A human resources (HR) officer develops, advises on and implements policies relating to the effective use of personnel within an organisation.
HR/personnel work comprises a number of different but related policies, all of which are required by organisations that employ people, whatever the size or type of business. These will cover areas such as working practices, recruitment, pay, conditions of employment and diversity.
HR staff need to ensure that the organisation employs the right balance of staff in terms of skills and experience, and that training and development opportunities are available to employees to enhance their performance in order to achieve the organisation's objectives.
» Typical work activities

As a human resources (HR) officer you must have a clear understanding of your organisation's business objectives and be able to devise and implement policies which will select, develop and retain the right staff needed to meet these objectives. The exact nature of the work activities will vary according to the organisation, but they are likely to include:

  • working closely with departments, increasingly in a consultancy role, assisting line managers to understand and implement policies and procedures;
  • promoting equality and diversity as part of the culture of the organisation;
  • liaising with a wide range of organisations involved in areas such as race relations, disability, gender, age, religion and health and safety;
  • recruiting staff: this includes developing job descriptions, preparing advertisements, checking application forms, shortlisting, interviewing and selecting candidates;
  • developing policies on issues such as working conditions, performance management, equal opportunities, disciplinary procedures and absence management;
  • advising on pay and other remuneration issues, including promotion and benefits;
  • undertaking regular salary reviews;
  • negotiating with staff and their representatives on issues relating to pay and conditions;
  • administering payroll and maintaining records relating to staff;
  • interpreting and advising on employment legislation;
  • listening to grievances and implementing disciplinary procedures;
  • developing, with line managers, HR planning strategies, which consider immediate and long-term staff requirements in terms of numbers and skill levels;
  • planning and sometimes delivering training, including inductions for new staff;
  • analysing training needs in conjunction with departmental managers