What Does a Senior HR Manager Do?
A career in human resources is exciting yet challenging and becoming a senior HR manager in a reputable company is indeed a dream come true moment. It is a managerial position where you are involved in decision-making, planning, and overlooking the HR department. It is a lucrative role that comes with lots of challenges and responsibilities.
Seventy-five percent of human resources professionals said that their job is getting harder and more challenging as recruiting and retaining talent in competitive job markets isn’t easy anymore. As a senior human resources manager, you need to ensure timely talent acquisition and retention. But this isn’t the only thing a senior HR manager has to do.
There is a lot more…
What Does a Senior Human Resources Manager Do?
A senior human resources manager is responsible for planning, leading, controlling, and evaluating several tasks across the human resources management department. In large organizations, a senior human resources manager leads the entire HR department and overlooks different HR managers from different teams. For example, the training manager, benefits manager, HRIS manager, and analytics manager will all report to the senior human resources manager.
Here is a typical HR hierarchy:
The senior HR manager is a title between human resources manager and director. It creates a linkage between several human resources managers throughout a large human resources department and the HR director. All the managers from different HR teams report to the senior human resources manager who reports to the HR director or human resources vice president.
This means a senior human resources manager is more involved in day-to-day HR tasks and reporting as opposed to strategic development and execution.
You won’t find a senior human resources manager title in small, medium, and most large organizations. It is, however, a common practice in large multinational companies that have several managers for their human resources department to appoint a senior HR manager as the head of all the managers.
Here is an example of a job post for a senior human resources manager by Boeing:
Businesses that have such a huge workforce to manage need a centralized and streamlined HR department with clear roles and hierarchies to avoid complications.
Senior Human Resources Manager Role and Responsibilities
A senior HR manager must possess diverse skills to meet the requirements of the title. It is a key management position so the responsibilities are flexible and vary from organization to organization.
The main responsibilities and duties of a senior human resources manager are discussed below:
The core responsibility of a senior human resources manager is to manage cross-functional teams and ensure they meet their targets. If these teams are managed by designated managers, the senior human resources manager will then be managing and dealing directly with these managers.
In any case, it is the responsibility of the senior HR manager that the human resources department performs its duties as expected. This involves execution and management of day-to-day human resources tasks ranging from employee management to salaries and benefits to HR solution execution to hiring and firing and more.
So, a senior human resources manager will spend most of his/her time managing the team and ensuring the organization and the human resources department are moving in the right direction (as planned).
It is the responsibility of the senior human resources manager to set HR objectives (with the consultation of the HR director). There are different types of HR objectives that a senior HR manager has to deal with including:
- Personal objectives are individual employee-level goals and objectives such as training and development need
- Functional objectives are goals of the human resources management department that helps keep it running smoothly
- Organizational objectives are the objectives of the organization that are the responsibility of the HR department to meet such as hiring and retaining employees throughout the organization
- Societal objectives are ethical and social objectives that an organization has to set and meet such as equal opportunity providers.
Setting these objectives, creating and executing a plan of action, and then tracking the progress consistently is the responsibility of senior human resources managers. They work with the team and ensure things are moving as planned.
Creating a plan of action for all these objectives and converting long-term objectives into monthly and quarterly goals is something that a senior HR manager spends most of the time on. At the end of the day, they are held accountable if HR fails to meet any of these objectives.
Recruitment Process Management
Managing the hiring process throughout the organization is also the responsibility of the senior HR manager. Recruitment is a continuous process that runs throughout the year, especially in large businesses.
Here is what the hiring process looks like:
This recruitment process runs simultaneously for different departments (based on departmental needs and organizational objectives) and the senior human resources manager is responsible for executing and managing the process via the applicant tracking system and his/her team.
In the finance department, for example, the HR team might be in the onboarding process while for the marketing department, the HR team might be at the screening step of the hiring process.
So, it keeps running continuously and the senior HR manager has to manage it to ensure recruitment needs are fulfilled without any delay.
