In today’s continually evolving business climate, “human resources” means a lot more than simply compensation and benefits.
To be successful, a human resources manager must have the talent- and performance-management skills that are now an integral part of any organization’s business plan. Employers are looking for leaders with broad-based business knowledge and specialized skills in human resources — leaders who realize that recruiting, developing, managing, and retaining top talent to align human resource capabilities with organizational goals is a strategic imperative.
Drawing upon the expertise of its suite of master’s degree programs, Clark’s School of Management (SOM) has created an online, part-time master’s program in talent management and human resources (MSTM). Designed for the working professional who wants to advance their career, the program addresses the emerging challenges in talent management combined with a focus on human resource skills.
“This new specialized master’s degree program in talent management and human resources provides the skill set sought by human resource professionals and talent managers who wish to deepen their knowledge, skills, and education in the field to advance to new career paths and levels by expanding their experience in current or new areas of specialty,” says Alan Eisner, dean of SOM.
The flexible, fully online structure of the MSTM accommodates working professionals and fits well into existing SOM master’s programs, which deliver high quality instruction in a rigorous academic experience, Eisner notes.
The program aligns with Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) competencies such as business acumen, communication, consultation, critical thinking, ethical practices, cultural effectiveness, leadership and navigation, and relationship management. SHRM’s model helps organizations ensure that HR professionals are proficient in critical knowledge affecting employee issues and practices.
“The MSTM program was developed in consultation with experts in the human resource field to prepare students to become strategic business professionals with specialized expertise in leading and managing talent effectively in today’s global organizations,” says Andrea Aiello, associate dean of SOM.
“Coursework integrates the most up-to-date research and human resources best practices to give students skills to become strategic business partners who can align human resource policies and practices to achieve organizational talent and business goals,” she says.
Diane T. L. Santoro, former executive vice president of human resources at Public Consulting Group (PCG), was a key contributor to the program’s curriculum and is a current Clark faculty member. She believes the program is well designed to impart specific HR skills as well as employee management competencies with courses including Talent Management, Organizational Leadership, Talent Acquisition and Diversity, and Corporate Social Responsibility.
“The MSTM will appeal to a broad audience of ‘people managers’ by providing quantitative as well as qualitative talent management skills – key areas that allow HR managers to be effective at the leadership table during strategic business discussions and planning,” says Santoro.
The program provides talent management skills employers are looking for, including employee management, labor relations, compensation and benefits, organizational development, and performance management, in addition to business management tools like strategic planning, performance analytics, and resource administration, Santoro notes.
The field of human resources is one of the fastest growing in the U.S. with employment expected to grow 7 percent by 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Massachusetts is in the top 10 states for the highest employment levels in Human Resource Management (HRM). High growth industries and sectors that are especially predominant in Massachusetts, and the Northeast Region — including healthcare, technology, bioscience, pharmaceutical, and academia — continue to have high demand for human resources professionals.
“The online, asynchronous delivery format is appealing to prospective students because it offers them the flexibility to pursue a degree program while they manage their professional responsibilities,” says Aiello. “By knowing how to communicate effectively, manage ethically, and bring strategic vision to a diverse workforce, human resource professionals and talent leaders are key links between management and employees.”