What role does an HR officer/HR adviser perform in an organisation?
As an HR officer / HR adviser your role will be advisory and coaching-focused, and will involve a close working relationship with your client base.
An HR officer or adviser is more than likely to be the first port of call for recruitment in head office or retail. Depending on the organisation, the role will be either to advise line managers on how to effectively fill their vacancies, or could involve taking over the entire process once a vacancy has been raised. You will also be involved with employee relations and managing performance within the organisation through the disciplinary and grievance process and by advising on serious matters such as performance and capability.
Furthermore HR officers / advisers could take on a further challenge by managing a region of the UK and being responsible for all HR issues in that area. Regional HR officers / advisers are adopted by many retail and leisure organisations to really test the abilities of their HR Staff. This will give good exposure in terms of dealing with a high volume and wide range of HR activities, with anything from potential redundancies to high volume recruitment.
What are the duties of an HR manager?
The duties of an HR Manager will vary from company to company. You could be an HR manager of a small company and cover all HR disciplines or work in a larger organisation where your main focus will most probably centre on resourcing and employee relations.
It is likely that you will be managing a team and be responsible for their development. The main focus will centre on complex situations, and probably involve working with senior managers. A HR advisor will handle all the day-to-day issues for the wider team but anything above this which is deemed serious or sensitive comes within the HR manager's purview.
The role of the HR manager tends to focus more on influencing key players who are typically mid-management level straight up to director level. You will be central in developing new strategies or updating existing policies and procedures to ensure the business is line with legislative changes.
Influencing people and credibility are two key attributes and having strong technical HR skills is a pre-requisite. The HR manager plays an ambassadorial role within the business, demonstrating the real impact of HR to the commercial success of the organisation.
An HR manager will demonstrate success with results. If they have improved resourcing as a function, an organisation will either see a reduction in recruitment costs or higher retention rates. Although a strong HR manager will demonstrate success by achieving both!
What is the difference between a training adviser and a learning and development adviser?
Most generalist HR professionals will have some involvement with the training and development of their client base, but those who show a real flair for development will often decide to specialise quite early in their careers. The two major options are training adviser and learning and development adviser.
Training roles tend to focus predominantly on the delivery of training initiatives, either through a classroom or workshop session or through online or book-based training programs. Some trainers will be involved in both the design and delivery of the material that they train, and will also be involved with a training needs analysis prior to the development of material and an effective valuation once the material has been imparted to ensure its commercial impact is appreciated.
More recently there has also been a move more towards learning & development rather than training. Learning and development tends to incorporate a more rounded approach to learning rather than training and aims to involve the delegate in taking responsibility for their own learning rather than being a passive recipient. learning and development will often involve a more consultative approach and more ad hoc training design and coaching to tackle specific learning objectives tailored to individual needs.
How can an HR administrator / HR assistant role help me progress in the Human Resources sector?
This is an entry level role for those wanting to enter the Human Resources sector. An HR administrator / assistant will be involved in every level of administration through all of the main disciplines (recruitment, training and employee relations). At first, the role of the HR administrator/ assistant will involve basic administration, such as data entry, filing, answering the telephone and maintaining up to date employee information. You could also be involved with sending out offer letters and contracts and giving first line advice to employees who have queries around policies and procedures. This could range from basic payroll and holiday queries to advising on maternity / paternity benefits.
Once you have demonstrated a basic understanding of a company's procedures and way of working whilst honing these administrative skills, you could be involved in some more substantial tasks such as taking part in a disciplinary or grievance in the capacity of note-taking and gathering information or evidence for investigations, and may even progress to offering advice to line managers or employees regarding employment legislation.
More often than not, when an HR administrator / assistant is comfortable managing their administrative tasks whilst juggling these new skills and demonstrating a real passion to learn and develop, they will be promoted to the next level.
Ideally you should be in this role between 18months - 2 years before progressing. It is anticipated by future employers that for an HR administrator/ assistant to progress to the next level, they can not only demonstrate a breadth of experience in their technical skills and the confidence to take on more accountabilities, but must also demonstrate other key interpersonal skills such as building relationships and managing client expectations.
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