What Does an HR Manager Do? Roles and Job Description

Interested in getting an overview of an HR manager’s job description, responsibilities, and expectations?

The HR manager’s role is crucial to every organization that employs people — in other words, to almost every company in the world. 

Successful human resources managers support an organization’s growth and culture through exceptional staffing, training, compensation, and employee relations operations.

What Does an HR Manager Do?

Human resources are responsible for coordinating payroll processing, employee development, benefits administration, labor laws regulation, and recruiting processes while conducting miscellaneous administrative tasks and ensuring employees’ wellness.

Nearly every company has an HR manager, and some even have a few of them. HR manager’s role, however, differs significantly from company to company. 

Job responsibilities vary depending on the organization’s size and human resources team structure. 

In large companies, human resources managers tend to coordinate the efforts of other HR professionals who are focused on each specific function within the department. They manage not only projects but also people.

The role of HR managers who work in smaller companies, on the other hand, tend to have a more hands-on approach when it comes to implementation. Since there are fewer people on the team, they end up owning many responsibilities, from end to end. This requires not only excellent time management skills and some creativity, but also extensive knowledge.

In fact, regardless of the company’s character, every HR manager is required to have a thorough knowledge of their field. After all, they are responsible for making critical decisions and one wrong judgment can have serious consequences.

HR Manager Job Description

Since every company has different needs, every specific position will carry different duties and will require different qualifications.

A fast-growing organization that will soon need to hire several new team members, for example, might need a HR manager that has vast experience in recruiting and staffing. While a small business might need a human resources manager who is on top of local and state labor laws.

But to give you an idea of the role’s nature, I will share the most common job requirements, in terms of background and skills, and the most common job responsibilities.

HR Manager Job Responsibilities

The five main responsibilities involved in the HR manager job description include:

  1. recruit new employees
  2. manage compensation and benefits
  3. lead training and development
  4. monitor employment laws
  5. coordinate employee wellness

I will break down each of these five functions in order to give you a better idea of what are the role’s job responsibilities:

Staffing & Recruiting Responsibilities

  • Guide and inform hiring managers on candidate selection during interview processes
  • Organize company’s work structure and advise adjustments when necessary
  • Update job descriptions for all current employees
  • Establish screening and interviewing processes
  • Conduct and analyze exit interviews and make actionable recommendations based on insights

Compensation and Benefits Responsibilities

  • Create an employee compensation plan based on local, state, and federal statistics and data 
  • Leverage HR software to optimize payroll and employee benefits administration
  • Develop an employee benefits package for various employee groups, including remote and on-site employees
  • Prepare payroll budgets and implement revisions on the employment payment plan
  • Supervise employees’ bonuses, leaves, and absences administration

Training and Development Responsibilities

  • Work with departments’ managers to assess training needs
  • Develop and apply efficient training programs and evaluate results
  • Create and manage a performance review system to drive employee development
  • Use effective learning methods, such as AI, VR, and machine learning as training facilitators
  • Organize and schedule seminars, workshops, and conferences based on each department’s needs
  • Prepare a comprehensive new employee orientation and engaging new staff onboarding
  • Design training sessions for sensitive subjects such as sexual harassment and diversity & inclusion (DI)
  • Introduce and manage career development and mentorship programs across all company’s departments

Labor Law and Regulations Responsibilities

  • Prepare, update, and enforce human resource policies and procedures
  • Monitor and implement applicable human resource federal and state requirements to ensure legal compliance 
  • Conduct investigations on employees’ records and backgrounds to protect the company
  • Represent the organization at hearings when necessary
  • Develop and implement HR strategies and initiatives aligned with the overall business strategy
  • Retain historical human resource records by designing an effective filing system and keeping past and current records

Employee Wellness and Safety Responsibilities

  • Schedule and conduct job evaluations and take action to improve employees experience
  • Recommend adjustments on office space to improve employees satisfaction and performance
  • Nurture a positive, pleasant, and welcoming working environment through team building activities
  • Design and implement risk management procedures and execute best practices to ensure workplace safety
  • Bridge management and employee relations by addressing demands, grievances or other issues
  • Take necessary actions to manage conflict, both internal and external
  • Use influence and coaching skills to cultivate a culture that reflects the company’s culture and core values

HR Manager Job Requirements

The job requirements are based on the responsibilities that the HR manager will have. If the job has a focus on recruiting, the ideal candidate will have at least a few years of experience leading hiring processes. If the job entails a bit of every HR function, the candidate should have a proven track record driving results in a wide spectrum of areas.

With that, these are the job requirements you will see in a typical HR manager position: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management, Business Administration, or related field
  • 5+ years of experience working in the human resources field
  • 3+ years of experience in labor relations and compliance
  • 2+ experience managing compensation and benefits programs 
  • 2+ years implementing tactics to improve performance management
  • Ability to work with a human resource information system (HRIS)
  • Ability to develop and manage interpersonal relationships at all levels of the company
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Capacity to apply discretion and maintain a high level of confidentiality when handling sensitive information
  • Knowledge of federal labor laws

HR Manager Preferred Qualifications

There are certain aspects, such as HR certification, that don’t tend to be required in HR manager positions but make candidates stronger. These are some of the preferred qualifications for HR manager jobs:

  • Human resources certification (PHR or SHRM)
  • Knowledge of state, and local laws governing employee relations practices
  • Demonstrable experience with human resources metrics and knowledge of HR databases
  • Pragmatic experience with compensation planning, negotiation, and implementation
  • Experience leading Diversity & Inclusion initiatives
  • Working knowledge of employment regulations (ADA, EEO, FMLA, FLSA) and the ability to appropriately spot employment risk issues
  • Ability to travel as needed
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment and to navigate leaders through a variety of organizational changes.

Path to Becoming a HR Manager

In general, human resources managers need at least five years of experience in the field before they become qualified to successfully perform the duties of the job.

Most HR managers worked as HR generalists, HR coordinators, HR specialists, and even as recruiters, before becoming human resources managers. The job description of all these other positions includes duties that prepare individuals for the HR manager’s responsibilities.

In addition, while working in other roles within the HR field, these individuals have the opportunity to work with an HR manager, which is a great opportunity to ask questions and be mentored.

Getting the foot in the door with entry-level HR positions is also a way to become eligible to get certified as an HR professional since most certification institutions require work experience.

Leverage the HR Manager Job Description to Reach Your Goal

Whether you need to hire an HR manager, become an HR manager, or get the HR manager dream job, understanding what goes into an HR manager job description is a crucial step to achieving your goal.

If you are looking for a talented human resources manager, I recommend understanding what exactly are your organization’s goals, department’s needs and writing an HR manager job description that outlines very specific responsibilities and qualification requirements.

If you are on the other side, looking for the right HR manager position for you, I recommend browsing through a job portal and defining what would be your perfect HR manager position.

Once you have that clear, go through the job description and transform it into a checklist. Invest time making sure you have all the requirements, and voila, you will become the perfect candidate.

Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is a business strategy consultant and founder. He's written several world-recognized books on software configuration, speaks Spanish, ballroom dances, and owns The Product Company and Squibler.