Organizational Wellness

What Does an HR Manager Do? Six Key Functions and Responsibilities

Sep 9, 2023
Last Updated May 22, 2024

It’s incredible how forgetting one simple ingredient in a recipe can render the entire dish obsolete. That’s all it takes for your bread to come out flat or your soup to stay thin. Ever accidentally swapped salt for sugar, or cumin for cinnamon? Your meal will go from mouth-watering to “more water, please.”

In this way, job functions and responsibilities are like cooking. Each role needs to carry out their duties, without any mixups, or they risk the success of the wider meal — organizational success.

Every company’s human resource management (HRM) “recipe” will look slightly different, depending on their company size and objectives. But, at its core, HRM is all about managing a company’s human capital to progress the company’s goals. The foundation responsibilities of an HR manager advance that mission by keeping the organization full of engaged, talented people.


  1. Recruiting and Hiring

Whether they’re scouring resumes, finalizing job descriptions, conducting initial screenings, or putting together a total rewards package, HR leaders carry the weight of attracting candidates. You’re responsible for putting together a viable talent acquisition strategy in order to fill the company’s recruitment pipeline with top candidates.

Some aspects of recruitment and talent acquisition that HR oversees include:

  • Employer branding: The human resource department usually has the responsibility of promoting the employer’s brand, both by fostering a positive internal culture and by promoting that culture externally. This is a critical function, too, since a Glassdoor report found that 50% of candidates won’t work for a company with a poor reputation, even for more money.
  • Employee referral program: Some companies offer an employee referral program, which rewards staffers for recommending high-quality candidates. Since these referrals come with personal endorsements, it can help you pair top talent for open roles.
  • A great candidate experience: HR is responsible for fostering positive interactions with potential hires, from the initial application to the final offer letter. This includes everything they communicate with candidates and the overall impression they give of how the company operates.

  1. Onboarding

Human resource teams are also responsible for making sure that new hires have all the information they need to start their job successfully — from understanding company values to meeting their colleagues and getting set up with technology. For onboarding, an HR manager might:

  • Review the employee handbook: This is a key document for HR to review with new hires, as it outlines the company policies and code of conduct.
  • Organize orientation activities: These activities help new employees get familiar with their team and the company culture. From company tours to icebreaker sessions, an HR manager will make sure all incoming employees are welcomed warmly into their new roles.
  • Go over health and safety policies: HR professionals help make sure that new hires understand all safety regulations and emergency protocols. They also review other job-related safety policies, like equipment safety.

HR helps create an engaging work environment where learning is made fun and easy. They make sure that everyone has had the chance to grasp all there is about their roles, so that new employees can work up to full capacity.

  1. Benefits Management

As an HR leader, you’ll craft benefits and compensation plans for your organization that are up to date and reflect the needs of employees. This ranges from medical insurance to pensions, and HR managers are in charge of making sure those vital perks leave everyone feeling happy, healthy, and secure as possible.  Benefits plans can include:

It’s a good idea to periodically review existing benefit programs to make sure they provide sufficient coverage to your employees. Benefits are a huge consideration and incentive for workers and carry a lot of value when it comes to deciding where to work., Eight-eight percent of employees would consider a job with better healthcare benefits over a higher-paying position, according to a Fractl survey of 2,000 people.

  1. Employee Relations

Toxic workplaces exist, but an effective, knowledgeable HR department can prevent this by helping resolve conflicts. That’s where employee relations come in. Human resource experts in this field are able to use their skills to find the root cause of any dispute, assess the consequences of any action, weigh in with soft skills like empathy and understanding, and bring both sides together as amicably as possible.

HR leaders handle employee relations by:

  • Conducting investigations: Whenever an employee lodges a complaint or reports harassment, HR steps in to investigate. They need to be able to interview witnesses and take down written statements while maintaining confidentiality.
  • Mediating conflicts: In some cases, it’s not enough for HR to just listen to both sides — they may also have to get involved in the discussion. HR managers can use their conflict resolution skills to help both parties come to a resolution that everyone is happy with.
  • Developing policies: An HR manager must also take part in creating company protocols and programming — from diversity initiatives to sexual harassment training — in order to ensure that everyone feels safe and included at work.

  1. Labor Law Compliance

As the HR manager, you have the important responsibility of ensuring that your company is compliant with employment laws and regulations. It’s like being a referee in a sports tournament, since you make sure everyone plays by the rules. Staying on top of all the ever-changing legislation isn’t the easiest task in the world, but it’s essential for keeping businesses on the right side of the law.

Some specific areas where HR managers need to be aware of federal and local laws include:

  • Minimum wage
  • Overtime pay
  • Equal employment opportunity
  • Employee discrimination and harassment protections
  • Family and medical leave laws
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Meal and rest breaks

While it can seem daunting at first, doing your due diligence and developing an effective compliance strategy will help you avoid inconvenient legal dramas down the road — an effort that will certainly be appreciated in any workplace.

  1. Performance Management

One of the core duties of human resources teams is managing employee performance. They look to ensure everyone is on track and meeting goals, by working closely with each team member’s supervisors to help them achieve their objectives.

Some ways that the human resource team spearheads performance management across the organization include:

  • Training and development: HR leaders help develop employee training programs to equip staffers with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. They also get involved in career development, by establishing pathways for team members to upskill or connect with mentors.
  • Performance reviews: HR usually creates and oversees the performance review process. This may include evaluation forms, feedback documentation, and meetings between employees and managers.
  • Succession planning: Human resources will work with managers to find and develop the next generation of company leadership and mid-managers. They help make sure that teams have continuity and high-level expertise even when employees move on or get promoted.
  • Performance improvement: If an employee is struggling to meet expectations, HR will step in and help. They’ll look for solutions that everyone can feel comfortable with, such as additional training or reassigning tasks to better suit the employee’s strengths.
  • Recognition: HR also looks for ways to recognize employees who have been especially successful. Whether it’s offering bonuses or shouting out team members for their accomplishments, HR plays an important role in creating a culture of positivity and recognition.

Carry Out Key HR Functions With a Standout Wellness Package

While employee benefits only cover one responsibility of an HR manager, they impact on other human resource functions. Your benefits package can boost your employer brand to help with recruitment and acquisition. It can keep current employees engaged to help with retention efforts. And the benefits you offer can impact the health and wellbeing of your workforce, helping them stay fit and rested so they can perform at their best.

Talk to one of our Wellbeing Specialists today to find out about how you can enhance your wellness program to deliver on the core functions of the HR department!

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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