What Does an HR Executive Do?

An HR Executive overlooks the entire human resources department and its staff. The position sits at the top of the hierarchy, and they have to ensure that all human resources work proceeds smoothly. In addition, they are directly responsible for ensuring that HR policies are updated and need to predict when the company needs to launch different hiring processes or alter its human resources management approach.

An HR executive performs the most fundamental procedures of the human resources department and handles aspects such as personnel management, social welfare, and the maintenance of HR records. A human resources executive is a crucial member of the HR department, plays an instrumental role in many HR responsibilities, and leads the HR staff to implement various projects.

HR executives also need to be highly proactive and propose changes that will bolster the business’ work environment. As such, an HR executive must focus on retention and constant improvement. Additionally, you need to learn about the position in detail to gain the necessary skills and train to become a skilled HR Executive.

This article discusses HR Executive jobs in detail and explains the critical duties they have to address. If you’re interested in learning more via video, then watch below. Otherwise, skip ahead.

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The HR Executive Role

The responsibilities of HR Executives vary from organization to organization and are also dependent on their industry-specific experience. As a result, companies often prefer hiring an HR executive with experience in similar industries. For example, although a particular HR executive possesses better HR skills than other candidates, a healthcare organization would still go with the other candidate if they have more experience managing and hiring medical staff.

You can divide a human resources executive’s job into three categories. Apart from solid technical human resources knowledge, HR Executives must be competent in each category given below: 

  • Have significant experience in human resources management and business administration
  • Oversee HR staff performance and guide employees towards better performance while ensuring healthy employee relations
  • Possess substantial experience in administrative work such as creating referrals and templates, keeping records, and updating HR policies 
  • Have abilities to make critical strategic decisions as managers

While the nature of the role varies across companies, every HR executive needs to be skilled and experienced enough to run any part of the human resources department, be it recruiting candidates or managing talent programs.

HR Executive vs. HR Manager

Since the HR Manager position is also a senior role within the human resources department, it’s easy to confuse it with the HR Executive role. However, both positions have different scopes and require varying experience and expertise. Therefore, it is helpful to look at the difference to understand the HR Executive role better.

Some of the primary HR Executive responsibilities are given below:

  • Manage all of the HR duties in a company.
  • Oversee the human resources staff.
  • Report to CEOs and vice presidents. 
  • Strategize and implement changes that improve the work experience. 
  • Modify employee benefits and incentive plans.
  • Help hire talented individuals through job alerts.

In contrast, here are some fundamental HR Manager responsibilities: 

  • Ensure the human resources staff completes their work and respects deadlines. 
  • Report to HR Executives and communicate departmental performance
  • Ensure HR employees follow the company’s policies
  • Mend conflicts between employees and coordinate workload
  • Act as the medium between the human resources staff and the HR Executive.

As you can see, an HR Manager works closer to the field and handles practical implementation more than an HR Executive. Moreover, the most significant difference between the two positions is salary. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, HR Executives have around 100% higher annual wages than HR Managers. However, the predicted job growth for HR Managers until 2028 is 7%, while for HR Executives is 5%. 

Since it is a high-level position, HR Executive jobs require significant knowledge about different aspects of the human resources terrain. Therefore, if you wish to become a competent HR Executive yourself, you should pursue our quality HR certifications at HR University and become knowledgeable in all the essential details of HR. 

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HR Executive Duties

The duties of an HR Executive vary based on the employing organization’s size. For example, the individual may have to handle and oversee all the HR work in a small company. However, the human resources executive won’t have to do much practical work in mid to large companies and instead manages the HR team.

The responsibilities of every HR Executive require extensive interpersonal and communication skills along with significant adaptability. Additionally, since the HR department keeps records and handles confidential documents, the HR Executive needs solid organizational skills. Lastly, most of their duties require the executive to be a strong leader with a clear sense of direction for the human resources department.

Here are some of the general duties and responsibilities of an HR Executive irrespective of the company size: 

  • Work with the CEO to strategically manage the business’s HR policy
  • Overlook hiring and onboarding talent, resolving salary matters, and termination of employees 
  • Have a deep understanding of all labor laws and help the organization ensure compliance with all relevant laws 
  • Promote a productive work environment and ensure a culture of collaboration and accountability 
  • Act as the leading authority in human resources matters at all times.
  • Manage administrative changes in benefit plans, healthcare, retirement plans, etc.

Other duties and responsibilities are company-specific, and it’s not easy to generalize them in a concise list. For example, an HR Executive has to overlook the medical staff in a medical organization, which differs from supervising employees in a marketing agency or an IT company. If the HR Executive doesn’t have experience with the specific industry, it’s always good to learn about the company in advance. 

It’s also essential that the HR Executive is always on top of any possible employment law changes (state and federal level), shifts in benefit plans, and changes within the company structure. Having legal competency often helps the executive to act before an issue arises. As a result, a veteran HR executive can prevent a problem and save the company money and time. 


An HR Executive is critical for organizations to have an efficient human resources department. They ensure HR Managers understand higher-level strategies and implement them on the ground. Additionally, they have to make major HR decisions that help drive the department and the organization forward.

The HR Executive acts as the leader and the leading authority in HR. Therefore, they need to have a deep understanding of the company’s vertical and horizontal structures. Additionally, they require considerable experience within the human resources field to reach this senior position.

If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into an HR Executive role, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft an excellent HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy that lands you a sought-after HR Executive job.