But what do HR professionals actually do?

You probably know someone who, when asked what they do, say that they ‘work in HR’. From the outside looking in, the whole area of HR can seem a little too nebulous or ill-defined. We know that HR stands for Human Resources but what does that actually mean?

The short answer is people. That’s still quite a wide-ranging definition but the fact that human resources revolves around people is the single most important aspect of any HR role. HR professionals develop, implement and advise on policies relating to the effective use of personnel within an organisation, and this can take many different forms.

HR generalists

HR workers may be seen as ‘generalists’ in that their roles and duties can vary widely from one day to the next. HR Business Partners will often work in a consultancy role, liaising with different departments and helping managers to understand and implement policies and procedures with regard to personnel.

Staff performance, health and safety, equality, disciplinary procedures, working conditions and complaint procedures are all areas that fall under the general remit of human resources.

Recruitment and resourcing

Making sure that they have the right people for the job is absolutely crucial to the success of any business. HR professionals working in recruitment, resourcing and talent-planning manage the personnel resources to meet changing needs depending on their organisations immediate and long-term goals.

Hands-on recruitment duties may involve drafting job descriptions and adverts, checking application forms, short-listing, interviewing and selecting candidates. As well as identifying and recruiting the right people themselves however, HR workers play an important role in developing systems and strategies for securing talent throughout the organisation. Relationship management is another key part of HR roles.

Learning and talent development

A skilled workforce is a productive workforce and training and coaching personnel also falls under the remit of HR. HR professionals working in learning and talent development will often deliver training themselves but they will also be involved in developing and overseeing learning programmes and strategies.

These needn’t be direct skills or work-based personal development and nurturing can also fall under the scope of the HR worker.

Direct Line Group is a leading provider of HR jobs in the UK. With offices around the country and a group of market-leading brands, such as Direct Line, Churchill and Green Flag, our jobs in Human Resources are some of the most challenging and varied in the insurance sector.