Transparency and technology should go together. The organization that is hiding something from most employees is probably going to be surprised. Employees not only know more than they should, but accordingly, they also do not, and will not trust an organization that lies to them. Employee portals and open books are not just the wave of the future, they’re really the only way to be in business today. Creaking, Addam’s Family-style businesses have an uphill battle. The HR Generalist needs to be involved in every cloud and to learn and see exactly how employees are using the cloud. Integrating the brand, the message, the culture and the values across the cloud is just one more area to get good at.

 5) Development

The HR Generalist can’t be seen as stealing employees from one area to another, but is an active participant in the growth of the organization. Personnel need to grow just like products, product lines or services and employees stuck in one position will look for growth somewhere else. That’s at a tremendous cost to any organization. In general, the HR generalist must be able to see the big picture and assist and facilitate the movement of people intra-departmentally.

Doing less than that always results in the loss of more talent and a greater cost to the organization as a whole.



Photo this page: Argonaunts Rowing 1925 © Wikimedia Commons by John Boyd

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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