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HR Manager Roles and Responsibilities

Modern companies are finally starting to realize their greatest treasure and potential: people. It's hard to find a dedicated employee with the knowledge and willingness to perform tasks beyond expectations. The HR department is well aware of this fact, so it walks the fine line between the employees' motivation and the management's demands daily. This role doesn't only require people skills but also a very organized mind and the ability to work with data.

scrum master roles and responsibilities in agency

An HR Manager’s Typical Day

The HR department is a supporting function of the entire business. The list of their activities is long, and only some of them happen at specific time intervals in a month or year. So, their days are often a combination of the following activities.

Maintaining Policies

Some policies are standard for all working places. For example, it's not allowed to go to the office inadequately dressed, although the dress code will differ from one company to another; unless an office party is organized, employees shouldn't be under the influence of alcohol; no type of assault is tolerated in the workplace, etc. HR managers decide what's the code of conduct based on the company culture and integrate management requests into it. Some specific instructions may be a total ban on listening to music while working or compensating for smoking breaks after working hours. Either way, HR is there to define company policies, make sure all staff is well informed about them, and notify those who break them. Sometimes, drastic measures need to be taken to reinforce the established policies.

Handling Conflicts

The larger the company, the more likely a conflict will happen. On the flip side, the smaller the company, the deeper these conflicts will be. As an HR manager, one of the daily tasks is to monitor relationships between employees, create a friendly atmosphere so everyone will feel comfortable enough to ask for advice, and act as a middleman in solving any issues. The most important factor is not letting altercations escalate, especially if it's a smaller company. In a larger company, it's easier to redistribute people from one team to another, but smaller groups don't have that choice. If the conflict deepens, the options are to overcome it or quit. This is why HR managers must act quickly and solve personality clashes or business disagreements as soon as they arise because otherwise, the company may lose great talents.

Recruitment

Sooner or later, companies grow and need to expand their teams. Also, employees leave for one reason or another, and someone has to replace them. The recruitment process should involve HR managers; in most cases, in fact, it involves only them. Recruitment begins with writing a job ad which requires thorough research of standard job posts for the same or similar role. Once it's written, it has to be checked by the managers or the team with relevant field experience, as they might add some special skills or knowledge specific to the company. It's also crucial to explore the average salary for that position and compare it to the company budget.

Posting the job ad is done in collaboration with social media managers and PPC specialists because they're the ones who will know how to reach potential candidates best. Collecting, sorting, and contacting those interested in the position must be conducted flawlessly. Remember, this is the first contact a potential employee has with the company, so it's crucial to be professional and make no mistakes regarding a candidate's personal information.

Once the resumes start filling up the inbox, it's time to read them carefully, determine who doesn't meet specific criteria, and let them know politely they weren't selected. Before interviewing chosen candidates, the HR department needs to compile a list of questions to help them assess whether their skills, personal traits, experience, and knowledge fit the bill. Additionally, it's common to create a practical test that demonstrates all these traits. When there are a lot of candidates, this is a great way to weed out the inadequate ones. The interview itself should be the final step, where HR estimates what's the potential employee like in person and if they'd fit into the company culture.

If the position is standard in a uniform team, there's no need for the managers to get involved in this process. However, if the role is very significant to the company and unique, the management will ask the HR managers to shortlist the candidates and then decide who to hire from the chosen few.

Onboarding

Once a new person is hired, the HR manager's job doesn't end. Not only do they have to process the paperwork, but they also need to make sure the new employee is integrating with the rest of the team properly. Most large companies provide a "welcome gift" that includes mugs, notebooks, t-shirts, and other products with the brand logo. It's also common to create presentations or reading materials that go over the company's detailed history and culture. The rules of conduct we mentioned before should be included so everyone knows what's tolerated and what's not.

HR won't help the new person learn the ropes, but they will regularly check up on them and encourage other team members to accept new employees as part of their team.

Organizing Events

Whether employees see each other daily at the office or work from home, it's important to organize non-work events to help people bond. Usually, companies host at least two events yearly: a New Year party and the company birthday. The HR department and office managers organize these events with the approval of top management. Some firms have a team-building culture that implies regular activities such as marathons, room escapes, hiking trips, bowling, etc. Team buildings have become a profitable industry, so HR can choose from a palette of activities and entertainment to gather employees within or outside working hours.

Payroll and Benefits Administration

Earlier, we mentioned that HR combs the market for information on average salaries for certain roles. This must be done regularly to keep up with trends and retain top talent. Processing payroll every month is a tedious task that requires complete focus and attention to detail. Each employee must get their paycheck on time, and to avoid any dissatisfaction, all employees must get it on the same day. Bonuses, taxes, raises, overtime hours, and healthcare benefits all need to be calculated and processed precisely.

Attendance Tracking

Vacation, days off, sick leave, maternity, and paternity leave are all events that need to be processed carefully through paperwork as soon as they happen. Usually, employees will let their managers know when they plan to take time off or if they're too sick to work. However, sometimes they don't check in, and HR has to follow the procedure on what to do. In these cases, it's necessary to have the contact information of all employees.

Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

Various roles have different KPIs. They're mostly set by managers who closely monitor every team member's performance. HR is there to meet employees regularly, talk about how they fit in the team, if they have any issues with their tasks, how satisfied they are with their managers and salary, etc. It's important to perform these check-ups at least once or twice a year with every employee to avoid turning dissatisfaction into resentment. This is a two-way street. The company needs to let their employees know if they're not performing as expected, and employees need to let the company know if they feel they aren't properly compensated for their work.

Maintain Employee Records

It's required by law to maintain HR records. The HR department must organize files in a manner that allows them to pull out whatever document or information is needed within minutes. They must also be informed of privacy policies and delete on-time data they're not allowed to keep. Some companies will delete their employees' contact information, only to ask for it again once or twice a year.

