Human resources management encompasses many key functions within an organization, with ultimate responsibility for management of staffing, benefits, compensation, employee relations and training. Top HR managers act as a consultant to executive leadership in strategizing to hire and keep the best employees, increase productivity and maintain adequate return on investment. With knowledge of federal and state laws that affect employees, HR management creates policies that shape a company.


Hiring and retaining the best employees is a major responsibility of human resources management. HR managers are responsible for each piece of the staffing puzzle. This begins with recruitment – finding the candidates through advertising, internal promotion, agencies and networking. Screening candidates, conducting pre-employment testing and coordinating interviews with hiring managers are the next steps. HR maintains resumes and works with departmental management to create written job descriptions for each position within the company. HR may also facilitate job offers and institute-employee retention programs.

Benefits Management

HR is responsible for all aspects of employee benefits management. Benefits may include health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, leave of absence and disability, among other programs. HR management is responsible for the selection of programs, administration of benefits, vendor relationships, employee benefit communications and the enrollment process. HR also oversees the administration of mandatory programs such as the Family Medical Leave Act, Worker’s Compensation, unemployment compensation and COBRA. Effective HR management is constantly seeking programs to improve staff health and productivity, retain employees and decrease absenteeism and turnover.

Compensation and Performance Management

Oversight of an organization's compensation program falls under the HR realm. Compensation includes wages and salary, incentive programs, bonuses and stock options paid to employees. HR researches competitive salaries and makes recommendations for pay structure by position. Additionally, HR coordinates performance management reviews, providing guidelines, training and documentation for managers to complete bi-annual or annual staff performance evaluations. Performance evaluations may be tied to pay raises and promotions, both of which are coordinated with HR.

Employee Relations

Maintaining good relations between employer and employee, on a broad scope, falls under HR. HR is a neutral branch of the company that represents both employer and employee. HR is involved with every hiring and firing incident, providing information to both management and staff as necessary. New hire orientation and ongoing training often falls to HR to facilitate. HR is often the intermediary in conflict resolution between manager and staff, offering a platform for both to bring forward confidential issues. Employee relations staffs possess knowledge on federal and state mandates, such as U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission standards, Civil Rights Act, Equal Pay Act, Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act and Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

2016 Salary Information for Human Resources Managers

Human resources managers earned a median annual salary of $106,910 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, human resources managers earned a 25th percentile salary of $80,800, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $145,220, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 136,100 people were employed in the U.S. as human resources managers.