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Develop Your Expertise with Our New HR Master’s Program

By Allison Philips
Senior Copywriter and Edge Contributor

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world of work in unprecedented ways, from forcing more employees to work remotely to ushering in The Great Resignation. This term, coined by Texas A&M organizational psychologist and professor Anthony Klotz, has been used to explain the vast number of workers who have chosen to retire from the workforce or change their jobs in the past few years.

“The Great Resignation mirrors a deep dissatisfaction of employees’ previous employment experiences. The ongoing pandemic has empowered workers to rethink their career choices, working conditions, work-life balance and long-term goals. People are an organization’s greatest asset and need to be treated as such. Continual hiring and training are expensive to an organization and disrupt the flow of business,” states Dr. Jill Fuson, the University’s department chair of Entrepreneurship, Hospitality and Human Resources.

The Great Resignation Has Left Many Businesses in Turmoil

U.S. workers said goodbye to their jobs in massive numbers in 2020. Employees were first affected by the health-related restrictions and layoffs of the pandemic, but the rate of resignations later grew to unprecedented levels during 2021. Employers couldn’t keep up with demand, unemployment plummeted and the economy became an employees’ market.

Related link: The Great Resignation: Transforming the Lives of US Workers

“I expected The Great Resignation years ago when people first started talking about artificial intelligence in the workplace,” states Dr. Marie Gould Harper, Dean of the Dr. Wallace E. Boston School of Business. “Fast-forward to the pandemic and over the course of 18 months, people worked remotely and have had time to reflect on their lives. When things started to open and some employers refused to acknowledge employees’ desire to work remotely, workers’ concerns about COVID-19, and the work environment’s safety, people just said goodbye.”

In the second half of 2020, more than four million workers quit every month. The wave of resignations left businesses scrambling to recruit employees and offering signing bonuses, higher salaries, and better benefits.

In addition, employers began incentivizing current employees with retention bonuses and pay raises to retain their workforce. HR professionals now find themselves navigating a completely different landscape as employers compete for employees in a shrinking talent pool.

Related link: Redesigning Company Culture in the Post-Pandemic Workplace

How Human Resource Professionals Will Help Reinvent the American Workplace

The American workforce is reinventing themselves, and that change will require a new kind of HR workforce. Dr. Fuson stresses, “The HR role has expanded due to the COVID-19 pandemic by renewing the focus on employee satisfaction. Many organizations went into crisis mode trying to figure out how to keep employees safe, satisfied and efficient.

“Today, there is a new normal for work environments and the role of HR has changed fundamentally. HR is still responsible for efficiency, productivity, and performance, but they must also support other employee challenges such as physical health, mental health, and financial wellness.”

It’s also clear that human resources employees must gain leverage with the C-suite to strategize and better serve employees to sustain future company growth. Dr. Harper notes, “It’s more than just gaining information about HR. The goal for HR professionals should be getting a seat at the table with the executives and the C-suite within an organization. You have to ask yourself what productivity and the ability to turn a profit look like because you have no production when you don’t have the people.

“HR has to create plans to recruit people who are really not there and operate at a strategic level as far as branding the organization is concerned. How do you say you have something that no one else has or you are the best fit for employees?”

What Our New Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management Offers

To assist HR professionals in navigating the new demands of the employment landscape, the University is now offering a new online master’s degree in human resource management (HRM).

Our new online degree for human resource management is designed to broaden awareness of HR and how integral it is to company strategy and the bottom line. “To be credible in today’s organizations, one must understand how HR functions intertwine with an organization’s mission. Our degree allows students to acquire a broad understanding of business concepts such as marketing, accounting and finance,” states Dr. Fuson.

“An MA in HRM is a relevant credential for organizations needing guidance with complex labor laws and employee retention as well as and diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies. This program is versatile and designed for professionals with HR experience or transitioning into the field.” 

In addition, our master’s in human resource management also aligns with the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) human resource curriculum.

As the world continues to adapt to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, new trends are emerging in HR as the field transforms itself. While the challenges for HR are many and varied, there is also room for innovation.

“An organization’s successful future depends on its workforce. It is extremely important to concentrate on employees’ skill sets. HR must be forward-thinking in training, policies, and employees’ job satisfaction as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives,” asserts Dr. Fuson.

“This is an exciting time in the world of work. I think what is happening is what needed to happen,” adds Dr. Harper.

Allison Philips has over a decade of experience covering education, financial services, technology, travel, and healthcare industries. Her work has appeared in campaigns for clients such as AARP, Audi, Bloomberg BNA, Blue Shield, Burger King, Citibank, Marriott, Oracle, American Military University, and American Public University.

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