You probably met them when you were hired, and you might not have seen much of them since you finished orientation. The human resource, or HR, managers at your company, however, are responsible for dozens of day-to-day tasks that make it easier for you to focus on your job.
- Recruiting and Training
Starting a new job can be intimidating. It's going to take time to settle in and adjust to the culture of a new company, from basic orientation to job-specific training on policies and procedures. Most of the time, an HR manager is going to be in charge of the training sessions, and afterward, he or she can answer questions about your company, its goals, and your role in it.
- Facilitating Communication and Scheduling
In large companies, getting the right people together can be a challenge, especially when they're in different departments. They have access to everyone's schedules, and can find just the right time to put you in touch with that guy from marketing who never answers his emails. Since they're doing the scheduling, you're free to spend your time getting down to business.
- Mediating Workplace Relationships
Sometimes you don't get along with your co-workers. Sometimes your manager makes decisions that don't seem fair. When inter-office politics get in the way of doing your job, talking to HR may be the best way to solve the problem. Your HR manager can give you advice on navigating stressful work relationships that are in line with company policies and procedures. Regardless of how things turn out, it's better to talk about the problem than to let it fester, and it's your HR manager's job to listen.
- Evaluating Performance
Everyone approaches their yearly review with different feelings, but regular evaluations are a key component to performing your best. Awareness of your strengths and weaknesses, especially in the context of your company's values, helps you shine. You can identify the projects you'll excel at and set goals for the future; both of these things can make your job more enjoyable. While your manager usually provides the details for your evaluation, HR decides what to make of it. They're also the ones with the power to authorize pay raises.
- Payroll and benefits
Human resource managers are also responsible for processing your paychecks and administering benefit programs. They are the people you talk to if you have questions about your health insurance programs, if you need to change the address on your 401k account, or if you need to get that vacation request approved last-minute.
Much of what HR managers do happens behind the scenes, but they are a valuable resource for you, helping free your time of administrative tasks so you can focus on the work they hired you to do.