Developing, maintaining and training a workforce ranks among the biggest costs for any employer. However, in 2011, companies are under greater pressure than ever to maximize returns on investment. As key players in that effort, human resources managers are often tasked with controlling costs, training new employees, and drawing up plans to control costs and combat turnover. How well the employer juggles his time among these different requirements will determine his success and survival.

Controlling Turnover

Losing an employee can cost up to triple his salary, so controlling turnover is an essential consideration in any human resources department's staffing plan. One way is to create an organizational development plan that provides for growth strategies and methods to satisfy top performers, according to a December 2010 Advantec white paper. Planning aggressively for the future enables companies to respond more quickly when top talent moves on.

Defining Goals

Bringing new employees' performance in line with company culture is an important task of human resources managers. As the link between employee and employer, human resources managers often find themselves tasked with goal-setting and expectation management, says "Inc." magazine. Accurately aligning an employee's standards to those expectations increases the chances that he will become productive more quickly and feel more satisfied during his tenure with the company.

Managing Costs

Though not popular with employees, managing costs through layoffs and other staff reductions is a natural role for any human resources manager, according to advice posted by the University of Southern California's Career and Protective Services Department. One typical method is to assign rankings for excellent, middling and below average performers. In other instances, lesser talents can be reassigned, or given one more opportunity to get back on the "keeper" list.

Recruiting Aggressively

Recruiting aggressively is one of the most effective ways that companies can stand out in a crowded marketplace. Attracting topnotch talent should be seen as a business strategy to help a company position itself as an employer of choice, Advantec's paper says. For human resources managers, that process begins with a wish list to fill crucial roles within the company. Cultivating relationships with performers not yet on the market can also pay dividends.

Setting Compensation

Setting compensation is one of the thorniest issues for any company. Human resources managers can ease the tensions by submitting to management an analysis of company salaries versus what its rivals are willing to pay, according to Advantec. Giving such data to CEOs allows them to make informed decisions. However, pay is not the only lure for talent. Companies should also look at expanding nontraditional benefits, such as extra paid time off and flex time.