One of corporates biggest mysteries is that of the structure and role of team members within the HR Department. Those who work within HR and recruiting experience this every single day, but as the market for talent has increased in competition, organizations are focused heavily on the retention, development, and hiring of talent for their organization. In most organizations, this is the main responsibility of the HR department along with compliance, employment law, and administration that is typically associated with a role in human resources.
This guide is intended to serve as a map for organizations who are establishing or expanding an HR department and for current HR leaders or aspiring ones that want to provide context and information for their peers and leadership on the roles, responsibilities, and complexities of HR.
How Many People Should Work in Your HR Department
The size of an organization and it’s commitment to its culture and people largely determine the organizational structure of HR not to mention geography and leadership. Companies that are interested in determining how many people should work in HR can determine an HR to employee ratio as a guide to determining if more HR support needs to be added to the department. On a basic level, the HR to staff ratio is the number of employees/HR team members. In 2017, Bloomberg BNA found the median Hr to staff ratio to be 1.4 for every 100 workers served by the HR department. This ratio has significantly increased in part due to the increased demand for talent, changes to the ACA and overtime rules. A direct link to this Bloomberg BNA survey is listed in the sources section at the end of this article.
List of HR and Recruiting Job Titles & Descriptions
This list of HR and recruiting job titles are broken down into four different areas:
- Administrative Roles
- Specialist Roles
- Mid-Level Leadership
- Senior Leadership & Executive Roles
Accompanying each HR and recruiting title includes a brief description of their role, the likely employment status (exempt, non-exempt, or contract) as well as other similar or interchangeable job titles. The more strategic and senior roles are listed at the bottom of this resource. Administrative and specialist roles appear at the top of this list.
HR Administrative Roles
A true administrative position. An HR coordinator has responsibility for filing, maintaining reports, processing payroll and typically the scheduling of interviews. HR Coordinators might plan and organize events, develop email content for newsletters and other inter-office communication within the department and the company. Their roles are focused on administration providing a valuable service to the organization in maintaining order and a system for everything. They are hourly non-exempt workers.
A true administrative position that is responsible for processing and managing the payroll process. An HR coordinator is responsible for maintaining reports, payroll processing, and other employee-related expenses and programs. Often times the payroll coordinator like the HR coordinator role is the swiss Army knife of the department filling in where needed and responsible for an ever-changing number of HR and payroll-related tasks. In some organizations, the payroll coordinator may fall under the management of operations or accounting.
A true administrative position. A recruiting coordinator has responsibility for administrative tasks within hiring including the ATS, maintaining reports, and typically the scheduling of interviews. Their roles are focused on administration providing a valuable service to the organization in maintaining order and a system specifically for recruiting and hiring. They are hourly non-exempt workers.
Human Resources Specialist Roles
Typically 1-3 years of experience working in HR. Still focused on administration, payroll processing and other administrative tasks. HR specialists can gain additional experience working on specialty projects, employee orientation, training, and pre-screen interviewing. Human Resource Specialists have a basic understanding of some employment law. They are hourly non-exempt workers and serve as a go-t0 resource for employees and managers alike.
A sourcer is someone who searches out and finds candidates for often highly technical, specialized, and hard to fill roles within an organization by building a candidate funnel. Often times this is accomplished by using the internet to search, source, and locate candidates but can also be done using phone sourcing or other methods. Depending on the size of the organization and industry, this role might serve in phone screening or an initial qualifying call with candidates but it depends on the larger organization and department. This is often a non-exempt role and commonly a contract position.
If HR is also responsible for learning, training, and development, the role of trainer falls under the umbrella of HR. Trainers can be employee orientation leaders or those that facilitate training and development programs as well as provide specialized training and learning for certain employee groups and departments. The role and responsibilities for the trainer are dependants on the size and scope of the organization. If an organization has a separate training and L&D department, this individual may be a peer to an HR manager and report directly to an HR Director or a Training Director or other learning and development leadership role. This role may be an exempt level or non-exempt level role.
Typically a salary level position, these recruiting managers may or may not oversee and supervise a staff of employees. Generalists in their roles these individuals often do a bit of everything including benefits, compensation, recruiting and handling employee relations issues each and every day. The responsibilities in this role are very wide. I’ve experienced everything from location forecasting and budgeting, recruiting and interviewing, compliance to overseeing EEOC investigations and claims. HR Managers sometimes process payroll but are less administrative than coordinator or specialist roles. Often they are cross-trained in the administrative tasks for emergencies.
A recruiter is one who specializes in the hiring and selection of open positions within an organization. This role serves as a project manager of sorts maintaining a number of open job listings or requisitions that the organization is hiring for. Recruiters may source although their role is largely managing and selecting the most qualified 3-5 candidates for an open position from job seekers who applied for a position through a company’s career site and applicant tracking system. The recruiters most comm0nly works with candidates and hiring managers. Depending on the organization size and industry, a recruiter can specialize in a certain area, region, division such as serving as a technical recruiter, diversity, recruiter for the central region, or a sales recruiter. The position is normally an exempt level or contract role within an organization.
