Careers in Human Resources Management


The goal of the human resources department within any business or organization is to manage the allocation, training and compensation of the organization’s workforce. This encompasses three major areas: staffing, employee compensation and benefits, and designing or defining work. Human resources professionals at all levels work together to ensure an organization maximizes its productivity by optimizing the effectiveness of its employees.

Even as human resources management strategies change and evolve, the fundamental purpose of HR departments remain constant:

  • Acquiring, developing, and retaining talent
  • Aligning the workforce with the business model
  • Contributing to the overall success of the business

From small companies to major corporations, all businesses face personnel issues that can have a major impact on the overall health of the business. Human resources management recognizes that the workforce is the most important asset of an organization and that a business cannot be successful if it does not effectively manage this resource.

Human resources professionals, from directors and executives to generalists and specialists, take a strategic approach to acquiring, motivating, developing, and managing an organization’s human capital. They are an integral part of shaping a corporate culture and introducing programs that reflect and support the core value of the organization so as to ensure its success.

Small operations may require just one human resources manager overseeing their personnel, while larger corporations—many of which have global operations—require a team of human resources professionals working in a variety of specialized areas that include:

  • Organizational and employee development
  • Safety and security
  • Labor relations
  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Ethics and corporate responsibility
  • Global human resources
  • Employee relations
  • Diversity
  • Business leadership and strategy
  • Consulting
  • Staffing management
  • Technology

Although HR professionals work toward the same goal – to deliver personnel solutions that are in line with the strategic needs of the business – in larger organizations and corporations, human resources managers and specialists have distinct job titles that require them to oversee a specific area of human resources management.

Some of the most prominent HR professionals include:

Human Resource Manager Jobs

Human resources managers oversee the administration, coordination, and evaluation of the human resources department. Their job description includes developing and administering human resources plans and human resources department goals, objectives, and systems.

Often, this means a human resources manager:

  • Analyzes compensation
  • Conducts annual salary surveys and develops a salary budget
  • Develops and maintains handbook on company policies and procedures
  • Develops and recommends the implementation of personnel policies and procedures
  • Monitors performance evaluations
  • Oversees benefits administration, including annual reevaluation of policies and cost-effectiveness
  • Oversees recruitment efforts for both exempt and nonexempt employees
  • Oversees the development and administration of employee relations counseling and exit interviews
  • Recommends policies and procedures for improving the efficiency of the human resources department

Training and Development Manager Jobs

Training and development managers work to improve the productivity of a company’s workforce through the development, coordination, and presentation of training and development programs.

These human resources managers assess the developmental needs of the organization to ensure the implementation and enforcement of training initiatives. They frequently design these initiatives to ensure they effectively enhance employee performance.

Some of the many duties of training and development managers include:

  • Conducting follow-up studies of implemented training initiatives
  • Modifying training initiatives as needed
  • Developing training development programs and coaching others involved in the training efforts
  • Maintaining communications within the organization to ensure employees are aware of upcoming events and training opportunities
  • Planning and organizing employee training events
  • Overseeing the departmental budget for training and development

Human Resources Specialist Jobs

Human resources specialists provide support to ensure the successful implementation of HR employee programs and initiatives. This may include:

  • Coordinating health, life, and disability insurance enrollment
  • Communicating with service providers regarding the routine administration of programs
  • Maintaining personnel files by processing employee status changes on a frequent basis
  • Maintaining a list of company positions along with assigned salary grade levels
  • Processing personnel action forms
  • Maintaining budget records, including records of salaries, payroll taxes, fringe allowances, etc.
  • Assisting in the hiring process by writing and publishing job postings, reviewing resumes, performing telephone and in-person interviews, and performing reference checks
  • Maintaining the employee handbook
  • Oversees employee special events

Labor Relations Specialist Jobs

Labor relations specialists, also frequently referred to as employee relations specialists, oversee a broad array of activities related to employee and labor relations. They direct the classification of employee plans and programs, coordinate the creation of position descriptions, and oversee job evaluations.

These human resources specialists also administer and interpret labor agreements and grievance procedures, and they provide support during contract negotiations. Their job description often includes serving as a liaison between department managers and union representatives and providing advice to managers and company executives regarding personnel practices, unemployment laws, and company policies.

Other job responsibilities overseen by labor/employee relations specialists include:

  • Directing staffing strategies
  • Developing hiring processes for all employees, from temporary staff to executive placement
  • Overseeing recruiting and sourcing initiatives to leverage networking and employee referrals
  • Developing and streamlining staffing systems, including reports and analyses
  • Overseeing relocation efforts
  • Ensuring compliance with all state and federal equal opportunity and discrimination regulations

Benefits Manager Jobs

Benefits managers administer the employee benefits programs of a company or organization. Their work involves developing, recommending, and implementing new employee benefit policies and modifying or updating existing plans. A major element of their job includes controlling costs while assuring the best coverage for employees.

Benefits managers may administer and oversee any number of employee benefits programs, such as:

  • Hospital plans
  • Retirement plans
  • Medical plans
  • Life insurance policies
  • Disability programs
  • Accidental death policies

Benefits managers must ensure company benefits plans allow the company to maintain a competitive position in the labor market.

Job duties associated with the implementation of benefits plans include:

  • Recommending classes of eligible employees for new or modified plans
  • Developing census data
  • Receiving insurance quotes, developing company cost information, and making recommendations to management
  • Preparing materials for communicating new plans to employees
  • Conducting employee benefits meetings and arranging for enrollment in plans
  • Handling all employee benefit inquiries

Compensation Manager Jobs

Compensation managers oversee the planning, development, and implementation of employee compensation programs, policies, and procedures that are in line with company goals and competitive practices.

To accomplish these goals, compensation managers perform the following duties:

  • Monitor the effectiveness of existing compensation policies and procedures
  • Ensure that the existing compensation plans are cost-effective and consistent according to company trends and corporate objectives
  • Provide advice to company executives regarding policy and guideline interpretation and job evaluation
  • Process, record, and report compensation information on salaried employees
  • Ensure company compliance with federal, state, and local compensation laws and regulations

Human Resources Assistant Jobs

Human resources assistants perform work in human resources and benefits administration under the supervision of human resources specialists and managers. Human resources assistants frequently provide assistance and participation in the following areas:

  • Recruitment efforts for both exempt and nonexempt employees
  • New employee orientations, reference checks, and pre-employment tests
  • Benefits administration, including claims resolution, payments, and change reporting
  • Records, logs, and other report maintenance pertaining to human resources
  • Organizational training and development
  • Maintenance of resources information system records
  • Maintenance of employee directory

Payroll Clerk Jobs

Payroll clerks keep accurate and up-to-date records on employee time and payroll. Their work involves maintaining records for time worked, production, and commissions. They must also post wages and deductions and communicate with the payroll company for the preparation and distribution of paychecks.

Other responsibilities of payroll clerks include:

  • Compiling payroll data, including vacation time, insurance, and 401K deductions
  • Reviewing the downloaded information from electronic time clocks to ensure accuracy
  • Processing payroll data 

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