Letting People Go

Unfortunately, there are difficult sides to the job of an HR manager. When the company is suffering losses and needs to downsize, it's down to the HR department to handle the layoffs and the paperwork that goes with them. The regular check-ins we mentioned earlier are a preventative measure to warn employees of their behavior or low performance. On the other hand, employees can ask for better employment terms before looking for another job or quitting because of a better offer.

Whether the company is letting someone go or they're quitting, HR managers will perform an exit interview to collect information about their time at the company, the management's flaws, team dysfunctionalities, and how to make things better in the future.

Average Salary

If you're wondering how lucrative is a career in HR, here's fresh data on average yearly salaries in the US. We've also included similar positions to get a more accurate idea of the role's salary range.

PayScale Glassdoor
HR Manager $70,088 $76,022
HR Director $90,494 $137,796
HR Coordinator $48,637 $48,548
HR Specialist $53,139 $57,713
HR Generalist $56,976 $59,254

Becoming an HR Manager: Get Started

Unlike other roles, getting a seat in the HR department requires a bachelor's degree in human resource studies or a similar field. There will always be companies that will hire without it, but they're more the exception than the rule.

In HR, a bachelor's degree is implied, and master's degrees are standard. Human behavior comes in many colors and shades, and universities supply future HR managers with the knowledge to help them overcome any challenge. Related studies could be in psychology, sociology, or business. It's important to gain a relevant understanding of human behavior and the way companies work to perform well at this job. This is why combining an MBA with a course or a master's degree in human resources is an excellent idea.

There are plenty of opportunities online to learn the basics and get certified:

  • Udemy
  • Velsoft
  • Coursera
  • OHSC
  • FutureLearn
  • ICS Learn

scrum master first job

Your First Job as an HR Manager

It wouldn't hurt to kick off your career as something non-related to HR. Working in a company as a sales agent, data administrator, or assistant would give you the opportunity to experience what's it like to work in an environment with or without an HR department and see HR managers at work.

As an HR manager, you need to keep the company's interests as a priority, no matter what's fair or not to the employees, so having the experience "from the other side" under your belt will make you more understanding, perceptive, and sensitive to what's happening in the office. Also, you'll be able to deliver news to the employees with more empathy and success.

Get ready to open the doors to HR through training and internships. Universities sometimes collaborate with companies to allow their students to see what theory looks like in practice. If you're not enrolled in a University, look for internship opportunities or job posts for junior HR assistants. Once you gain some experience, you'll be able to become an HR manager.

An HR Manager’s Career Path

An HR Manager’s Career Path

Can you switch to HR at any point in your career? Absolutely. If you are experienced in working with people, the transition will be even easier. The necessary skills for this field include empathy, exceptional communication, conflict management, attention to detail, problem-solving, and negotiation.

If you have no prior work experience before walking down the HR management path, you'll probably start off as an HR assistant or officer and make the primary HR manager's job easier by taking over administrative paperwork and other everyday workplace activities.

From that position, you could be promoted to HR coordinator and assist in recruiting and onboarding new employees. This job is more challenging but also more dynamic and interesting.

HR specialists and generalists are the closest to HR managers as they usually are promoted to being one. They already have at least three years of experience in HR and can perform many tasks independently.

Once the years of experience in HR have accumulated to five years, it's time for the title of the HR manager. They are in charge of all processes, collaborate with management, and overlook company policies, procedures, and processes.

The "final stop" in the HR career could be that of an HR director, depending on a company's needs. HR directors usually manage other HR managers and participate more closely in the management decision-making process.

Tools

HR-tools-ActiveCollab

ActiveCollab

HR-tools-ADP

ADP

HR-tools-Bambee-HR

Bambee HR

HR-tools-BambooHR

Bamboo HR

HR-tools-Bonusly

Bonusly

HR-tools-Breezy-HR

Breezy HR

HR-tools-eSkill

eSkill

HR-tools-Freshteam

Freshteam

HR-tools-Google-Forms

Google Forms

google-meet

Google Meet

HR-tools-Gusto

Gusto

HR-tools-iCIMS-Talent-Acquisition

iCIMS Talent Acquisition

HR-tools-Skype

Skype

HR-tools-Slack

Slack

HR-tools-Spark-Hire

Spark Hire

HR-tools-Zoho-People

Zoho People

HR-tools-Zoom

Zoom


Being an HR manager can be very fulfilling, but without the right tools, it will turn into a red tape nightmare. You'll need tools covering every activity we discussed at the top of this page. Recruitment means writing an ad, checking its grammar, collecting resumes and organizing them, contacting candidates, and interviewing them (nowadays, often done over video calls).

Onboarding new employees is a lot easier and quicker with a database of documents everyone in the company should read, and tracking attendance is nearly impossible without specialized software. Payroll processing can be shortened from days to hours, and employee records can be sorted correctly. All these tools are easy to use and will make an HR manager's job effortless.

Hiring an HR Manager

Many companies think hiring HR managers and forming an HR department is unnecessary. Bloomberg BNA's HR Department Benchmarks and Analysis report says that you should have at least 1.4 full-time HR staff per 100 employees. The minimum size a company should reach before including HR managers is ten employees. Any number above that requires at least one HR manager or specialist.

HR is not only necessary for payroll processing and attendance tracking but also for monitoring team members' performance and motivation. If top management is not careful and doesn't reward its employees regularly, they may see top talent walking away toward better offers where they'll feel more appreciated.

At the end of the day, the company will be the one that suffers the most if conflicts between employees remain unsolved and if top performers don't feel motivated enough to give their best. HR can keep track of team dynamics and everyone's performance, and push them to develop their skills further to become an even more valuable company asset.

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