Human Resources: Key Roles and Responsibilities of a HR Manager

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It’s thought that human resources and recruitment professionals make up just 1% of the entire UK workforce. Try to imagine any business being able to function effectively without their skills, however, and you’ll struggle. Either working in-house or as part of an external agency, these professionals do so much to hold an organisation together. More so than anything else, employees are the most valuable asset to any business. And it’s up to human resources to recognise and reflect that in their day job. 

Support overall business targets

In the first instance, a HR manager or executive has the holistic responsibility of supporting the organisation’s overall targets and ambitions. In a strategic context, it means defining the talent needs of a business – i.e., the type of people needed to fulfil the roles that will make a business successful. This ‘Workforce Planning‘, as the CIPD calls it, can be such an important foundation.

But supporting wider business strategies is more than just about getting the right people in the door. It is also about effective communication of corporate policies and values, which does a lot to encourage employee engagement. And it can also extend to having the right HR software on hand to streamline critical functions and remove bottlenecks in human resource departments.  

Employee lifecycle management

One visible role and responsibility of HR managers and professionals is to manage the lifecycle of employees. It starts at the initial recruitment and onboarding of new staff and ends with the dismissal or departure of an employee. It also incorporates the various training and disciplinary procedures in-between. All the while, there can be promotion and pay rise queries to deal with.

This can be particularly challenging in a current climate where many employees are working at home in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, even some of the biggest global companies are embracing permanent hybrid working. And it presents significant challenges to those in HR who need to oversee the happiness and wellbeing of employees working in individual locations.

Mediating in workplace conflicts

It’s not a scenario that HR professionals like to find themselves in. But a “significant” proportion of employees and employers see conflict as a part of organisational life. At the heart of disputes in the workplace, however, are HR teams. And it is their role and responsibility to resolve tough situations in a way that is at least satisfactory to both sides of the conversation.

Ensure and maintain legal compliance

One other role and responsibility that HR managers and professionals must be equipped to deal with is ensuring the legal compliance of any organisation. In the UK, there are several laws and regulations that set out the obligations of a business towards its employees. And it is down to a HR team to ensure those obligations are met.

From working conditions to equality in the workplace, there can be a lot to navigate. And it can also be a constantly changing landscape. But the best HR professionals come with the skills and know-how to help their business keep on top of it all. And, ultimately, it’s all in a day’s work for this most vital of business functions; one that all too often goes unnoticed and uncelebrated.

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