Table of Contents

Table of Contents

A career in human resources often begins with a position as an HR assistant. Read on to learn more about the importance of this position, common responsibilities, skills needed to be successful and tips on how to become an HR assistant.

What Is a Human Resources Assistant?

An HR assistant is responsible for performing administrative tasks and supporting the daily operations of the human resources department.

Why Is a Human Resources Assistant Important?

An HR assistant provides the critical support that defines the HR department for employees. This section discusses three components of the HR image or brand.

  • Employee support. HR assistants provide the empathetic, approachable one-on-one support for employees’ daily requests.
  • Details. HR assistants perform administrative tasks that influence the employee experience. These tasks comprise the data that inform the organization on the performance of the HR department and is used to make decisions that influence the entire organization.
  • HR department success. The ultimate success of the HR department is determined by the work of the HR assistant. Every page of administrative tasks and every conversation with employees helps HR be seen as a great partner and ensures their company’s success.

Responsibilities of a Human Resources Assistant

This section discusses the common responsibilities of an HR assistant. As each company often defines an HR assistant differently, this gives insight into what a day in the life looks like for this position.

Employee Support

An HR assistant is available to answer employee questions and provide guidance on interpreting policy regarding dress code, payroll, benefits, recruiting, employee recognition leave of absence, etc.

Recruiting Logistics

An HR assistant may be asked to support the recruiting process by calling candidates, scheduling interviews, following up with candidates, maintaining employee records, and organizing interview records. Finally, the HR assistant coordinates the orientation and onboarding process for new staff.

Benefits Administration

An HR assistant ensures compliance with applicable government regulations and accuracy of required reporting and fees. They coordinate daily benefits processing including enrollments, COBRA, terminations, changes, beneficiaries, disability, accident and death claims, and rollovers. They also oversee the maintenance of employee benefits files and update employee payroll records.

HRIS Support

An HR assistant provides technical support, troubleshooting, and guidance to employees. They also collaborate with HR staff to identify system improvements and enhancements, recommend solutions, and implement solutions to meet department needs. Finally, they manage permissions, access, personalization, and similar system operations and settings for employees.

Employee Engagement

An HR assistant helps coordinate employee activities and events and provides needed support during the activities or events. They ensure required staff and materials are prepared and ready for training sessions or activities. They verify recreation funds are used effectively and efficiently for the improvement of company culture.

In addition, the HR assistant may investigate and document the resolution of interpersonal conflicts and similar workplace problems. They conduct employee exit interviews to identify ways to improve staff retention and prepare a summary of findings for staff.

Important Human Resources Assistant Skills

This section will help set you up for success as you begin your journey in the HR profession.

Skill 1: Positive Attitude

Welcome to the coolest profession! Your journey as an HR professional begins as an HR Assistant. The administrative tasks and skills you learn may not seem exciting at face value but they are the foundation of the employee experience at your organization.

Skill 2: Computer Literacy

As an HR assistant, you will be tracking compliance, updating records, creating reports, analyzing data, and performing duties that support project management for the HR department. You will need experience with Microsoft Office programs and other software (i.e. HRIS systems)to respond quickly to employee requests and manage your daily duties.

Skill 3: Flexibility

The key to flexibility is to not let your disappointment control you. This allows you to quickly change direction and support the new vision of the department.

Skill 4: Written and Verbal Communication

You may be involved in everything from writing emails, memos, press releases, and more. Your ability to use proper grammar, spelling, and sentence structure can derail your credibility and the HR department if done poorly. It is recommended to install Grammarly to help you catch any unintended mistakes.

Your verbal communication skills also need to be excellent whether for one on one communication supporting employees or facilitating a new hire orientation. The best way to improve this skill is to practice beforehand. Find a colleague or your manager and ask if they can watch you present or give advice on how to answer certain questions.

Skill 5: Organization

As an HR assistant, you will be involved with the intricate details that comprise your organization’s employee experience. Whether you use an online platform or are old school using a pen and notebook/planner, make sure you can keep track of everything you completed or need to follow up on.

How to Become a Human Resources Assistant

This section discusses steps beyond submitting an online application online to maximize your chances of becoming an HR assistant.

Step 1: Business Knowledge

Human resources is first a business function. To become an HR assistant, you need to understand the business and how to leverage company talent to help the company succeed. The idea that HR is for an individual who is good with people is the wrong mindset.

Step 2: Experience

Start with an internship in HR if you have no relevant experience to get your feet wet before becoming an HR assistant. This internship will set you apart from other candidates in becoming an HR assistant.

If you are transitioning from another profession, review your previous experience and look for moments where you demonstrated the skills described in the previous section. Tailor your resume to those skills and others listed in the job description. This shows the recruiter you are capable of entering the HR field.

Step 3: Networking

Companies have different approaches to HR ranging from buying bagels to being a strategic partner for the organization. Build an HR network through LinkedIn and a local SHRM Chapter. You will find HR professionals are the kindest people and will give you great insight into their respective employers. This can help you determine which company you want to join and give you an ally on the inside to advocate for you.

Questions You’ve Asked Us About Human Resources Assistant

The average salary for an HR assistant in the United States is $37,911.
A rule of thumb is one HR employee per 100 employees. Businesses with less than 100 employees will divide HR responsibilities among senior leaders.
Yes, small businesses that are focused on growing and scaling their business may outsource HR assistants to allow them to focus on the operations of the business.

Ryan is an HR Director with four years of experience and three masters degrees. One accomplishment he is proud of is the design and launch of a learning and development program for 800+ employees.

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