Human Resources Managers are responsible for the recruitment, development, and welfare of company personnel.
Human resources managers ensure that employees are recruited, managed, and resourced effectively, contributing to the overall efficiency and smooth running of the company. HR managers implement and maintain good policies and practices relating to employee pay, training, and development. They also ensure that good relationships between management staff and their employees are developed and maintained.
Human resources managers typically earn between £18,000 and £25,000, with more experienced ‘personnel managers’ earning upwards of £25,000. Those starting in HR as personnel administrators generally earn a starting salary of between £15,000 and £18,000.
The responsibilities of a Human Resources Manager vary according to the size and nature of the company. In smaller companies HR managers take on all aspects of the job, whereas those employed by larger companies tend to focus on one or two areas of responsibility. However, their typical activities include:
- Advertising jobs in newspapers, magazines, and on the web
- Recruiting employees through interview and selections
- Responding to job applicants
- Planning the company’s future personnel needs
- Referring employees to the company payroll
- Dealing with all issues relating to pay and personnel benefits
- Managing staffing needs
- Managing training programmes and staff development
- Planning weekly staff rotas and ensuring all shifts are fully staffed
- Organising staff counselling services and other needs as necessary
- Disciplining staff and implementing appropriate disciplinary procedures
- Advising management team on matters relating to employment law, pay, and redundancy
- Developing human resources policies and procedures
- Promoting health and safety and equality policies
- Maintaining employee records
- Monitoring and ensuring staff welfare
- Ensuring employment law is followed
- Mediating staff disputes
The qualifications required to be a human resources manager vary according to the nature and size of the company. In general, employers require a good standard of education (GCSES and A Levels) and a desire to work towards a related qualification. The Certificate in HR Administration or the Certificate in Personnel Practice from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development are both useful qualifications to work towards.
Other relevant qualifications include a BTEC HNC/HND in human resource management, business management, or even psychology. Some graduates with a degree in a non-related subject choose to take a post-graduate qualification in human resources management which, whilst not essential, can be an advantage for more competitive human resources roles.
Working in human resources requires individuals to hold a wide range of skills. These include:
- A confident and assertive manner
- An approachable and compassionate nature
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- An awareness of equal opportunities and health and safety issues
- Good leadership and management skills
- A fair and objective approach to all personnel and working situations
- Excellent organisational abilities
- Good attention to detail
- The ability to stay calm in busy and stressful situations
- The ability to handle disciplinary issues appropriately
- Good computer skills
- Good negotiation abilities
- The ability to build good working relationships with and between personnel
- The ability to manage several different tasks at once
- Time management skills
- The ability to listen to problems and respect employee confidentiality
- The ability to work both independently and as part of a team
- The ability to use own initiative
- A good knowledge of employment law and company policies relating to personnel
- The ability to work to deadline
- The ability to take instruction from senior management
- A flexible approach to the job
- A desire to learn and take professional development opportunities when offered
- Patience and good humour
- The ability to act as a mediator when staff conflicts or difficult situations arise
Human resources managers typically work 37.5 hours per week, Monday to Friday, although some roles may involve weekend or evening work. Part-time hours, job shares, and temporary contracts are often available, particularly in larger companies.
Human resources roles are largely office-based, although at times the job may require travel to meetings held off-site, particularly if a company has more than one office. The role can be quite stressful, particularly when there are staffing problems or disciplinary issues to deal with, and human resources managers need to be able to remain calm and in control at all times.
Work experience is just as valuable as relevant qualifications (and in some cases more so). Most employers will require previous experience of working in an office with some form of management/leadership experience being a big advantage. Temping is a good way to get a foot into human resources, as are administrative and clerical-based roles. Evidence of team work and the ability to deal with people is also important, as human resources requires the ability to work effectively with a wide range of people.
With the exception of very small businesses, most companies have someone employed to work specifically in human resources. Large companies, particularly those in the public sector, have several people employed in the personnel and human resources side of the business. Major employers include local authorities, charities, the NHS, corporate, and private sector companies.
Human resources managers are usually trained on the job or are encouraged to take relevant qualifications out of work, offering plenty of opportunities for career progression and professional development. Useful qualifications include: Level 3 Certificate in Personnel Practice, Level 3 Certificate in Recruitment and Selection, and Level 3 Certificate in Employment Relations, Law and Practice. Any of these certificates qualify for Associate Membership of the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development).
There are various work-based training qualifications available, including NVQ 3 in Personnel Support, NVQ 4 in Personnel Management, and NVQ 5 in Personnel Strategy. The highest qualification available in human resources is the CIPD professional development scheme which, divided into four parts, offers graduate membership of the CIPD on completion. With appropriate experience and qualifications, human resources managers may progress into senior management or go into consultancy for recruitment or policy planning.
Also known as…
- Human Resources Officer
What’s it really like?
Lex Peets is 24 and has been working as a Human Resources Manager in the catering department of Sheffield United Football Club for nearly a year. She gives us the inside story …
Before I started working in human resources I was a bar supervisor for the club and was promoted internally within Sheffield United to my current position.
As I work during the week and at the weekend, I have two kinds of ‘typical’ days at work. On weekdays I make sure all new starters are put on the system and sent up to payroll and I deal with any problems relating to pay. I also write references and return them to relevant employers.
I alert every member of staff as to what shifts are available, since it my job to make sure all shifts are fully staffed. I also plan where the staff will be on match days and rota them on as appropriate. I organise recruitment days and reply to people who have applied for a job. This includes interviewing people and following up on interviews.
On match days, I have around 170 staff to check in and sort into their respective areas, so it can be quite hectic. Once that is done, I make sure that everything is running smoothly, that everyone is where they should be, and sort out any problems with staffing, for example I organise alternative arrangements if staff members have failed to turn up for work.
I love working with people, and with so many people working in the catering department there is an eclectic mix! I enjoy looking after people and making sure they are coping well within their work environment. The advice I would give to anyone thinking of doing this role is that you have to like people! Furthermore, you have to be patient, since working with so many different people isn’t always easy.
With regards to career progression, I want to gain a full-time role at my church. At the moment I work part-time in the youth office, and a lot of the skills I’ve learnt during my time at Sheffield United have made me feel at ease doing work in administration and the youth office.
As a final word of advice, I’d say get as much experience in leading and managing people as possible. It’s good to have natural skills in terms of looking after people but you will pick up new techniques and ways of dealing with staff and unusual situations whilst on the job. Knowing how to manage people is essential and, in many circumstances, your role demands you to be a mediator or disciplinarian. It’s important that you are able to do both comfortably.