Operational Human Resource management professionals typically handle the day-to-day, tactical operations, while the strategic HR management staff perform a planning role that focuses on the long-term interests of the company. Companies need both functions to ensure they have the right staff, with the right skills and knowledge, at the right time to complete work for the business. This allows the company to achieve its goals and objectives.

Employee Relations

Operational HR functions for employee relations include maintaining policies and records, ensuring compliance to local, state and federal regulations, and managing disciplinary disputes and complaints. These HR professionals also hold company events and communicate with the community. The HR professionals who perform a more strategic role work with executives to align hiring strategies to the long-term business goals and ensure that personnel have the skills and knowledge to help the company achieve its business goals.


HR professionals who perform an operational role actively pursue candidates at universities and job fairs. They interview, conduct background checks and orient new employees to the company environment. These HR professionals also manage the hiring of temporary staff to meet short-term goals. On the other hand, strategic HR professionals focus on developing the top talent at the company to eventually take over executive positions. Additionally, strategic HR professionals form relationships or partnerships with local universities and promote the company’s products and services on campus.


Operational HR tasks associated with training involve running workshops and creating self-paced resources to support the workforce. This includes training employees on new policies and procedures and any new IT infrastructure enhancements. These HR professionals also conduct assessments to identify performance gaps and develop training materials to meet the needs of company employees. Additionally, they teach courses that enable employees to develop professional skills such as communicating effectively, managing projects, building team rapport and making sound financial decisions. Strategic HR management involves helping employees define their career goals and objective that align to the company’s strategic plan.


Operational performance management includes administering reviews, compensation and benefits. Tasks include maintaining a help desk so employees can call or email to get answers to questions. Strategic HR management activities involve defining all the jobs done at the company and listing the skills and knowledge required to complete tasks at the novice, expert and master levels. They select, install and maintain software systems that allow a company to track and monitor company resources. Strategic HR management also involves establishing an environment that fosters creativity and innovation. This helps a company maintain or gain a competitive edge.