A human resources officer is the executive responsible for the development of an organization's workforce. The human resources officer's tasks may vary by the size of the organization and its staffing, but he will generally assume responsibility for the development of policies regarding employee hiring and retention, as well as providing support and guidance to departments and managers in their efforts to attract and develop good employees. The human resources officer may also assume a significant role in ensuring that the organization is compliant with employment laws, particularly those pertaining to discrimination and fairness.
The process for recruiting new talent is often very complex, and while a company may have recruiters to identify and hire new employees, a human resources officer will develop the policies to ensure that recruiters operate efficiently, that employees who are a good match for the organization are hired, and that the hiring process is in compliance with pertinent employment and anti-discrimination laws. A human resources officer may also assume responsibility for setting criteria for background checks and evaluating a job applicant's credentials.
Once an employee is hired, the human resources department is likely to take an interest in that employee's development within the organization. Human resource officers set procedures for keeping records on employee performance, needs, and goals. Many business organizations have a set policy for evaluating employee performance for potential advancement as well as increases in compensation. Developing an equitable yet effective method of employee evaluation is often one of a human resources officer's more significant duties. In cases where employees have special needs or circumstances, a human resources officer can work with the employee and his department to provide necessary accommodations and ensure that these accommodations are appropriately adjusted over time.
A human resources officer may be called upon to assist in managing and, in some cases, terminating under-performing or insubordinate employees. While decisions about employee termination are typically left to the employee's direct supervisor or supervisors, companies are vulnerable to lawsuits over unfair terminations. In addition, questions as to whether the employee is entitled to unemployment compensation, severance pay, or a continuation of benefits are often determined by the human resources department. In cases where an organization is not ready to terminate an employee but has concerns about the employee's performance, a human resources officer can offer guidance on addressing the issue in a way that protects the company while also preserving its relationship with the employee.