A couple of decades ago we had Personnel Managers. Nowadays, several companies have Human Capital Managers and some even boast Heads of Human Energy! But the most common term at the moment is Human Resource (HR) Manager.

But what does an HR Manager actually do? 

What is an HR Manager?

Let’s start with what seems like a simple enough question .. but finding a universally accepted definition of the HR Manager is difficult. The online business dictionary, www.businessdictionary.com, defines the HR Manager as: 

“[The] individual within an organisation responsible for hiring new employees, supervising employee evaluations, mediation between employees and bosses as necessary, and general overseeing of the personnel department.”

Many HR Managers would also have responsibility for staff development (training, coaching) and ensuring performance management takes place.

Perhaps the more important thing is to define what HR is commonly recognised as today – from the CIPD (the sector’s professional body) website:

"HR is about helping an organisation to create value through its people – literally providing human resources. The work of an HR professional will vary depending on the type and size of their organisation, but could include recruiting people, training and developing employees, and helping to decide how staff should be paid and rewarded. There are even roles which focus on employment law and protecting the rights of employees at work. HR professionals will also often deal with legal issues, help to shape the culture of their organisations, and focus on what keeps their colleagues productive and engaged."

What are the key responsibilities of an HR Manager?

Changeboard.com, the popular HR website, presents a generic job description that includes the following key responsibilities for HR Managers:

•    Providing leadership and direction to the HR team to provide an HR service to the business
•    Managing absence, disciplinaries, grievances, absence and employee relations. 
•    Measuring and improving employee satisfaction
•    Coaching managers on performance management
•    Guiding managers on learning and development for themselves and their teams
•    Designing and implementing the training plan
•    Recruiting, retaining and succession planning talent – including recruitment campaigns
•    Advising on reward and benefits
•    Designing and implementing HR policies, procedures and processes
•    Ensuring compliance with UK law
•    Advising managers on HR issues
•    Dealing with disciplinary and grievance issues
•    Managing HR budgets.

It’s quite a list! 

But research by gusto.com, involving a survey of 100 HR professionals, suggests they are spread even more thinly. Asked how they spend their time on a day-to-day basis, HR pros gave the following responses:

•    Paperwork (21%)
•    Answering Employee Questions (20%)
•    Navigating People Issues (16%)
•    Training (10%)
•    Counselling (7%)
•    Compliance (5%)
•    Onboarding  (4%)
•    Interviewing  (4%)
•    Payroll (3%)
•    Benefits (2%)
•    Planning Team-Building (2%)
•    Other (6%)

What kinds of HR jobs are there?

There are numerous opportunities in HR, from HR generalist roles such as HR Director, HR Manager and HR Executive, through to more specialist positions such as Payroll Manager and Recruitment Manager which tend to be found in larger organisations. Some organisations will separate Learning and Development into a separate department entirely, although of course they will still work closely together.

One job title that has become increasingly common is HR Business Partner. In this arrangement, an individual HR generalist is matched with one or more departments to advise managers on key HR issues.

The CIPD defines HR Business Partners’ work as follows:

“HR business partners work closely with business leaders and line managers to build capabilities, plan and manage talent, and develop approaches that achieve shared organisational objectives.”

What is the CIPD?

The CIPD (the Chartered Institute of Personal Development) is the professional body for the HR profession in the UK, Ireland, Middle East and Asia. Its full title indicates just how fundamental development is to the HR role in many organisations. The CIPD sets the professional standards for HR, provides training and qualifications and lobbies government on behalf the HR profession, and most HR roles will ask for evidence of CIPD qualifications as part of their specification.

What role do HR professionals play in recruitment?

So it’s clear that HR professionals are often spread very thinly, even before they take on the time consuming challenge of recruitment. Too often they are sucked into performing administrative and non-core tasks when their time would be better spent on advising the business. 

Nowhere is this truer than in recruitment, when tasks such as researching the market, writing adverts for jobs, reviewing CVs, arranging interviews, gathering references and managing feedback and offer negotiations can easily fill the diary. 

That’s one reason why many HR Managers choose to partner with recruitment consultancies like Regan & Dean. Not only do the best specialist agencies have a knowledge of talent available that in-house teams would struggle to replicate, they can take on much of the ‘administrivia’ of recruitment and also provide strategic input and guidance.  With expertise within the fields of Events and Marketing, when an HR Manager needs to quickly find a new and relevant employee, going to a specialist recruitment agency like us, can be a game changer. 

If the busy HR professional invests time in closely briefing the right kind of recruitment agency, not only will they get to meet a wider range of qualified candidates, they also find their to do list begins to feel much  more achievable. 

If you are a busy HR Manager looking to find a recruitment consultancy that specialises in finding talent within the Marketing and Events sectors then do please get in touch to find out more.

See also – How to choose a recruitment company.