The person that I interviewed was Vicky Young, who works right here at York College ofPennsylvania.
York College, is a private college for the liberal arts, and may be a private college,but it is as inexpensive as a public college. It has been growing by great numbers in the lastcouple of years, and with that has come many new obstacles. As the Human Resource BenefitsSpecialist at York College Miss Young has to deal with the different complications that comeVicky Young has worked for York College for the last year and seven months. Eventhough she has not worked at York College for a long time she has seen a lot of changes in thelittle bit of time that she has been here. She worked at RiteAid Corporation before she came toYork College, as well as a Benefits Representative for the west coast district of the corporation. After some time at that position, she worked her way up to become the Lead Benefits handler forthe whole west coast division for the RiteAid Corporation. When Miss Young got to YorkCollege, there were a lot of different problems that she had to deal with but one of the biggestwas the problem with the benefits package that they gave employees.
York College has a middleman that they pay to take care of the benefits for the teachers. The problem with this is that ifthere are any changes made in the benefits at York College, it does not get changed around in thecomputer system for about five months. For those five months, the employee still expects to getbenefits so it has to come out of York College’s pocket. The insurance that the college hascovers only about two to three months of that period, so Miss Young has to find a way to fix thisproblem.
This is just one example of the many problems that she has to deal with in her jobAs I stated earlier, York College has been growing and expanding faster then ever in thelast couple of years. This can be seen just by looking around the campus. You notice a lot morenew faces each year and the college is growing to hold all these new people. They just finished anew dormitory two years ago, and they have plans to expand out into the surrounding community. This is very good for the college, but with all of this growth there are problems that come with it. Miss Young feels that because of this growth and the age of the teaching staff, there is going tobe a lot of turnover in the next five to ten years.
Many of the professors at York College havebeen around for over ten years and they are getting up to the age where they are looking to retire. If a professor retires, the college has to go out and find a new person to take over that position. As with any other job when you bring in a new person, you lose a lot of the knowledge andexperience of the person that came before them. Miss Young has to deal with this problem, andhow she can make it the easiest on the staff and the customers, the students.
Miss Young’s jobhas a lot of interaction with people so she will have to build all new relationships with the newemployees that come to the college. Along with the teachers, Miss Young believes that there willalso be a high turnover in the administration. The administration are the people that Miss Youngmust work with and the people that affect her job. If a new dean or president were to come in,they may have a whole different view of what part Miss Young would play in the future of YorkOne of the big problems facing Miss Young now and into the future will be the benefitpackages of the teachers at York College. The teachers are talking about a new deal where theywill still get benefits when they retire and not have to pay for it. Miss Young has to find a way tomake the teachers happy, while at the same time not just give away the college’s money. A lot ofthe time Miss Young has to almost be a middle man between the college and the teacher so shehas to do what she thinks is best for both parties and what will keep them happy. Miss Young’s days are not always full of such immense problems.
Her job changes fromday to day and that is what she loves about it. She does not have to be dealing with the samepeople or doing the same task every day that she comes into work. This keeps her job new andexciting.
Although it is hard for her to categorize what a typical day’s tasks would be, shenarrowed it down to the few tasks that she usually has to do. Miss Young is responsible for thepayroll of the whole campus. This is a big job if you think about how fickle people can be overtheir pay. If you got your pay stub and realized there was some money missing, I am sure thatyou would be in Miss Young’s office very soon.
She has to make sure that everyone is gettingwhat they are suppose to and there are no problems. She must also audit all of the benefitbillings. She must make sure that all of the payments are received from the employees and thatshe makes the correct payments to the company that covers the benefit package of the college.
Miss Young must also write internal policies affecting the college and the employees. Through allof these tasks she must also answer the phone. You may not think of that as a very hard task, butwhile I was there she had three people call her. If you were in the middle of trying to getsomething important done and people kept calling you, you would quickly learn how distractingthat could be. Some of the phone calls Miss Young gets she does not know how to answer so shehas to then go and research the answer for the person. Although Miss Young does all of thesetasks in a typical day, the majority of her time is spent auditing and on the phone. She must also“put out fires.” This means that she must help to solve problems or emergencies that can come upat any moment.
These can cause problems for Miss Young because sometimes she will not beprepared for the problem and she will have to contact different people or get information that canBeing a human resource manager is not the easiest job and it is not for everyone. Thereare certain skills and abilities that you must possess that not all people have. Miss Young believesthat to be a good human resource manager you must possess a few invaluable skills. You must bean organized person. A lot of the time you are spread out over many different areas and you haveto be able to keep everything together and be able to find information if you need it. You can notbe sloppy or keep bad records or else you will get yourself into a problem when your boss asksyou for information and you can not find it. You also must be an understanding person.
A humanresource manager is no longer just the person you contact if you are in trouble, or if you are beingfired but now handles many of the problems that employees have. You must be understanding oftheir problems but not be to empathetic. A lot of the time you will be either on the phone or inperson talking with people so communication skills are very important. You must be able tocommunicate well with others and be able to get your point across to who ever you arecommunicating with. This is one of the most important traits that you must possess because somuch of your job will use this skill. Miss Young also feels that a business degree is important tobe a human resource manager. A lot of the issue you have to deal with involve business and theway businesses are run. A good understanding of how to schedule is also important because youmay have to schedule.
