4 answers

What do you do in Human Resources?

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What are the responsibilities of someone working in HR and what can you expect your day to look like? #business #human-resources #hr #hr-consulting

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4 answers

Aijaz’s Answer

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Human resources is a somewhat vague term that doesn't capture well the scope of the duties in the department. While human resources staff handles many of the matters pertaining to the employees of a company, such as recruiting and benefits management, they also work with management to help develop long-term strategies for the growth and development of a company. HR departments often act as a middleman between employees and management and should be where employees go for basic company information.


Hiring


The first point of contact a prospective employee has with a company is generally through the HR department. Specific duties vary depending on the size of the company and department, but HR typically places advertisements for new employees and may attend job fairs and handle other recruiting duties. Staff will screen resumes, check references and perform any necessary background checks, and often conduct first interviews with applicants, coordinating follow-up interviews with other company departments and managers. HR performs orientations of new hires, informing them of policies, procedures, benefits and other relevant information.


Compensation


Some companies offer new employees letters of employment or employee contracts, which are drafted by HR staff. In some companies, particularly small businesses, HR will take on some payroll duties, such as tracking vacation time and pay, maintaining a holiday schedule, creating policies on flexible work hours and updating records when employees are promoted or transfer departments. Employee benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, transportation subsidies and other perks, are considered part of the overall compensation package and are administered by the HR department. In the big picture, HR monitors salary and wages within the company's industry to ensure compensation remains competitive. The department also helps management map out pay structures within the company.


Employee Relations and Performance


In addition to the initial training in company policies, the HR department often helps coordinate training and mentoring programs to further develop employee skills. Training programs may be developed in-house, depending on the resources within the company, or might be outsourced. HR staff may play a role in employee performance reviews, handle employee complaints, help resolve disputes and monitor employee remediation programs. For companies with union employees, HR often oversees union contracts and assists management with union negotiations. Many companies offer employee assistance programs that provide counseling and help for a variety of personal issues. While the programs are generally outsourced in small businesses, the HR department monitors compliance, contract and privacy issues with the organization handling the program.


Compliance


A number of compliance issues are important for a company to monitor, regardless of size. The HR department keeps track of federal and state laws regulating benefits and compensation, such as the Family Medical Leave Act and laws regarding overtime. The department also is tasked with ensuring a company complies with the federal regulations of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, including auditing and reporting duties. It also typically handles disputes between employees, or any claims of sexual harassment or workers' compensation injuries.

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Shana’s Answer

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HI Nicole - I noticed you are in Ontario, Canada. Which is my neighbourhood. I have been working in HR for over 25 years and can tell you my days are never really the same. I am a generalist - which pretty much means I do a little bit of everything - recruiting, benefits, health & safety, employee relations, performance management, compliance, HRIS, and the list goes on.


A career in HR can be rewarding and frustrating all at the same time. Some days are great - you can be hiring a lot of people, doing positive recognition programs or events or helping employees through a hard situation. Some of what we do is frustrating- it's never easy to fire someone or talk to someone who's performance needs improving. But on average, I find HR to be positive.


If you really want to see HR first hand, talk to your professors and they might have contacts with HR you can talk with. Or talk to someone in HR at your school and ask what their day is like. You can even contact HR professionals and ask if they have time to talk to you.


Just know that HR in school is pretty different than actually practicing HR in the corporate world.

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Angela’s Answer

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As other answers indicate, an HR Generalist does work in all the different facets of HR, like staffing, training, onboarding, compensation, performance, etc. Larger companies break out HR function and have business partners, or specialists that may focus on only 1-2 of the facets. Strategic planning and data analysis are a future-focus of HR and would be a great edge entering the field or taking skills to the next level.

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Dawn’s Answer

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It depends on many factors. In a larger company like AT&T, you have Generalist roles that handle a little bit of everything from strategic direction for an organization to items like annual compensation, performance reviews, and talent reviews. We partner with our centers of excellence like Staffing and the Employee Relations Managers to keep the clients we support running smoothly. We know and understand policies and procedures in all areas from benefits to compensation to our code of business conduct. This differs from the specialized groups like Benefits who may manage things like our vendor relationships with health, 401(k), etc. or our Staffing Group that helps us get our positions filled. In smaller companies, there may be one person that handles all of this.

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