Human resources usually involves a whole more than just hiring employees and managing their benefits. While those are important duties for the HR practitioner, you’ll usually find yourself knee-deep in many more aspects of the business than you ever imagined. You’ll need to keep up with the many health care changes, be involved directly with the company’s annual planning and budgeting and arrange various training sessions as needed throughout the firm.
Managing the flow of people in and out of your company certainly is on the top of the HR pro’s job description. You often take orders from department heads to fill open positions. And that means developing the advertisement or hiring a recruiting agency, culling through tons of applications and vetting the initial round of candidates. You may even do some of the initial interviewing. Then you’ve got to make sure employees get their proper benefits packages, keep up with vacation days and then do exit interviews when staff members leave. On top of that, as an HR manager, you’ll have your own staff to oversee as well.
HR usually has a seat at the executive table. After all, you manage one of the company’s most important resources – its people. You need to keep up with company policies and goals to fulfill your part of the plans for the business’s growth. You’ll need to create reports about employee turnover, salaries and benefit costs. Leadership looks to you to make recommendations about which insurance company to go with and which employee assistance plan is the most cost effective and beneficial for employees.
All your work isn’t relegated to internal issues either. While you’re working on landing a new, more cost-effective insurance plan for company employees, you may find you need to tap into your negotiation skill-set to get your company the best price. When you use outside recruiters or temp agencies to find additional staff, you‘ve got to clearly communicate with the agency so that you get the most qualified personnel. After all the negotiations, you may need the employee assistance plan to lower your own stress levels.
HR is usually tasked with keeping up with and enforcing local, state and national labor laws. You’ll be the one who has to answer the unemployment claims and check on the immigration status of your employees. When anti-discrimination issues arise – guess who gets to answer the subpoena? You do of course. You’ll need to make sure the company complies with diversity employment rules if you get government contracts and follow all the government and internal rules about screening employees for drug and alcohol use.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."