Updated: November 2020
Even employees who have dealt with an HR manager may have questions about what they do. Human resources has changed drastically from its beginnings in the industrial revolution, and HR managers are always coming up with ideas about how to take care of the people behind a business. But what do they actually do? Why is this role so important in every company? And what is a human resources job like in 2021?
No two HR jobs are alike, but there is a general umbrella of responsibilities you can expect from an HR job in 2021. Ultimately, the human resources department has a goal of enhancing the work experience for employees from the time they’re recruited and interviewed to the time they leave their position within the company.
Human resources jobs are people-focused, meaning they involve a great deal of nuance and emotional intelligence. On the other hand, HR also involves many administrative tasks such as payroll, employee documentation, and more.
Most people think of hiring when they hear about HR. This is because the HR department is usually the first point of contact when a person is recruited for a job or applies for a role at a new company. HR jobs often involve posting job descriptions, researching applicants, and scheduling interviews. HR managers need to understand the type of employee the company is looking for, and whether or not the applicant has the skills required to do the job well.
2. Training and Onboarding
Once a new employee is hired, they’ll stay in close touch with the HR department throughout their training and onboarding process. HR will take care of filling out paperwork, getting the employee on payroll, and making sure they have all the credentials and certifications necessary for their new role.
Payroll is usually handled by the finance or HR department, depending on the structure of the company. Though payroll used to be a time-consuming, manual operation, most payroll tasks can be done much more quickly and efficiently thanks to HR software. Still, expenses need to be accounted for, raises and bonuses must be added, and taxes and hours recorded.
4. Manage Company Policies
Every company has policies covering employee behavior, sick days, PTO, disciplinary action, and other aspects of the workplace. The HR department is in charge of developing these policies, putting them down in writing, and making sure they’re understood by everyone in the company. Policies might need to be updated over the years as the needs of the employees or the nature of the business changes.
5. Carry Out Disciplinary Action
Many people cringe when they imagine having to reprimand employees for inappropriate behavior, but this is an essential role that helps a company stay in line with its values and mission. The best HR managers know how to handle disciplinary actions fairly and kindly, allowing the company to maintain a positive culture.
What Does Working in HR Look Like?
Now that you know some of the responsibilities of HR jobs, you may still be wondering—what does working in HR look like on a day-to-day basis?
An HR job might involve recruiting, exit interviews, performance evaluations, planning team-building events, researching insurance plans, administering benefits, and more.
HR at its finest involves plenty of face time with employees, brainstorming ways to enhance company culture, and streamlining processes to make the workplace run more smoothly. At its heart, HR is all about understanding the people behind the job title and the vision behind the company. HR managers are organized planners who act as a go-between for employees and executives, balancing the wants and needs of each group.
There are a few different pathways a person might follow to land a job in HR. The modern HR professional spends much more time actively involved in promoting a positive company culture than in doing administrative tasks behind the scenes. This makes it even more important to get the right formal education for the competitive HR job market.
If you’re interested in an HR job, you’ll want to study business management, marketing, accounting, or another general business major for undergraduate studies. You can then set yourself apart from other job applicants by getting a master’s degree in human resource management or a master’s of business administration with an emphasis in HR.
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