Monitoring HR Metrics
Senior human resources managers spend a lot of time measuring and tracking HR performance. This is done by tracking key HR metrics such as:
- Time to hire
- Cost per hire
- Revenue per employee
- Job satisfaction
- Employee satisfaction
- Time since the last promotion
- The ratio of HR professionals to employee
- Cost per employee.
Keeping an eye on these metrics and tweaking strategy in case of any deviation is what a senior HR manager does regularly.
Creating and managing the funds and resource allocation for the HR department is also a key task a senior HR manager has to perform. Budgeting involves a lot of tasks including:
- Managing and allocating recruitment budget across departments
- Training and development expense management
- Talent retention and talent management budgeting
- Health insurance, salaries, bonuses, perks, and more
- Safety and well-being of employees
- HR technology cost and budgeting
- Administrative cost.
Human resources management is the key department that is directly involved in budgeting along with the finance department. Employee salary management is carried out by HR and final salaries and bonuses are calculated and then the finance department disburses them.
And a senior human resources manager is the one who overlooks and approves everything at the end of the day.
Creating and Implementing HR Policies
Human resources policies are essential for any business as these are used to ensure the company follows local laws. These HR policies cover the following areas:
- Workplace policies
- Hiring policies
- Employee safety and wellbeing
Creating and implementing these HR policies is the job of a senior HR manager. They need to ensure that the policies are followed strictly throughout the organization. Updating and revising policies based on new laws is also the responsibility of the senior human resources manager:
Creating and revising HR policies is a continuous process and the senior HR manager is in charge of these policies.
Collaboration with Internal and External Entities
The senior human resources manager has to interact with external businesses and partnering companies. For example, signing MOUs, meeting business leaders, working with advertising agencies, partnering with training and development companies, and more is the responsibility of the senior HR manager.
Similarly, collaborating with other departments within the organization and conducting sessions, coaching programs, and meetings are essential. Understanding the needs of departments and teams and then creating appropriate plans to meet those needs is the role of a senior human resources manager.
Reporting and Decision-Making
It is a key decision-making position. A senior human resources manager makes a lot of decisions on a daily basis such as assigning tasks, creating teams, tweaking an HR campaign, and more.
They also share the report of the human resources department with the seniors. The HR analytics and reporting are managed and handled by the senior human resources manager.
Senior HR Manager Qualifications
Here are the typical requirements and qualifications for a senior human resources manager:
- A proven track record in recruitment and managing a diverse human resources team
- Bachelor’s degree in human resources management, organizational psychology, or a related field
- A minimum of 5+ years of experience in a similar management position
- Experience using HR management software, analytics, and creating and managing recruitment program
- Understanding of labor laws and legislation
- Management, communication, leadership, and strong analytical skills.
How to Become a Great Senior HR Manager
It often gets challenging for new senior human resources managers to make an early impact when they start their new roles. If you have joined a company as a senior human resources manager or if you are about to start your new role or if you have activated a job alert for a senior human resource management position, following these tips and techniques to kickstart your new position with a bang:
- Have a clear goal and vision. Find the key problems and challenges the company is facing and then develop a strategy on how you’ll address those issues. Don’t wait for someone to come and guide you. Take charge immediately.
- Meet the team. Create an initial meeting with the HR team and start building relationships. You need to surround yourself with the best people on your team. People in your in-group play a pivotal role in your success, make sure you choose the right ones.
- Understand the numbers. Check HR reports and metrics to get an idea of where the business stands and what you'll do next. Your strategy must be data-driven to deal with the current HR challenges the business is facing.
- Focus on the biggest HR challenge. Pick one challenge that you think is the biggest and needs attention immediately. Instead of trying to focus and fix multiple things immediately, it is best to focus on one key issue initially.
- Take risks. You can’t become a great senior HR manager without taking a risk. Get out of your comfort zone and do things differently.
- Be flexible. Adaptability is the key skill. As you are new to the company, be prepared to learn and unlearn quickly. Being flexible will make your job easier.
Being a senior human resources manager isn’t easy. You have to lead and manage a complete department end-to-end. Responsibilities and challenges are a common part of this role. Don’t hesitate. Be a risk-taker.
If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into an 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.
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.