What is the role of a human resources (HR) department?
An HR department is responsible for overseeing the entirety of the employee lifecycle. This includes the recruitment of employees, ensuring pay and benefits are delivered, supporting the training needs and professional development of employees and ensuring that the business in question has a consistent and fair culture.
A career in such a people-focused industry can be extremely rewarding, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. There will be times where HR will be required to intervene when there is unscrupulous behaviour in the workplace, or when businesses need to restructure or make redundancies.
When these things happen, HR plays a key role in ensuring the safety of the business and a legal obligation as an employer or employee. Particularly in the current climate, the role of a HR Manager is crucial.
Why work in HR?
As previously mentioned, a career in HR can be incredibly rewarding. As an HR manager, you’ll help to ensure that all of the people-related processes within the business run smoothly and build relationships across departments, playing a vital role in the business.
With a role in an HR department, you’ll be involved with all of the teams in the company and soon learn how they all work together. Many managers start out in HR to get a holistic understanding of how an organisation works, then move to other teams.
As well as learning about how the business works, you’ll get the opportunity to help people find their dream job through your role in HR. Depending on your position and the type of company you work for, you could be involved in the recruitment process in a number of ways. Whether it be recruitment itself, training, or analytics, you could have the opportunity to specialise in one particular area if you find that you have a passion.
What are the different job roles within HR?
There are many different HR job roles, from HR Advisor or Learning & Development Coordinator to Reward Manager or HR Analyst. Below are the daily tasks of generalist human resources roles, along with their average salaries in the East Midlands as of September 2020.
HR Assistant/Administrator – £20,000 – £25,000
HR assistant/administrator is often an entry-level position within a business, providing support for a range of processes within the department. In this role, you’ll primarily focus on clerical tasks such as recording maintenance, payroll processing, and posting job ads. Other common daily tasks include:
- Sending and responding to emails.
- Answering the telephone and organising calendars.
- Arranging meetings and interviews.
- Processing documentation.
- Creating reports and spreadsheets.
- Entering data into the computer system.
- Completing background checks on potential candidates.
- Posting job ads for new roles.
- Processing payroll and dealing with issues.
HR Advisor – £25,000 – £35,000
With a few years of experience in an HR role, you could apply to become an HR officer. Your responsibilities will become increasingly consultancy-based, offering assistance to line managers in different parts of the business whilst ensuring that policies and procedures are adhered to. You’ll play a more active role in recruitment and developing HR planning strategies. HR officers can also be given the following responsibilities:
- Reading CVs and networking to find candidates for the job role.
- Providing staff with opportunities for external training.
- Ensuring staff are paid on time and dealing with any issues.
- Monitoring staff performance within the business.
- Dealing with any complaints or incidents within the workplace.
- Creating a positive work environment and company culture.
- Negotiating salaries and contracts.
HR Manager – £35,000 – £55,000
The HR manager role represents the next step in your career. Along with a rise in salary, this promotion brings new levels of responsibility as you’ll oversee your own team within the department. Manager-level HR positions usually require you to manage more sensitive and complex aspects of the business, including talent and succession planning, strategic alignment between departments, and employee disciplinaries.
Other common tasks include:
- Planning a strategy for the team and identifying goals and targets.
- Putting a budget in place and ensuring it is adhered to.
- Training staff on employee relations and internal conflict.
- Setting up insurance programmes, flexi-hours, and employee perks.
- Approving holiday, sick leave, and maternity/paternity leave.
- Improving employee contracts to ensure the business offers a competitive package.
- Overseeing the well-being of the team and handling complaints.
Head of HR / HR Director – £70,000 +
Usually the highest position within the department, HR directors are sometimes referred to as chief HR officers or directors of HR. You’ll be responsible for overseeing the activities of the entire department, planning for the future and ensuring that strategies are implemented effectively. In practice, this means you’ll be focusing on top-level tasks such as managing systems and budgets, ensuring compliance with regulations, and assessing staff needs. You’ll also be responsible for:
- Planning, managing, and directing all HR initiatives.
- Recruiting suitable candidates and training them to company standards.
- Dealing with conflicts and complaints accordingly.
- Implementing employee benefits and wellbeing policies.
- Liaising with executives and providing advice on people matters.
- Receiving employee feedback and implementing changes from the survey.
What qualifications/skills do you need for an HR position?
A degree in Human Resources Management or a related discipline is sometimes required for an HR officer role, but many positions will accept qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
The CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma in HR Management is a good option if you’re looking to progress into a managerial role – and a relevant Master’s degree will help your long-term progression, particularly when it comes to applying for director positions.
Whilst academic courses provide you with a solid understanding of the theoretical principles involved in HR, some employers will value relevant experience over qualifications. Several years of working in a HR department will equip you with the communication and organisational skills you’ll need to progress in the future, whilst also giving you the opportunity to consolidate the knowledge you’ve picked up from your degree or course.
Work with Distinct
If you’d like to discuss the HR sector in more detail or to learn how we can help you in your job search, contact us today. We’ll provide free, tailored advice and coaching, from your initial call through to a check-in once you’re settled in your new role.