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What does the day in an Human Resource Manager look like?

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Highland Valley’s Answer

I have been an HR generalist and an HR manager for many decades. Every day is different. You may arrive at the office planning to work on certain things, but your day can and will change with unexpected interruptions so you have to be flexible. I often have an employee who wants to speak with me because they are upset about something and look to me for answers or to find a solution. Sometimes their complaint is legitimate and sometimes it is not. Sometimes it is a question I can answer or a problem I can solve myself, often I have to go to my supervisor for help in the resolution. I often have to involve the employee's supervisor in the resolution.

In addition, I spend time updating databases with employee information. I may be working on a project such as updating the policy manual or coming up with a better payroll software. Maybe I am proposing a more effective way to do performance reviews. Maybe I am doing a training for employees on sexual harassment or HIPAA. Maybe I am working on keeping the agency compliant with laws associated with the Affordable Care Act or new hire reporting to the state. I will probably be attending scheduled meetings with my supervisor. I may be holding a discipline meeting with an employee and their supervisor. I may be interviewing candidates for an open position or attending a recruiting event in the community. I may be recruiting on internet job boards. I may be doing the many tasks it takes to process an employee who is leaving or process an employee who is just starting with us. I may be rewriting a job description or writing a new job description for a new position.

I may be planning a company event such as an employee party or a fundraising event. I may be working on employee recognition programs, sending employee birthday cards and anniversary cards. I may be decorating the office for a holiday. I may be updated the company intranet. If an employee had an on-site accident, I may be filing a workers' compensation report. I may be working on reports for executives or the Board of Directors who want information on accidents or turnover or just general employment statistics. I may be reading HR resources on the internet to updated myself on new employment laws that will affect the company.

A day in the life of an HR manager is always busy, sometimes stressful, sometimes thankless and sometimes rewarding. The best personality for an HR manager is someone who is flexible, smart, adaptable, proactive and someone who has a broad range of skills. You have to have the mindset of "whatever it takes for the good of the company".
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Highland Valley’s Answer

I have been an HR generalist and an HR manager for many decades. Every day is different. You may arrive at the office planning to work on certain things, but your day can and will change with unexpected interruptions so you have to be flexible. I often have an employee who wants to speak with me because they are upset about something and look to me for answers or to find a solution. Sometimes their complaint is legitimate and sometimes it is not. Sometimes it is a question I can answer or a problem I can solve myself, often I have to go to my supervisor for help in the resolution. I often have to involve the employee's supervisor in the resolution.

In addition, I spend time updating databases with employee information. I may be working on a project such as updating the policy manual or coming up with a better payroll software. Maybe I am proposing a more effective way to do performance reviews. Maybe I am doing a training for employees on sexual harassment or HIPAA. Maybe I am working on keeping the agency compliant with laws associated with the Affordable Care Act or new hire reporting to the state. I will probably be attending scheduled meetings with my supervisor. I may be holding a discipline meeting with an employee and their supervisor. I may be interviewing candidates for an open position or attending a recruiting event in the community. I may be recruiting on internet job boards. I may be doing the many tasks it takes to process an employee who is leaving or process an employee who is just starting with us. I may be rewriting a job description or writing a new job description for a new position.

I may be planning a company event such as an employee party or a fundraising event. I may be working on employee recognition programs, sending employee birthday cards and anniversary cards. I may be decorating the office for a holiday. I may be updated the company intranet. If an employee had an on-site accident, I may be filing a workers' compensation report. I may be working on reports for executives or the Board of Directors who want information on accidents or turnover or just general employment statistics. I may be reading HR resources on the internet to updated myself on new employment laws that will affect the company.

A day in the life of an HR manager is always busy, sometimes stressful, sometimes thankless and sometimes rewarding. The best personality for an HR manager is someone who is flexible, smart, adaptable, proactive and someone who has a broad range of skills. You have to have the mindset of "whatever it takes for the good of the company".
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Andrea’s Answer

I've been an HR Manager for 2 weeks now with a global team of 12. I have been with the same company in HR for almost 5 years and I can honestly say it depends on the industry, company, and the HR team itself.

