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Head of Human Resources (HR) Job Description

As the Head of Human Resources (HR), you would be responsible for leading the transformation and embedding of an organisation’s culture. You are expected to champion the company’s values through strong leadership and inspirational behaviour. 

What does a Head of HR do?

Heads of HR are required in almost all sectors and industries. In this senior role you must embody the business’s culture, being responsible for the wellbeing of the workforce and attracting new talent.

Your responsibilities centre on leading the HR department processes and driving people management strategies. This includes, coaching, mentoring and supporting staff members to identify their individual strengths and development needs, while championing an open, embracing culture of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) throughout the organisation. You will also ensure that the human resources programs and initiatives are implemented effectively and efficiently. 

With the onset of the pandemic in 2020, and to successfully support the vast changes to the way people work, the role of Head of HR evolved dramatically. During this time HR functions made huge adjustments to business strategies, including adapting systems and tools to work from home, changes to priorities, budgets, headcount and the introduction of the furlough scheme. 
We may see further developments to this role, as Heads of HR deal with new responsibilities and stark changes to their teams and working culture, for example mass redundancies, or recruiting new staff in line with revised business focus and priorities. 

Is a Head of HR job a good fit for you?

If you have at least 5 years’ experience of working in HR and 3 years’ experience in a managerial role, now could be the time for you to take the next step in your HR career.

You will need to be an experienced leader with the knowledge and experience to take ownership of all HR systems, to effectively manage all processes relating to employee relations, compliance, budgets, staffing, training and culture. You will need to have vast knowledge and experience in the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) [LINK:] and Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). [LINK:] As the Head of HR, you must also be proficient in employee relations, DEI, learning and development and organisational development and design. Your skills will need to include improving the employee experience, people analytics, resourcing, reward and talent management. 

Ideally, you will have an accreditation from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) at Associate or Chartered Member Level. If you are not already a member you can find out how by clicking here

If you have your sights set on a role like this, but don’t yet feel ready to take the step into a Head of HR role, consider enrolling on a HR Leadership Programme. The National HR Leadership Programme [LINK:] was established by The Guild of Human Resource Professionals in 2018. This is an executive education programme for HR Professionals, developed for those with potential to reach a senior HR role within the next five years in both generalist and specialist functions. 

Your day-to-day duties as Head of HR will include;

  •  Provide reports on all areas of HR, Payroll and Learning and Development, including the application of Employment Law, HR policy, best practice and workforce   development.
  •  Advise and strategise on the development of effective employment policies across the company.  
  • Provide professional leadership, support and development to HR staff, in order to increase knowledge, share best practice and to ensure that relevant professional standards are met.
  • Ensure that the company complies with current regulations, accepted professional standards, policies and procedures and legislation (including legislation on data protection, the Equality Act and health and safety).  
  • Manage the execution of the HR Strategy and core areas of the HR department including Recruitment, Employee Relations, Workforce Administration, Employee Engagement, Payroll, Reward and Recognition, as well as maintaining and improving HR systems and management of the HR budget.  
  • Drive the continuous improvement agenda with focus on engagement & welfare activities, maximising productivity, devolving HR responsibilities to line managers and building leadership capability.
  • Take a lead role in transforming and strengthening the organisational culture, ensuring that the company values and approach are displayed.
  • Execute a plan for diversity, equality, and inclusion that aligns with company values, business strategy and commitments.
  • Regularly coach, mentor and support senior and high potential colleagues to identify individual strengths and development needs, develop and maintain effective relationships and encourage retention.
  • Ensure managers are sufficiently skilled and enabled to access appropriate guidance and information to manage workforce issues. 

Are you a good fit for a Head of HR job?

To succeed as a Head of HR, you will draw upon your knowledge and understanding of HR regulations, accepted professional standards, policies, procedures and legislations, making confident leadership decisions to drive people management strategies and lead the HR department processes.

Essential capabilities:

  • Good knowledge of employment regulations.
  • Excellent knowledge of HR practices.
  • Vast working knowledge of all HR departmental areas, including reward and recognition, welfare, learning and development, as well as HR systems and budgets.
  • Proven leadership experience in managing departments and teams. 
  • Exceptional leadership qualities.
  • The ability to develop and nurture relationships across departments.
  • The confidence to provide sound professional advice.
  • The ability to lead the development of effective employment policies.
  • Excellent knowledge and understanding of regulations, accepted professional standards, policies, procedures and legislation (including legislation on data protection, the Equality Act and health and safety).
  • The ability to analyse and review HR data to identify trends.
  • Experience in determining, measuring and analysing relevant KPIs for incentive schemes.
  • The ability to use office software packages competently.

Qualifications, Licences and Certifications

The essential qualifications required to become Head of HR include: 

  • Accreditation from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), or
  • A bachelor's degree in Human Resources Management, Psychology, or a Business-related subject, and
  • A minimum 5 years’ experience in a HR role.
  • A minimum 3 years’ experience in a management role. • Fluent level of both spoken and written English.

    In addition to the essential qualifications, employers will be looking for:
  • The ability to create people strategy.
  • Commercial acumen and experience of using metrics for driving performance.
  • A pro-active attitude and a passion for leading with integrity.
  • Superior interpersonal skills and a positive, approachable manner.
  • A proactive and agile work ethic.
  • A curious mindset, to think innovatively and rationally about concerns and come up with creative solutions
  • Experience of managing a skilled team and make quick but rational decisions.
  • In depth knowledge of Employment Law.
  • Thorough and methodical attention to detail.
  • Good time management skills and the ability to prioritise, problem-solve and use your initiative.
  • First-rate communication and presentation skills.
  • Commitment to be an inspiring role model who encourages collaboration. 
  • Commitment to continual personal development.
  • The ability to accept and provide feedback, be challenged on your advice, and work well under pressure.
  • Proficient I.T. skills.

Where can a Head of HR job take you?

The expertise offered by the Head of HR can make vast differences to an organisation and to their embedded team. This creates a high demand for experienced Heads of HR who can demonstrate measurable and applicable industry knowledge. 

To drive your career forward and put you in prime position within this competitive employment area, you could work towards a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) accreditation at Chartered Fellow level (Chartered FCIPD).

After working for 5 years as a Head of HR, you could set your sights on the position of HR Director and beyond that, to the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO).

Next steps  

If you’re interested in an exciting and varied role within HR, that offers you the opportunity for self-development, meeting new people and making an impact on a company’s candidate pool, click here to see what HR Officer jobs we have available.

Visit our HR Jobs area for new opportunities or visit our LinkedIn page for the latest news. 

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