Overview of HR role

This article is a quick overview of the numerous tasks, responsibilities and demands that HR professionals may have to deal with.

The HR role can be divided up as follows:
HR professionals — carrying a variety of titles (Employee Relations Manager, People Manager, HR Manager, Human Resources Manager, etc) — have many and varied roles across business and industry generally.
This article is a quick overview of the numerous tasks, responsibilities and demands that HR professionals may have to deal with.
Why bother with such an exercise? In the first place, it demonstrates the many aspects of people management that have to be considered. Additionally, the overview notes some functions that those currently in roles with HR responsibilities may not have considered or may wish to possibly adopt or reorganise in their work situations.
Dividing the role of HR/People Management professionals into these categories emphasises the broad demands that can be placed on these professionals. It also implicitly suggests a career path or a number of career paths that can be pursued.
The list below comprehends most of what is considered HR responsibilities. However, there would be businesses that go outside the circle and structure the HR function is a different way from the usual. This fact simply demonstrates the complexity and potential of the role. The categories are listed alphabetically.
  • Administration and day to day operations (eg wage and salary administration) — management and organisation — a critical function that has to be right
Analysis and reporting
  • Records and statistics — relevant information on the provision of labour and the many aspects of that — good information is important in making good decisions
  • Benchmarking re employee performance — business needs to know what are the goals
  • Benchmarking business re employee management — HR should test its own performance
  • Forecasting and predicting re staff and business issues — being ahead of competitors leads to success
Employment contracts, conditions and disputes
  • Employment conditions — 'packaging' and innovation
  • Negotiation re: contracts with employees and others providing labour
  • Answering employment entitlement queries — a day-to-day requirement
  • Salary packaging
  • Superannuation — entitlements, advice and guidance
Industrial relations
  • Negotiating and liaising with unions
  • Dispute resolution — industrial action — collective action — the management of these events with the least damage to the business
  • Dispute resolution — individuals' issues and problems — can involve EEO and other legally sensitive matters
  • Answering industrial relations queries from management and employees
Intra-company communication
  • Liaison between staff and management — an important function in a well-run business
  • Staying in touch with staff and hearing staff — a generally positive exercise that often rests with HR
  • Staff surveys
Legal compliance
  • Legal compliance — very broad requirement — HR focus is obviously re: the supply of labour and employment issues
Personal support re: individual employees
  • Personal support role for individual employees — the extent of this depends on the degree of involvement that the particular business considers appropriate
  • Career planning
  • Balancing work and personal lives re: employees
  • Retirement planning (includes advice on superannuation)
  • Recruitment and induction — a very important function for the success of the business and the employees of the business
Risk management
  • Risk Management culture — a business must be alert to risks
  • Risk management re: the business and employees — specific work should be done to minimise risk and maximise productivity
  • Promoting productivity — the positive side of risk management
  • Managing absenteeism — major loss to business unless well-managed
  • Workers compensation — managing at the worksite end and also liaising with insurers and senior management
Rules and culture
  • Policies and procedures — cut across all areas of employee involvement — they should be consistently reviewed
  • Creating a culture of EEO
  • Creating a culture of OHS
  • Occupational Health and Safety and EEO policies and procedures — both a legal and good governance imperative
  • OHS and EEO reporting and training — necessary elements of the total picture
Staff assessment, job design, performance, remuneration
  • Staff assessment (promotion, demotion, re-direction) — has to be done well with staff support
  • Counselling and managing performance
  • Job design and structure
  • Salary levels and salary packaging
  • Altering contracts to reflect changing role of employees
Strategic role in the business
  • Strategic role — advising top level management — a broad brief — variable depending on how the business perceives the role of HR
  • Management development , succession planning, leadership development, organisational design
  • Organisational development and redesign
  • Planning on various levels — workforce, departmental, unit, individual — a variable — often determined by how the individual professional approaches the HR role
  • Strategic planning — a general call — integrating HR role into the company's business
Termination of employment
  • Managing termination of employment — at all stages from the commencement of employment to its end
  • Retrenchments — both the collective issues and individuals' issues
  • Post-employment responsibilities re employees — issues such as references must be managed properly
  • Spreading the knowledge on 'people management' — delegating and/or handing over certain people management matters to other managers who deal directly with staff
  • Training and innovative ways of using training to keep good people — keeping staff up to speed in their own areas and generally in the business environment in which they operate


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