HR personnel are professionals who are employed in the field of Human Resources (HR) and have a working knowledge of its policies and procedures. They help ensure the recruitment and retention of qualified staff within an organization, whether it be a business, not-for-profit organization, or academic institution. They are considered to be an important investment within an organization because they help minimize staff turnover, which can drain an organization of resources spent on re-training new employees. HR personnel may be employed with an organization to handle its staffing needs, or employed with a recruitment agency which caters to organizations that outsource their occasional staffing needs.
The responsibilities of HR personnel who are employed in the HR department of a larger organization are divided up according to the various HR positions. At the entry level in an HR department are titles such as HR assistant or HR coordinator. These positions typically entail such responsibilities as receiving and screening resumes, setting up interview appointments, setting up new employees with the requisite paperwork, and processing employee health and benefit claims. Although HR coordinators and assistants might participate in the screening of new recruits, the final decision regarding whether or not to make an offer of employment is left to HR management.
HR personnel at the senior level, such as HR managers or directors supervise and work closely with HR assistants and coordinators. HR managers develop policies for employee conduct within an organization, such as the sexual harassment policy, employee dress code, maternity leave, and other personnel matters. In addition to making hiring decisions, senior HR workers also take promotion referrals from other departments and assess the candidates for promotion accordingly.
If an organization has a relatively small number of staff or a very low turnover, it is unlikely to have an HR department. In these cases, an organization will often turn to an employment agency, also known as a headhunter or recruitment firm, to recruit, screen, and hire new employees for them. Employment agencies serve as outsourced HR departments to other organizations, and employ their own HR personnel at both the entry and senior level.