What Does a Head of HR Do?
The head of HR is in charge of all the workings within the human resources department. They also supervise the multiple sub-departments within HR, each headed up by a specialized human resource employee, such as a training manager, a compensation manager, or a recruitment manager.
As the name suggests, the role focuses on leading the HR department and deciding on critical matters while handling a broad range of responsibilities. Interestingly, the role goes by other names, such as the HR director or even chief of human resources at some organizations. Regardless, the individual occupying this role holds the seniormost position within the human resources department.
Since it is such an important role, it is essential to look into the final details of being the head of HR so you can look for the right job alerts. Therefore, this article describes the role's responsibilities and what aspects of human resources they oversee.
The Head of HR Role
A head of HR role, like the HR director, develops human resources systems and processes that can address the company's strategic requirements. For example, they ensure that hiring employees evolves into team-based contracting of the most qualified candidates, recruited through various methods ranging from employee recommendations to social media sourcing.
The head of HR role's primary responsibility is to supervise and guide HR managers who direct the work of the department's employees. Furthermore, since the HR team contributes significantly to the organization's growth, they have to actively define and develop its culture. They do so under the Head of HR, who directs the establishment of solid company culture and helps ensure that the workplace keeps its employees content.
If you wish to strengthen your human resources skill and become a head of HR one day, you should check out our quality HR certifications at HR University.
The work of an HR professional like the chief HR officer continually changes since HR employees must balance a wide range of responsibilities and activities to support their businesses objectives. However, regardless of how their role changes, senior human resource professionals like HR directors must build their individual capabilities and of the business as a whole to perform their responsibilities effectively.
A significant part of the head of HR's role is performance management while ensuring employee engagement. They have to oversee the performance of the HR manager and other HR professionals directly junior to them. Additionally, they have to train such personnel and teach them effective performance management since they are senior HR roles too.
Some core areas of human resources that a senior role like the HR director handles are shown in the picture below.
Responsibilities of the Head of Human Resources
The head of HR handles many different kinds of tasks routinely, and the duties associated with the role look different for different organizations. However, some responsibilities are common to all head of human resources roles, such as establishing organizational culture, handling executive compensation or reporting to executive positions like the senior vice president.
Regardless of their job description, here are some common duties that all head of HR roles like HR directors has to handle:
Report HR Department's Progress
The head of HR, like an HR director, has to oversee all the functions of the human resources department. They have to establish guidelines and SOPs for employees to follow. Additionally, they have to keep higher-up executives updated on the HR department's employee relations and general growth trajectory.
Finally, the head of HR has to ensure that the department's growth is in line with the company's strategic direction. They have to play an important role in developing strategies for delivering actionable results.
Construct Plans to Improve Employee Experience
A head of HR, like the chief human resource officer, is responsible for managing and monitoring the employee experience within an organization. Therefore, they must use efficient tools and strategies to gather such data. Afterward, they need to use insights from the data to improve the management processes and general employee experience. It can also involve resolving workplace conflicts and counseling managers to apply personnel rules aptly.
Develop Important Plans on HR Matters
The human resources department handles diverse responsibilities such as hiring top talent and training employees, managing their data, and developing attractive benefits plans. As an HR leader, the head of HR has to plan procedures to develop, implement, and evaluate employee training and design their benefits programs. Additionally, they have to establish mechanisms for payment and recognition.
Ensure Policy and Strategy Implementation
As the seniormost director, the head of HR has to ensure that employees are committed to functioning while adhering to the business's culture. They must come up with new ideas and create systems to ensure that all employees follow applicable employment laws. Additionally, they must ensure that health and safety measures are up to date and effective.
The head of HR position serves as the principal leadership role and is in charge of important decisions about the human resources department. They overlook everything related to the HR experience, from something as regular as employee orientation to significant decisions like future growth. They are the primary source of an organization's talent management strategies and have to ensure optimal labor relations.
If you wish to achieve a head of HR position like HR director or chief people officer, you need significant HR knowledge and gain years of professional experience. However, the most important thing is to build leadership skills.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about different head of HR roles.
What Are the Differences Between the Chief Human Resources Officer and the Head of HR?
Both are senior roles within the human resources field and overlook each HR function within an organization while focusing on business objectives. The chief human resource officer is a specific example of the head of HR role. Therefore, the former is a dedicated position while the latter is a broad and general type of human resources role. Another example of a head of HR position is the HR director role.
How Senior Is the Head of HR Role Than Other HR Professionals?
The head of HR is the seniormost position within the human resources department. They directly supervise and manage HR managers, who are a step down in the hierarchy. However, they can still oversee more minor details like which HR jobs the organization is advertising or what are its human capital needs.
If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into a head of HR 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 Chief Human Resources Officer job.
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He’s a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.