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Human Resources Managers

The Job

Approximately 60 percent of a company’s expenditures are tied to its workers, or human capital. Many companies have realized that investing in human capital pays off in improved worker productivity, better recruiting and retaining of quality workers, and lowered human resources expenses. 

Human resources managers help their employers manage this human capital by overseeing the administrative functions of HR departments. At small organizations, they are responsible for everything from payroll and benefits to training and development programs. At larger companies, HR managers supervise specialized managers who focus on individual issues such as labor relations, payroll, and recruiting. Here are some examples of management specialties:

  • Recruiting managers develop recruiting strategies for their organization and manage recruiting department staff.
  • Compensation managerdevelop and administer their organization’s pay system.
  • Education and training managers conduct a wide variety of education and training activities for both new and existing employees. Training programs cover sales techniques, health and safety practices, and other topics.
  • Benefits managers oversee insurance and pension plans. Since the enactment of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, reporting requirements have become a primary responsibility for personnel departments in large companies.
  • Prior to negotiation of a collective-bargaining agreement, labor relations managers counsel management on its negotiating position and provide background information on the provisions of the current contract and the significance of the proposed changes. In the actual negotiation, the employer is usually represented by the director of labor relations or another top-level official.

The following are some general duties of HR managers (courtesy of the ONET Online career center and other sources):

  • Identify staff vacancies and recruit, interview, and select applicants
  • Plan and conduct orientation programs for new employees to encourage a positive attitude toward organizational objectives
  • Provide current and prospective employees with information about organization policies, job duties, wages, opportunities for promotion and employee benefits, and working conditions
  • Analyze and modify compensation and benefits policies to create programs that are both competitive with other companies in their field and that ensure compliance with local, state, and federal laws
  • Perform challenging staffing duties such as refereeing disputes regarding gender or racial discrimination or other issues; administering disciplinary procedures; and firing employees
  • Administer compensation, benefits, and performance management programs
  • Prepare and follow budgets for HR department operations
  • Analyze training needs to design employee development, health and safety, and language training programs
  • Oversee the evaluation, classification, and rating of occupations and job positions
  • Conduct exit interviews to identify reasons for employee termination
  • Study legislation, collective bargaining contracts, and arbitration decisions to assess industry trends
  • Negotiate bargaining agreements and help interpret labor contracts
  • Work with organization executives to determine long-terms plans for staffing and benefits programs
  • Develop or administer special projects in areas such as pay equity, employee awards, and savings bond programs, and day-care
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