Human Resource Information Specialist (HRIS)
An HRIS role within HR oversees and maintains the growing number of HR and recruiting technologies used by the department. The HRIS team member is familiar with recruiting and HR processes and responsibilities but is highly technical working to maintain HR and recruiting technology systems. This role interfaces directly with the information technology or IT department sometimes falling under its umbrella. As more companies add more technologies to their existing departments, the importance of maintaining the tech, integrations, and basic administration is extremely important for HR’s future success with their organization. This position is normally an exempt level or contract role within an organization.
Human Resources Mid-Management Roles
Typically a salary level position, these human resource managers may or may not oversee and supervise a staff of employees. Generalists in their roles these individuals often do a bit of everything including benefits, compensation, recruiting and handling employee relations issues each and every day. The responsibilities in this role are very wide. I’ve experienced everything from location forecasting and budgeting, recruiting and interviewing, compliance to overseeing EEOC investigations and claims. HR Managers sometimes process payroll but are less administrative than coordinator or specialist roles. Often they are cross-trained in the administrative tasks for emergencies.
Typically a salary level position, these recruiting managers may or may not oversee and supervise a staff of employees. Recruiting managers oversee a team of recruiters, coordinators, and sourcers. They are often also responsible for hiring a number of job openings and positions depending on the size of the organization. This manager helps with budgeting, reporting, planning, and strategy for recruiting and hiring. This position is an exempt level position.
Compensation and Benefits Manager
A compensation and benefits manager focuses specifically on navigating the ever-changing world of employee benefit programs and compensation. This role is responsible for managing benefit plans including health insurance, life insurance, dental, vision, 401(k) plans, and other programs like employee assistance programs and tuition reimbursement. The compensation and benefits manager is responsible for managing employee payroll expenses including compensation plans, audits, and pay bands and position levels. This role is normally exempt level.
HR Business Partner
This role is seen less of a generalist or manager and someone who takes a more consultative role working in HR. Human resource business partners have clients within the organization they provide resources and build relationships with focusing on the missions and objectives set forth by the organization. There is much less focus on compliance and administration. An organization instead typically has an HR Services Center or central department to help provide support in the form of policy development and enforcement, benefits, and compensation. This person is seen as an operational and more strategic resource for the region or area in which they support. This is an exempt level position.
Human Resources Senior Leadership Roles
Often responsible for HR teams of 2 or more, human resource directors oversee a region, a number of locations or serve as the highest-ranking member of HR within the company but this is not always the case. HR Directors often are responsible for building annual budgets and often times have decision making when it comes to buying software, systems and negotiating benefits offerings for the company. Less likely to be a department of 1 than the HR Manager, their responsibilities are less compliance and policy and more focused on building relationships with executive team members and driving results for the organization focused on human capital and company.
The Recruiting Director is responsible for the hiring of the entire head of recruiting which is also often referred to as talent acquisition or talent attraction in some organizations. The Recruiting Director often reports to the VP of HR and serves as the senior leader focused on the hiring and recruiting process. This individual is the department decision maker responsible for budgeting, allocation, and strategy planning interfacing with senior leadership on the subject of talent acquisition and recruitment. This position is an exempt level position.
VP of HR
Depending on the size of the organization, the vice president of human resources often reports directly to the CEO or COO of an organization although sometimes the CHRO or chief human resource officer has this distinction. Depending on the structure and size of the organization, the VP of HR works with the executive team to discuss business objectives. They view financial documents and work to understand how the focused programs and services they offer the organization drive revenue. The VP of HR works to integrate people into the full scope of business operations evaluating how the impact of human capital benefits the overall organization. This position is heavily focused on business metrics, reporting, and analytics directly in contrast to the administrative roots of the industry. This is an exempt level position and often a key decision maker at the company. Often times this position is called the VP of People.
Chief Diversity Officer
The Chief Diversity Officer is focused solely on diversity initiatives for the organization. This position in Fortune 500 companies and those within the tech industry normally reports directly to the CEO. This individual is focused on increasing diversity and inclusion within an organization. Sometimes this role is also also referred to as Vice President of Diversity and could also report directly to the CHRO depending on a company’s organizational structure. This position is strategic and is an exempt level position.
Chief Human Resource Officer
For larger organizations, the CHRO or Chief Human Resources Officer reports directly to the CEO. This individual is part of the executive team and often working with the board of directors and investors to provide updates, reports, and information relative to CEO performance. The CHRO is focused on the strategy people human capital and how HR programs grow revenue and the organization for the broad and often global organization and for the longer term. A number of companies are calling the CHRO role the Chief People Officer. This position is truly strategic and is an exempt level executive position.