Some days are used for coaching and mentoring, some days for mostly escalations, and other days can be for strategic project work. You will be busier, you will be in more meetings, and you will have get more emails than an individual contributor. The main thing to learn, which I still am is to find a good balance of being comfortable delegating tasks while not overloading your employees.

Most days you will be helping manage or provide guidance on the following topics: Compliance, Compensation, Benefits, Training, Employee Experience, Employee Relations
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James’s Answer

Hi Lauren,

I have had several positions within Human Resources at a tech company for around 5 years. As Cathy and Sheila mentioned, each day as an HR Manager may look a little different. The size of the company and industry you work in will be a major influence for the type of work you do and the people you will work with.

A lot of it comes down to the leaders that HR Managers support. Throughout the year, you will help leaders make decisions that affect their team members and organization - whether that is guiding them through hiring & rewarding employees, planning events, or helping lead projects related to talent in the company.

I would also mention that the field of HR is changing at a fast pace. Many successful HR Managers are comfortable with handling data and reporting. These types of skills are growing in importance - along with people skills that will always be valuable in this profession. Overall, it is a great time to be in HR and I highly recommend it!

James recommends the following next steps:

Look for online course(s) in HR Management
Research HR Manager jobs
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Jessica’s Answer

No day looks the same! That's the fun part of working with people. HR is a great career for those who are invested in other peoples careers and success. You get to learn about lots of different businesses/industries as your client groups change throughout your career, while helping them navigate the world of people in the workplace!
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Michelle’s Answer

I have been in Human Resources Management for over two years now. I do everything from Onboarding software, payroll, hiring, daily reports, accounting, making sure our business is up to date with OSHA and so much more. I truly love my job and enjoy that every day is different. My favorite part of my job is communicating with employees on a daily basis, no matter what it may be. I work for a company of about 50 employees. I am the only one in my department. Some days can be challenging, but what career doesn’t?! Best decision of my life to choose this career field!
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Pleshette’s Answer

The day varies. Since the pandemic, I have spent most of my time on Video Conference calls. The other time, is spent with my leaders coaching and mentoring them on their leadership team.
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Sheila M.’s Answer

Human Resource Managers take care of the employees in the business, they are often very busy, taking care of issues that occur day-to-day, as it relates to staffing, payroll, employee personal care. A HR Manager should be well versed in the company policies and procedures and aware of any national, state and local laws that may relate to the business of the employer. There isn't much downtime for a HR Manager but the job is very rewarding.
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Keith’s Answer

It depends what role you do in HR and also the sector you work in . Those two things will dictate the whether your role is more predictable and planned as oppose to fire fighting reactive work. HR roles that directly support a business like HR Manager or HR Business Partner tend to be a balance of both. The key to being an HR professional is the ability to balance the unpredictable issues/crises that land on your desk with more strategic work that focuses on the longer term development of the business.
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Roopinder’s Answer

A day in the life of a human resources manager can vary across companies. If the role of the HRM is that of an HR "generalist" (typically in organizations that *do not* have a Center of Excellence and/or HR Shared Services model), the HRM would be involved in a multitude of activities - across payroll, associate relations, talent acquisition, policy development, benefits administration, career development, etc. The role of the HRM in such a model can include a fair amount of administration. In contract, within organizations that have an HR shared services & COE model, the HRM spends a heavier amount of time on "strategic" support - which includes coaching of leaders, identifying and troubleshooting organization structure issues, and providing input into key business decisions. This model is more common in mid-size to large organizations.
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Amber’s Answer

If you like a lot of variety and spontaneity in your day then HR would be a good field. Although there is a lot of strategic and proactive projects you can work on, a lot of HR is reactive. Many times I'll wake up in the day thinking I'll be doing ABC but by the end of the day I did XYZ. It's an extremely rewarding job with a lot of challenges. Sometimes the challenges can be really hard to be a part of when they affect people's livelihood, but you can also be responsible for making huge improvements in the lives of the employees which makes the hard days worth it.
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