It is not as easy as just putting someone down for a certain time eachweek. You have to deal with people who quit or get fired and you must also deal with peoplewho do not show up for work. You must become comfortable and accustomed to these problemsand how to deal with them on a regular basis. The law plays a big part in being a human resourcemanager. You must follow the different laws and how they are changing in your field. You mustbe aware if a new law is in the works or has been passed that will effect you or the people you aredealing with. Miss Young reads law publications and uses the Internet in order to stay up to dateon what is going on with the laws that affect her and her job.
These are the basic skills that MissYoung feels that you need to learn and possess to be a great human resource manager.Miss Young believes that the number one reason why people fail at being a humanresource manager is because they lack people skills. You must be able to communicate becauseso much of your job is dealing with people. She also feels that you will fail if you can not beorganized. You may be able to do your job for a little while but sooner or later it will catch up toyou and you will either have to become organized or go and look for a different profession. A lotof the knowledge and skills that you use as a human resource manager will be learned on the job. If you are not willing to learn and adapt to your business then you will not make a good manager.
Seminars are an important source of learning for human resource managers. Miss Young attendsabout two or three seminars a year and the knowledge learned at these seminars is invaluable toher. She feels that these seminars are very good learning tools and they also help to make youaware to what is going on outside of your business in the world of human resource management. Some of these seminars York College asks her to attend, but many of them she hears aboutherself and she inquires into whether she can go to them.
Many of the times the college willapprove it and they will also pay for the seminar for her. She will go to these seminars and learnways to improve her job and bring that knowledge back to the college and try and implement hernew ideas. Some people do not like going to seminars and having to sit and listen to them for acouple of days, Miss Young feels that these people should not go into the human resourcemanagement field. This is where most of her ongoing knowledge comes from and if you are notwilling to go to seminars then you will miss out on many of the benefits that come along withAn important concept in any job is lifelong learning. This means that as you work youkeep learning from different types of training or seminars or through your job. Miss Young feelsthat this is very important. She feels that if you want to advance in your field you must be welltrained and willing to learn.
You should be over trained rather than having no training at all. Alot of times your employer will not keep offering training to you, but you will have to go out andask for it. It is important that you look out for different training and seminars that interest youand that you feel will improve you as a worker. When you find one that interests you, you shouldask your employer to sponsor you and most times they will be happy that you want to furtheryour education. Miss Young also feels that having a mentor is very important. As I said before,most of your skills and knowledge are learned on the job.
A mentor will pass down his or herknowledge to you and make you aware of the problems you will face. It is much easier to learn ajob from someone who has worked at the job site then coming in and trying to learn it all yourself. Miss Young did not have a very good mentor when she came to York College and she feels thatshe may have been better off if she had someone that was more knowledgeable in the position thatMiss Young has not been in her position for that long of a time, but she has realized achange in the field of human resource management over time. She says that the human resourcedepartment is not viewed as the monster of a corporation anymore. People do not fear goingthere as they used to. Ten to twenty years ago, if you had to go to your human resourcedepartment, you felt nervous, as if you were going to get fired or you had done something wrong.
Today human resource managers do many different tasks other then just firing people. Peoplecome to them when they have questions now and it is not a department to fear anymore. MissYoung does not feel that much else has really changed in the field except for that. I learned a lot from interviewing Vicky Young. She put a human side to all that we havebeen talking about in the classroom. You can not truly identify with something until youexperience it or get to see how it really works. I learned that the job is constantly changing and isdifferent everyday. I thought it was like most jobs, where you do the same type of taskseveryday, but Miss Young made me aware to the fact that her job is new everyday.
I also did notrealize how important people skills were in the field of human resource management. While I wasinterviewing Miss Young, she was constantly being contacted in person and on the phone aboutdifferent topics. In her scoring of what is important in her job, Miss Young cited facilitatingchange and recognizing and solving problems as the two biggest parts of her job. This tells methat she is in the thick of things and that she is around when new things are on the verge. I findthis very exciting because I think that it would be fun trying to implement change and seeing whatyour decisions are doing to an organization.
I also saw how computers are very important in theworkplace. Miss Young could not do most of her work without her computer, all of the payrolland important files on the employees at York College are on computers. Miss Young must goand use this information everyday.
There are problems like in any other job but her computersystem is very important to her. It was very interesting to hear how important the law was tobeing a human resource manager. Miss Young must read different publications about thedifferent laws that will effect the college and the division that she works in.
I never really thoughtabout how the laws would effect a human resource manager and it was interesting to hear thedifferent implications that they had. One of the most interesting things that Miss Young told mewas how she keeps learning even though she already has her position intact. She said that acollege degree just helps you get in the door and most of your knowledge will come from the job,but the degree is important. I did not know that you would have to keep going to training andseminars in order to learn more. I feel that this interview helped to show me what the everydayworkings of a human resource manager is like and shed some more light on what their job is like.Bibliography: