Human resources (HR) officers are responsible for hiring, developing and looking after employees. As a human resources officer you will develop, advise on and implement policies relating to the effective use of staff in an organization.
HR officers are involved in a range of activities whatever the size or type of business. These cover areas such as:
- conditions of employment;
- equality and diversity;
- negotiation with external work-related agencies;
- working practices.
Employers of HR officers
- small and large private firms;
- the public sector;
- voluntary organizations, such as charities, which may employ both paid staff and volunteers.
- working closely with various departments, increasingly in a consultancy role, assisting line managers to understand and implement policies and procedures;
- promoting equality and diversity as part of the culture of the organization;
- liaising with a range of people involved in policy areas such as staff performance and health and safety;
- recruiting staff, which involves developing job descriptions and person specifications, preparing job adverts, checking application forms, shortlisting, interviewing and selecting candidates;
- developing and implementing policies on issues like working conditions, performance management, equal opportunities, disciplinary procedures and absence management;
- preparing staff handbooks;
- advising on pay and other remuneration issues, including promotion and benefits;
- undertaking regular salary reviews;
- negotiating with staff and their representatives (for example, trade union officials) on issues relating to pay and conditions;
- administering payroll and maintaining employee records;
- interpreting and advising on employment law;
- dealing with grievances and implementing disciplinary procedures;
- developing HR planning strategies, which consider immediate and long-term staff requirements;
- planning and sometimes delivering training – including inductions for new staff;
- analyzing training needs in conjunction with departmental managers.
A degree or diploma in a relevant subject such as HR management or business may be required. The following subjects may be particularly relevant:
- business with languages;
- business or management;
- human resources management;
- social administration.
There are various entry routes into HR but competition is generally fierce for all routes.
- business awareness and management skills;
- organizational skills and the ability to understand detailed information;
- IT and numeracy skills, with strong IT skills required if managing/operating computerized payroll and benefits systems;
- interpersonal skills to form effective working relationships with people at all levels;
- a proven track record of ‘making a difference’;
- the ability to analyze, interpret and explain employment law;
- integrity and approachability, as managers and staff must feel able to discuss sensitive and confidential issues with you;
- curiosity and a willingness to challenge organizational culture where necessary;
- the ability to compile and interpret statistical data and communicate it in a professional and understandable manner;
- influencing and negotiating skills to implement personnel policies;
- potential to handle a leadership role.