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What are the Roles of HR managers?


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July 13, 2009 11:29AM

The role of the HR professional is changing. In the past, HR managers were often viewed as the systematizing, policing arm of executive management. Their role was more closely aligned with personnel and administration functions that were viewed by the organization as paperwork. When you consider that the initial HR function, in many companies, comes out of the administration or finance department because hiring employees, paying employees, and dealing with benefits were the organization's first HR needs, this is not surprising. In this role, the HR professional served executive agendas well, but was frequently viewed as a road block by much of the rest of the organization. While some need for this role occasionally remains - you wouldn't want every manager putting his own spin on a sexual harassment policy, as an example - much of the HR role is transforming itself. The role of the HR manager must parallel the needs of his or her changing organization. Successful organizations are becoming more adaptable, resilient, quick to change direction, and customer-centered. Within this environment, the HR professional, who is considered necessary by line managers, is a strategic partner, an employee sponsor or advocate and a change mentor. At the same time, especially the HR Generalist, still has responsibility for employee benefits administration, often payroll, and employee paperwork, especially in the absence of an HR Assistant. Depending on the size of the organization, the HR manager has responsibility for all of the functions that deal with the needs and activities of the organization's people including these areas of responsibility. * Recruiting. * Hiring. * Training. * Organization Development. * Communication. * Performance Management. * Coaching. * Policy Recommendation. * Salary and Benefits. * Team Building. * Employee Relations. * Leadership. With all of this in mind, in Human Resource Champions, Dave Ulrich, one of the best thinkers and writers in the HR field today, and a professor at the University of Michigan, recommends three additional roles for the HR manager.