The rise of remote work has created a positive domino effect for many rural communities. With it comes brand new career opportunities that can help residents gain lasting employment, build wealth, and strengthen our local economy.
Studies show that over 1 in 6 individuals at or below the poverty line don’t have internet access. As broadband expansion efforts continue in Eastern Kentucky, we must remember that providing internet isn’t the end of the line.
Achieving digital equity means all EKY residents have access to the same opportunities provided by the internet. It also means they’re fully trained and ready to take advantage of the remote work economy.
We’ve recently discussed digital equity and the plentiful remote work opportunities made possible by internet access and specialized software skills. (ICYMI, take a look at our posts on how to prepare for remote careers in sales and marketing).
Let’s continue the conversation by reviewing yet another promising remote career track — human resources (HR) — and the skills you need to access these opportunities.
The importance of specialized software skills
Before we jump into the particulars of human resources training and careers, we should acknowledge why specialized software skills are so important.
Remote teams rely on productivity software to collaborate effectively. Most productivity software, such as email, task management, and video call platforms, are useful company-wide.
But, each department tends to work with its own software that directly supports the management and execution of day-to-day tasks.
Recruiters look for candidates with productivity and specialized software experience related to their desired career track. So if our residents haven’t worked remotely before, they’ll need access to training if they want a shot at competing for these jobs.
It’s up to us to help them receive the training they need to earn great remote positions.
If we do, it’ll help more of our residents earn these jobs. And that can help us achieve our best case scenario: slowing down or even reversing population loss and stabilizing our regional economy.
There are many types of remote careers — and with each career track comes its own world of specialized software. Let’s review HR careers, take a look at commonly-used software, and explore next steps to help our residents get the training they need to join this field.
What is a human resources professional?
A human resources professional contributes to an organization’s staffing and administration needs. The functions they serve can vary, but typical tasks include:
- Recruiting, screening, and interviewing job applicants
- Onboarding newly hired workers
- Managing compensation, payroll, and benefits
- Providing training
- Overseeing employee relations and handling conflicts
A candidate should possess strong interpersonal, organizational, scheduling, and communication skills. Those involved with compensation and payroll must be comfortable working with numbers and dealing with basic accounting.
Many HR professionals held previous careers before transitioning to human resources. Some but not all career changers will pursue an HR certification before applying to jobs.
But those who can prove they can successfully collaborate with many different types of people and juggle multiple projects at once might also catch a recruiter’s eye.
And, of course, having experience with specialized HR software doesn’t hurt.
Remote careers that use HR software
There is an urgent need for more HR staff across the US. Entry-level roles will carry some of the following titles:
- Human resources specialist
- Human resources coordinator
- Human resources associate
- Payroll coordinator
Check out the SOAR Remote Work Jobs Board to explore available positions.
At the time of publishing this blog post, there were several HR positions actively seeking candidates, including:
- HR Generalist with AppHarvest
- Human Resources Coordinator with Appalachian Regional Healthcare
- Human Resources Associate with Ford Motor Company
- Payroll Clerk with Appalachian Regional Healthcare
- Sales Recruiter with Lexmark.
Digital training spotlight: HR software
The HR software market is predicted to reach $33.57 billion by 2030. In a market this large, there are several dominant players.
The challenge with pursuing HR software education is selecting one platform to focus on. Since there are so many to choose from, we recommend attempting to identify one or more remote companies you’d like to work for. Check the SOAR Remote Work Jobs Board for ideas.
You can figure out what HR software your target company uses by looking at the job descriptions for HR roles. It should be in the bottom section that lists preferred skills and software for applicants. For example, the Sales Recruiter position with Lexmark states: “Workday experience is a plus.”
If you’re not sure who you want to work for (yet) or are hoping to set up a training program for a group of residents, any of the following options below represents a step in the right direction. And the good news is that while each platform has its quirks, the skills of learning one platform are transferable to others.
Explore these software providers and their related training opportunities. Some are free, some are for customers only, and some even offer dedicated certifications.
- ADP Workforce Now: Paid certification program
- Gusto: Robust knowledge base
- Paylocity: Free training videos and curriculum
- Quickbooks: Free training curriculum
- Workday: Paid training program
Tips for specialized software training
- Form training groups. Accountability and competition are strong motivators for many. It’s proven that individuals perform on a higher level when working in the presence of others. So while many of these software training programs are accessible for users to complete on their own, forming supportive training groups can help residents succeed.
- Don’t neglect the basics. If you have little experience with other types of software, such as email, chat, or task management platforms, then perhaps you should take a step back. There’s no shame in starting from the beginning. It’ll set you up for success if you can master those before moving on to more complex software.
- Be persistent. As with any new undertaking, respect the process. It’ll take time and energy to learn a new platform. If you’re committed to a remote career track, remember the outcomes you’re aiming for — and stay the course through the end.
- Stay tuned for community-based digital training opportunities. SOAR and other partners are working behind the scenes to help our communities achieve digital equity. Part of that includes offering specialized software training.
Conclusion: Get funding for remote work software training in your community
Frankfort will soon be launching grants powered by the Digital Equity Act. Municipalities, county officials, and economic development organizations in Eastern Kentucky: take note. These grants present a major opportunity to help our residents transition into the 21st-century digital economy.
When’s the last time you reviewed best practices for grant applications? Download the Grants 101 Playbook, provided by SOAR, to prepare your organization to pursue digital equity grants for your community.