The importance of HR in a company is often underrated. It is one of the most critical departments because the tasks that fall under the category of HR are integral to every business. HR is a new employee’s first point of contact for the company, and every step that happens along the way, including promotions, salary changes, and more go through the HR department.
However, many people don’t fully understand what HR does. They may know that HR is responsible for hiring and firing employees, but beyond that, many people are hard-pressed to name other tasks that fall under the giant umbrella of human resources. To help clarify what HR is and provide you with some tools, tricks, and tips for human resources jobs, we’ve created this guide.
What Are HR Jobs?
As mentioned above, a job in human resources covers a lot of ground and is a crucial part of every company, no matter the size. For smaller companies, the HR department may be just one person. For bigger companies, HR is generally a team of people. If your budget allows, hire more than one HR professional since so many different tasks and responsibilities can be overwhelming for one person to handle.
HR departments serve the primary purpose of supporting the company and its employees. This allows everyone to do their job and lets the company run with little to no issues. The duties of an HR professional’s job include things such as:
- Training new employees
- Tracking employee benefits
- Fostering the company culture
In short, the HR department in a company affects every employee’s life in the company on almost a daily basis. This is why this department is so important.
The Basics of Human Resources Jobs
The duties of an HR department go far beyond just hiring and firing employees, though that is one piece of the puzzle. To put it generally, human resources is responsible for hiring and managing a company’s entire workforce.
Most of the duties of an HR department are relatively similar from company to company and include vital things, such as:
- Managing employee benefits
- Handling payroll
- Managing employee benefits
- Managing recruitment and termination
- Cultivating the company culture
- Handling administrative work
- Onboarding and training new employees
- Maintaining a happy and safe work environment
- Maintaining employee records
- Mediating any employee conflicts
The entire HR department is in charge of those things and, for some companies, that means one person must carry out all those duties, while for larger companies, several people may be carring out those duties with each person specializing in a particular piece of the puzzle.
In a more extensive HR department, each person has their own role under the HR umbrella. Here is a look at some of the different types of human resources jobs, ranging from entry-level to more executive positions.
Chances are good you’ve worked with a recruiter at some point in your career. They work either in-house for the company’s HR department or for outside recruitment agencies. Specialists/recruiters help companies find the best people for specific roles. Recruiters do this by sharing job listings, reviewing applications, scheduling interviews, and managing the hiring process with candidates. Whether they work for you or an agency, this person must know all the details about the positions they are trying to match candidates, including job descriptions, salary ranges, benefits offered, company culture, the hiring process, and more.
Both “employment specialist” and “recruiter” titles are often used interchangeably.
Human Resources Assistant
This entry-level position is a way to get into the world of HR, and helps HR directors and managers with various administrative tasks. These include things with potential new hires such as writing job descriptions, reaching out to references, screening applicants, and working with current employees for absences, performance reports, and more.
Human Resources Coordinator
This position is in charge of facilitating HR programs under the HR director or manager. These programs include orientations, employee training, development, and more. Part of a coordinator’s job is to research trends in the industry and work to implement best practices to improve HR processes and keep employees happy.
Human Resources Generalist
As its name suggests, an HR generalist is in charge of general administrative tasks that ensure the human resources department functions without any hiccups. Some of these tasks include overseeing compliance and reporting, as well as communication that happens between the company and employees. Employee safety and the well-being of all employees is also something a generalist is in charge of.
Once you’ve proven yourself as a recruiter, you can move up to become a recruitment manager. This person supervises other recruiters and helps with interviewing and employment for a single company or multiple companies, depending on the specific job. Also part of this position is helping to forecast hiring needs down the road and tracking recruiting metrics to ensure the best possible hiring practices are in place.
Human Resources Manager
The HR manager’s job is to oversee the entire human resources department and make sure everyone is doing their job correctly. This helps the whole department run smoothly. The manager meets with executives in the company to talk strategies about hiring and check in on team members and their performance. HR managers are also the ones who often get stuck with the more challenging employee issues, such as mediating conflicts and conducting exit interviews.
Employee Relations Manager
This position makes sure the work environment is a safe, happy, and healthy one. Employee relations managers do this by addressing any bad behaviors that may cause the work environment to be off or hostile. These managers are well-versed and trained in state and federal employment laws and use this knowledge to handle conflict properly. This position requires having strong communication skills and the ability to deal with sensitive issues calmly and effectively.
Labor Relations Specialist
You would be amazed at the number of different labor laws that exist for a workplace today. To make sure all those are being met, many companies hire a labor relations specialist. This person is not only in charge of making sure the company follows all labor laws, but they are also in charge of grievance procedures, helping executive managers with the bargaining process, and gathering statistics to help a company decide what is best for employee contracts.
