How to Become an HR Manager
Securing an HR Manager role can be the next step in your career journey and eventually prepare you for senior-level jobs.
If you have your sights set firmly on becoming an HR Manager, then we have all the information that you need to turn your dream job into a reality.
What Does an HR Manager Do?
The main duties of an HR Manager tend to include:
- Managing casework, especially complex paperwork surrounding grievances, disciplinaries, absences, and other people management issues
- Decision-making for initiatives relating to the employee experience, learning and development, and recruitment
- Advising colleagues on HR issues and best practice
- Reviewing HR policies and practices on a regular basis
- Inducting new employees and suggesting relevant training
- Managing payroll, either directly or in conjunction with colleagues in finance
- Liaising with senior-level HR professionals to assist with strategy and reporting
- Involvement in relevant projects, with direction from HR leaders and C-suite
- Working to support change management within the organisation
- Recruitment-based tasks, such as creating job descriptions, preparing for interviews, reviewing applications, and producing psychometric tests
You may also be called upon to undertake other duties, depending on the size of the organisation and the number of other HR professionals within the department.
Usually, HR Managers are supported by other members of staff, such as HR Administrators and Assistants. Staff in these roles generally report directly to the HR Manager and assist them with day-to-day tasks.
Within most organisations, the HR Manager reports to an HR Director, Head of HR, or Senior HR Business Partner. These higher-level professionals will set the strategy and priorities for the function, then the HR Manager will deal with the implementation of these ideas.
This is usually an office-based role, but you may find employers that offer the option to work flexibly and from home.
How Much Does an HR Manager Earn?
Typically, HR Managers in the UK working in the private sector earn an average annual salary of £45,000, according to the Hays Salary Guide. For HR Managers working in the public sector, the average annual salary is £40,000.
The exact salary that you earn will vary depending on the location and organisation that you work for. Learn more in our interactive regional HR salary map.
Which Qualifications Does an HR Manager Need?
HR Manager is a mid-level HR role, and many employers require a formal qualification. This may come in the form of an HR degree or a CIPD qualification.
A CIPD Level 5 Intermediate qualification is the most common qualification employers looks for when hiring an HR Manager, and a CIPD Level 7 Advanced qualification will give you a further advantage over your competition.
Being able to show that you have continued to develop your HR skills can also be helpful when applying for this kind of role. Listing events, speaking engagements, and training that you have attended on your CV will show that you’ve been committed to your personal development.
What Experience Does an HR Manager Need?
If you want to progress to an HR Manager position, you should have a few years in HR under your belt. Between three to five years of experience would put you on par with most candidates for the role, but with more experience you may increase your likelihood of getting the role.
If you already have some management experience, then you may find it easier to secure an HR Manager role. Experience managing a department of a similar size can also be advantageous, as employers can see you have relevant experience.
During the interview process, you should relate the responsibilities of the job back to the experience that you have as much as you can. This helps to position you as a contender and demonstrates that you have the skills needed for the role.
What Skills Does an HR Manager Need?
The role of an HR Manager can be incredibly varied and calls for a wide skillset. As well as a deep understanding of HR, you should also bring a range of soft skills to the table.
Much of the role revolves around effective communication and organisation. If you’re strong in these areas, you’ll find it much easier to get and perform well in an HR Manager job.
The knowledge that you gain from a formal qualification in HR will also serve you well in this role, particularly when acting in an advisory capacity. Within this role, you may be called upon to advise on employment law, talent development, reward management, and issues relating to HR.
When dealing with grievances, employment law and disputes, it’s essential that HR Managers have a solid foundation of knowledge. These are potentially risky areas for organisations, so it’s vital that you can advise with confidence.
Attention to detail is also essential, as you’ll be responsible for legal documents, contracts, and policies. Missteps here can be costly for organisations, so most employers will be looking for professionals who can demonstrate their proficiency in catching these before they are distributed.
If you can show that you’re organised, this will also work in your favour. Outlining previous situations in which you’ve demonstrated these skills will serve you well in the interview process.
Which Roles Can HR Managers Be Promoted To?
Becoming an HR Manager can be a stepping stone to roles like HR Business Partner, Head of People, HR Director, Senior HR Manager, or Head of HR.
In this role, you also have the opportunity to refine your skills to specialise in employee relations, organisational development, recruitment, employee engagement, or equality and diversity. By doing so, you could secure roles like Head of OD, Equality and Diversity Manager, or Head of Employee Engagement.
As an HR Manager, you’ll have the opportunity to create real change in the workplace and support your colleagues. Having the right CIPD qualifications and experience will hugely increase your chances of snagging that dream role.
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