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What is a HR Director?

Published on: 24 Aug 2015

HR directors are ultimately responsible for all Human Resources activities within a business. Often, this will include working across various sites to ensure that all company strategies, policies and procedures are being implemented correctly and effectively, and ensuring that the company is legally compliant with all HR related legislation.

While HR directors will not normally become involved in the daily undertakings of the HR departments, they will usually remain a constant point of contact for HR managers and advisors, and are able to offer the experience, support and advice which may be otherwise missing in the HR department.

Needless to say, the position of HR director is one of enormous responsibility and authority within the business, as directors will ultimately answer directly to the CEO of the business on all HR related matters.

What does a HR director do?

While in smaller companies, HR directors may often take on many of the tasks normally undertaken by HR managers, in larger companies they are usually responsible for the overall strategy and budgeting of the HR department.

Their responsibilities are likely to include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Provide strategic information to the business on global hiring trends, HR related developments and technological advances, etc.
  • Monitoring statistics such as sickness/absence levels across the company and liaising with the HR manager to ensure that these figures are reduced/improved
  • Overseeing the HR consequences of company takeovers, redundancies and buy-outs
  • Allocating the yearly budget for the HR department, and ensuring that this is used effectively and within monetary constraints
  • Attending HR seminars/conferences/networking events as the public face of the company's HR responsibilities
  • Maintain succession plans for each business department, along with exit strategies and hiring policies
  • Act as an experienced point of contact for HR managers and advisors within the business on a daily basis

Who does a HR director report to?

HR directors most commonly report directly to the company's CEO, along with other departmental directors employed by the business. 

On occasion they may also report directly to the shareholders of the business, to discuss changes in HR legislation and the legal implications of failing to meet these legislative requirements.

As the most senior Human Resources position within a business, the HR director will normally be solely responsible for the successes and failings of their department over any given period of time at shareholder level.

Therefore, they will also often liaise/report to other external parties when discrepancies occur within the business. These parties may include recognized bodies such as the HSE, the police, and parliamentary bodies, such as immigration control, etc.

Who reports to a HR director?

The HR director is usually the most senior HR position within a company, and although his only direct reports are likely to be the company's HR managers, he will also be fully responsible for the department's team of HR advisors, generalists, clerical assistants and consultants.

While the HR director is likely to spend much of his time liaising directly with the HR manager, he will be responsible for ensuring that his overall strategic overview and budgetary requirements are communicated and implemented by the HR team at large.

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