What is a HR Manager?

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In small to medium sized companies, HR managers tend to be responsible for all Human Resources activities within the business, of which we will expand a little in the following section.

In larger companies, the HR manager may work across several sites in conjunction with other HR managers across the business, as well as the HR director.

However, most modern companies will only employ one HR manager across several sites in order to remain 'lean', and apart from the support of the HR director, they will be responsible for all Human Resources activities across these various sites.

What does a HR manager do?

While in smaller companies, HR managers will often take on many of the tasks performed by a HR advisor, they will most commonly be involved with the following tasks:

  • Creating and implementing company policies and procedures – often a HR advisor may create these policies, but they will all require management revision and sign-off
  • Ensuring that the company's HR budget is allocated effectively and that it is fully adhered to. In the absence of a HR director, the manager may also be responsible for actually setting the initial budget
  • In the absence of a HR director, the HR manager may also be responsible for planning and implementing the future HR strategy of the business. For example, the role may include tracking global trends to ensure that the company's hiring process remains effective for up to 3-5 years in the future
  • Liaising with inter-departmental senior managers to ensure that all company policies are being adhered to across the business
  • Undertaking investigatory/disciplinary meetings, with the authorization to take relevant disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal

As with many of the various HR roles, the above tasks are but a handful of those which a successful HR manager will undertake on a daily basis. However, these tasks should serve to give you an indication of the authority and responsibility which HR managers usually command within a business.

Who does the HR manager report to?

The HR manager most commonly reports directly to the HR director, who will set the company's HR budget for the following twelve months, and update the manager on any strategic decisions which will require implementing within the business.

Depending upon the nature of the business, this can be either a close working relationship with frequent communication and updates, or a less infrequent relationship, whereby the director will deliver his expectations to the manager, and then allow him to implement these at his own discretion.

Who reports to a HR manager?

In larger companies, the HR manager will often have a team of reports, including HR advisors, HR generalists, clerical assistants and consultants. While the manager will not always be directly involved with the daily undertakings of all the staff within their department, they will retain overall responsibility for the effectiveness, efficiency and outputs of their team.

As with any successful team, the HR manager will most often concentrate his efforts on training and improving their direct reports (HR advisors, for example), and then allowing these direct reports to distribute further work tasks amongst the larger team.

It should also be remembered that HR managers are directly responsible for all HR related matters across the business, and they often have the authority to overrule other senior managers in employee-related matters.

For this reason, it is fair to say that the HR manager role is one which normally commands a great deal of respect and compliance across each individual department of the business at large.

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