HR is responsible for the company’s human resources, which includes overseeing hiring and managing employee relations. HR is also involved in preparing employees to work with new technology by providing them with necessary training or coaching on how best to use it appropriately. These tasks include conducting benefits training sessions such as retirement planning programs, insurance seminars and COBRA guidance that will help the company retain quality employees.

Human Resources Degree Online Bachelor’s in HR Business Administration Concentration

Recruit top talent for a tech startup. Visit job fairs on college campuses. Help improve benefits packages for large firms. This online HR program will help you support the teams that help businesses succeed.

“HR professionals are partners with the business,” said Deborah Gogliettino, SNHU’s associate dean for human resources. “[This is valuable] for the organization and for the person doing the job.”

The specialized HR degree program combines your business education with the fundamentals of human resources. You’ll learn about employee safety, labor relations and the management of a global workforce. These skills can help set you apart when pursuing your HR career.

This business degree with a concentration in human resource management is aligned with the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. A leading HR organization, SHRM helps define education standards taught in college business schools by establishing and reinforcing new HR standards recognized and respected by organizations across industries. These industry standards can help professionals learn and apply HR principles in the workplace.

By building upon the online business degree program, this specialized human resources management degree concentration explores how businesses operate. “Your job is to build the workforce," said Gogliettino. "And in order to understand how, you have to understand the organization.”

Flex your way to an online HR degree

Kristin Galvin said the flexibility of online classes at Southern New Hampshire University made it possible for her to earn her human resources degree concentration while balancing a full-time job and family priorities.

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment for human resources specialists will grow by 10% through 2030, which is faster than the national average for all occupations. 1 Likewise, jobs for human resources managers are projected to grow at a similar pace of 9% in the same time period. 1

Many of these jobs require an entry-level education of a bachelor’s. To help prepare you for success in your field, our specialized online human resources degree emphasizes the use of human resource skills to improve organizations. You’ll gain the skills needed for entry- and mid-level roles in the growing HR management field.

"My original attraction to the HR program was for advancement with my current employer," said student Nicole Thompson. "I thoroughly enjoy working for the company but wanted to take advantage of opportunities in efforts of avoiding stagnancy."

"You don’t need to be headed to the HR department to benefit from this degree program," said Melanie Rowe ’18. "A degree in business administration with a concentration in HR prepares you for a leadership role in any department. It teaches you how to manage an organization’s most important resource – people."

"If you’re someone who is unsure what career path you would want to follow, I would recommend to use your resources and speak to your admission team at SNHU," said Dinovincent Frangiamone ’20. "They will provide you with some career coaching, which will assist you to determine what career path is most suitable for you."


In short, public service is a human activity. Much of the work that public servants do, whether it is public education, delivery of the mail, provision of fire or police protection, public transportation, the maintenance of parks and recreation facilities, or the provision of social services, defies effective mechanization. Public service cannot function without human agency. This observation carries at least two significant implications that I want to explore. The first (that I have alluded to) is, to risk stating the obvious, it is imperative that we manage public employees well.

I do not wish to say that there is never a need for reform or that all proposals are ill considered. We should be looking constantly for ways to improve the practice of public administration. Problems do arise that require adjustments to public personnel management systems. But reform efforts should emphasize contemporary management and HR thought/theory stressing intrinsic motivations, especially for the professionalized employees of the sort that government has. Instead, however, we more typically have reforms that emphasize control, prohibitions, and extrinsic incentives. As a consequence, merit systems of public employment are under attack.


In essence, common approaches to public sector reform are assaulting core concepts associated with merit systems, and politicians are often leading the charge. This happens because, as noted, rules and restrictions found within merit systems place limitations on managerial discretion, and the additional layers of personnel system red tape result in delays and inefficiencies in employee recruitment, selection, management, and retention. Political leaders who seek reform are interested in finding ways of correcting what they see as the excesses of traditional centralized personnel systems. They want to “let managers manage” and simultaneously enhance political control of the bureaucracy (Nigro and Kellough Reference Nigro and Edward Kellough 2000).

Many of the reforms proposed as part of the new public management/reinventing government movement beginning in the 1990s typified this experience. The reforms were, in part, based on ideas associated with the concept of “reengineering” that had previously been popular in the private sector (Peters and Waterman Reference Peters and Waterman 1984; Champy and Hammer Reference Champy and Hammer 1993; Obolensky Reference Obolensky 1994). The underlying premise was that organizational efficiency and effectiveness can be significantly improved by streamlining procedures, empowering managers to make more decisions at their levels in the organizational hierarchy, and focusing on results rather than process. I would argue, however, that process matters—especially in the management of public employees—and that process can be positively associated with results. The manifestations of civil service reform have appeared in a number of ways, but much attention was, and is, paid to the implementation of performance management programs (including pay-for-performance schemes), the decentralization of personnel authority, and the elimination or reduction of merit system protections for public employees. Let us consider these reforms in turn.

Pay for Performance

Pay for performance is an old idea, but a truly problematic procedure for performance management. The logic underlying the concept can seem compelling. It simply requires that we give larger pay increases to those employees who are the best performers (assuming, of course, that pay raises are available). Those who do not perform well will get smaller increases or no increases. The argument for this approach is that it will motivate marginal performers to improve their productivity while good performers gain satisfaction from the knowledge that their efforts are recognized and rewarded. The most commonly implemented form of pay for performance, known simply as merit pay, requires that individual employee performance (which is usually based on a supervisory rating) be used as the basis for adjustments to individual pay.

These results suggest that merit pay systems are not effective mechanisms for motivating public workers, yet politicians and other observers are reluctant to abandon them. They have symbolic value as strategies to hold “bureaucrats” accountable or make them earn their keep. Inevitably, however, pay is limited, and the subjective nature of the performance appraisal process, which provides the foundation for the system, leads to employee distrust. Supervisors know this problem. Typically, most workers are rated slightly above average to minimize dissent, and most employees receive pay increases similar to what they would have received without the reform. But resentment builds because employees are told they will receive higher pay if they perform well.

One argument often heard for continuing the practice in government is that it is successful in the private sector, but the literature reveals that businesses have problems similar to those in the public sector (Kellough and Lu Reference Kellough and Lu 1993; Bowman Reference Bowman 2010). In fact, Seejeem Park and Francis Berry concluded in a recent study that pay for performance “became a management fad that offered a popular solution to an ongoing problem of employee rewards that diffused from the private to the public sector in spite of evidence that it was not highly successful in the private sector” (Park and Berry Reference Park and Berry 2014, 778). Park and Berry argue that pay for performance is “an example of policy adoption based on myth rather than fact” (Park and Berry Reference Park and Berry 2014, 763). Merit pay requires us to expect more from an imperfect and subjective employee performance appraisal system than that system is able to deliver (Kellough Reference Kellough and Riccucci 2012; Mosbergen Reference Mosbergen 2015).

The Decentralization of Authority

Turning to our second reform, I will argue that serious problems can arise also from the broad decentralization of authority for public sector human resources management—a popular idea that places authority and responsibility for personnel procedures in the hands of line administrative agencies while simultaneously reducing or eliminating oversight functions performed by a central personnel management agency. The most troubling problem associated with this form of decentralization is that we cannot be certain that employees in distinct governmental units, each operating under its own license, will be treated similarly when they are in similar circumstances. This is a simple matter of equity. If agencies are given authority for the classification of positions, for example as many have, how can we be certain that jobs with similar responsibilities or duties are treated similarly, especially when there is no centralized oversight or review? In the rush to reform, this is a question that is not often raised.



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