Human resource management (HRM) is a broad topic that covers many activities within a company. As such, there are many career options if you’re considering HR as a career or if you’re already working in an HR role and wondering about the other options available.
What is HRM?
Broadly speaking, the HR department is responsible for the lifecycle of an employee in a company from initial recruitment to departure. Unfortunately, these are the two functions of HR that many people focus on, but HRM covers many rewarding activities with the people in a business.
Great businesses understand that people are an essential part of every decision that affects an organisation. Therefore, how they react and perform their daily duties directly impacts the company’s bottom line. In that sense, HRM is the art of managing the relationship between a company and its employees.
HR is a department that grows with a business. In the early stages of a company’s life, it may be outsourced to a specialist firm of HR professionals who can advise on issues as they arise, create HR policy documents, contracts, and make sure the company is compliant.
However, as the company grows, it will need in-house HR professionals to keep them compliant and help to develop all the staff. Successful businesses have thriving HR departments and know that when employees are supported and well-trained, they help the company become even more successful.
What does an HR department do?
Because the daily activities of the HR team are so diverse, it helps to categorise their responsibilities into three broad areas—managerial, operational, and advisory.
At the managerial level, HR will work with the SMT to understand the current and future staffing levels then create a plan to facilitate the company’s growth strategy. In addition, all the company policies and employee handbooks are created and published by the HR team.
HR will also work with the senior leadership team or board to create the company culture and cascade it through the layers of management to all areas of the business.
HR will focus heavily on talent attraction and recruiting the best people into the business. They will determine the method of recruitment, i.e. in-house or outsource to a recruitment agency. When dealing with agencies, they will negotiate and agree on the terms of business and may create a preferred suppliers list (PSL) for specialist roles.
During the recruitment process, HR will create the job brief and description (in conjunction with the functional line manager), then use this brief when assessing potential candidates.
On appointment, the HR department is responsible for new employee onboarding and settling them into the business as quickly as possible.
As the new hire settles into the business, HR will work with them on setting individual goals and targets (often through their line manager) and take the overall responsibility for the annual employee appraisals.
Companies have learned that investing in their employees brings massive dividends regarding employee engagement, recruitment, staff retention, and overall profitability. As such, L&D (Learning & Development) has become a core function of the HR department, with many HR professionals specialising in that area.
Payroll, salary scales and employee benefits usually fall under the wing of the HR department. And, again, companies have learned the importance of monitoring salary bands in the open marketplace to make sure their staff aren’t tempted away by a higher salary. However, studies show that the additional benefits a company gives its employees can be the deciding factor. Companies that go beyond the statutory requirements for holidays, pension, sick pay etc., tend to attract and retain staff well.
HR work with the top level of the business to advise on the statutory policies the company must have in place. In addition, they will keep updated on changes in employment legislation and make sure the company is fully compliant.
In their advisory capacity, HR work with the department heads and line managers to help define job roles and performance management metrics.
As you can see, HR is a critical department within a growing business, and there is a broad range of roles and career paths you can take.
Here are the typical roles and approximate average salaries you can expect:
|European HR Director
|Assistant Director of HR
|Head of HR Europe
|Head of HR
|Senior HR Business Manager
|HR Business Partner
|HR Team Leader
|HR Advisor/HR Officer
|Head of L&D
|Recruitment / TA Manager
|HR Systems Analyst