Director of Human Resources
The HR director of a company typically reports directly to the CEO regarding all things human resources. This includes implementing policies and procedures, directing employee orientation, training, compliance with federal, state, and local laws, and database management. The HR director ensures that everything happening in the human resources department is as efficient and as profitable as possible.
3 Tools to Improve Human Resources Jobs
As you can see, there is much more that falls under the term “human resources” than many people think. And to perform all the necessary tasks with minimal issues, people often turn to technology.
Here are some of the top HR tools you need to know about to make yourself more qualified for a job in this department.
This cloud-based HR management software helps companies organize and manage all the necessary employee data. Zoho People is user-friendly and affordable, and it provides employees an easy way to track time, including billable and non-billable hours. It also creates timesheets, speeds up the invoicing process, and allows you to look at projects currently in progress.
Zoho People comes in handy when it is time to hire and onboard new employees, too, and when it comes time to do performance reviews for current employees. It is highly customizable and can be adjusted to fit your specific company needs.
Zoho People starts at $1.25 per user per month billed annually, and has a 30-day free trial.
iCIMS Talent Acquisition
The onboarding process for new employees can be a difficult one. To help with this part of the human resources duties, consider trying iCIMS Talent Acquisition. This employee onboarding software allows you to interact with candidates that match your needs, hire only the best candidates, and improve the overall hiring process via the platform.
This software is used by over 3,000 companies worldwide and is one of the largest Software-as-a-Service (Saas) providers for talent acquisition and management.
iCIMS does not publicly show their pricing but you can see a free demo and speak to a representative to get pricing options.
Kissflow HR Cloud
This cloud-based HR management software allows you to do everything in one place, including applicant tracking, leave management, attendance management, performance management, employee onboarding and offboarding, and more. One of the things that make Kissflow HR Cloud stand out from its competitors is that it has automated performance triggers that suggest performance improvement for employees who are not doing their best at work.
Kissflow integrates well with other third-party software solutions, so you can use it in tandem with other tools that you find helpful.
Kissflow starts at $16 per user per month and you can try a 14-day free trial to see if it is right for your business.
3 Tricks for Human Resources Jobs
If you’re interested in a HR job or moving up in your existing HR career, these tricks and tips will help you become a stronger candidate.
HR professionals exist for a number of reasons, but one of the main ones is to ensure that all employees are following the company’s rules. While this is necessary for the company, it often gives the HR department a bad reputation for being too strict and disconnected from what the company and its employees truly need.
This is where your ability to inspire will really come in handy. Help the employees see that there are reasons behind the rules, and how those rules benefit them.
By showing the employees things like this, you will be seen as a leader who is passionate about their job, and that passion can help inspire others to do their best. It will also encourage them to do their job following those rules, making your job easier.
Changes in industries and professions happen regularly and at a faster rate than ever in the modern-day world. Thus, it is essential for HR professionals to be curious and knowledgeable about industry changes and trends. You should set aside time to learn about new issues and the best practices to handle them.
You should also always be open to trying new things and possibly changing some of the company’s policies and procedures that have been set in place for a long time if you deem a new approach is better for everyone. Even in a non-manager role, good companies want great ideas, no matter who they come from.
The key is not to just research and learn new changes. It is also to implement them, which takes time and effort. Know what tools you have and what tools you need to take to help change company HR plans when necessary. If you have ideas for streamlining HR processes, people will take notice. When you save a company time or money, you are showing your value and passion for the role and the business.
Communication is at the heart of any human resources position. To be successful at your HR job, you need to communicate well with everyone in the company, from the highest level of executives to new hires.
Effective communication goes beyond writing professional emails and holding phone conversations well. Effective communication can show in how you speak to others in the company in a meeting–not only what you say, but how you carry yourself. You can hone these skills to help others in your department and your company communicate more effectively for things such as orientations, meetings, and more.
What to Do Next
Not everyone who ends up in HR went to school with this profession in mind. Thankfully, HR does not always require a degree in that specific field to get a job.
However, employers use some indicators to determine whether someone is a good fit for a career in human resources. Here are a few:
- HR certifications
- A positive personality
- Strong work ethic and great communication skills
- Bachelor’s degree
- Prior experience
If you are considering a higher-level job, you may need a four-year degree in Human Resources Management, Business Administration, or something similar. Some HR positions may even require a master’s degree in Human Resources, Human Resources and Employee Relations, or Business Administration. Some companies may waive the degree requirement if you have HR certifications from an accredited place and prior HR experience.
Depending on where you are in your career and what level of HR job you are looking to land, determine what knowledge, skills, and schooling you have and what you may need to get.
A strong HR department can make or break a company. Because human resources have its hands in all sorts of tasks that keep the company running smoothly, it is a very powerful department to be part of.
If you’re considering an HR position that works with or recruits for sales positions, be sure to check out this article about how to write job descriptions for sales jobs.