I don’t mean the job description, daily group emails announcing where she or he is working, or the documentation they’ve been drafting—I mean the day-to-day down and dirty. Do you know? Here’s a clue, it changes by the hour.

HR specialist’s duties are affected by industry, the size of the organization, and management style. The processes are influenced by location, education, and personal preferences, but most human resource personnel share many of the same duties and tasks. Here’s a fraction of what they do every day.

They put out fires – A day isn’t complete without urgent phone calls—insurance concerns, pay issues, paperwork problems, and questions about compliance. A typical day includes impromptu meetings, massive amounts of emails, and dozens of inquiries and questions.

They communicate on many levels – They communicate with employees at every level in the organization, from completing orientation with a first day production employee to discussing the wellness program with the CEO. This isn’t as easy as it may sound; it takes special skills and a lot of patience.

They write and edit – Where do you think those policies, employment ads, and announcements come from?

They organize – Every single day they file, catalogue, and sort. And if they don’t the organization could face thousands of dollars in fines for missing documentation.

They recruit employees – Most are involved in every step: placing ads, taking calls, reviewing resumes, checking references, and conducting interviews.

They train – Whether it’s new employee orientation, follow up training or job specific skills assessment they are out front conducting or behind the scenes organizing the training.

They coach and advise – Employees seek HR’s opinion, help, and advice – from how much insurance to carry or whether they should use direct deposit to personal issues.

They discipline team members – HR specialists conduct corrective actions, terminations, and reviews; sometimes alone and sometimes with direct report managers—either way they’re not only part of the process—they keep it on point, compliant, and professional.

They’re problem solvers – Every. Single. Day.  From every corner of the organization teammates, managers, and C- level staff come to HR to solve problems. And most of the time they expect immediate answers, which more often than not, HR provides.

They’re students – Regulations, laws, and accepted practices change frequently. If HR doesn’t stay informed who will?

They’re advocates for change – HR wants the organization to be a better place for everyone. They may advocate employee recognition, training, or benefits or they may personally endorse and champion individual employees.

HR Specialists Make a Difference

An HR specialist has more of an impact on most organizations than any other individual. Solving problems, hiring talent, and in general improving the workplace leads to a satisfied workforce and increased productivity—don’t think so? Try taking away what an HR specialist does and observe the frustration employees face, which leads to reduced productivity. A Human Resources specialist isn’t some “touchy-feely-hard-to-evaluate” position. It’s the lifeblood of your team. How does your HR specialist affect your organization?

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