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What Does a Human Resource Manager Do?

By Steve Smith

The information presented here is true and accurate as of the date of publication. DeVry’s programmatic offerings and their accreditations are subject to change. Please refer to the current academic catalog for details.


July 8, 2024

7 min read

The HR department is responsible for managing a business’s most valuable asset, its human capital. Depending on the size of the organization, an HR team may only be a few people or a large department with specialized areas of responsibility. But what does a human resource manager do?

As we take a deep dive into the subject, we’ll examine the primary duties of a human resource manager, discuss the skills that are required for them to be effective in their work and then look at what’s involved in preparing to pursue this important role.

What is an HR Manager?

HR managers are responsible for keeping their department running smoothly. In addition to staying on top of HR trends, managers in human resources might have specific duties tied to their role or area of expertise:

  • Directors of talent acquisition lead the company’s employee recruitment process.

  • Compensation and benefits managers design and manage employee compensation packages and perks that may include bonuses and employee benefits like health insurance and retirement plans.

  • Training and development managers oversee programs to advance employees’ skills, such as continuing education and leadership development initiatives.

  • Diversity and inclusion managers concentrate on promoting diversity within the workforce, cultivating an inclusive organizational culture in which differences are respected, valued and celebrated.

What Does a Human Resource Manager Do?

What does a human resource manager do in a typical organization? As we’ve said, that may depend on variables like the organization’s head count, the size of their department and if they oversee something specific.

But broadly speaking, HR managers have a hand in:

Recruiting and interviewing

Talent acquisition is a crucial area of HR management. HR managers work with recruiters to hunt for new talent to replace employees who’ve retired or moved on to other opportunities, or to fill newly created roles that support the company’s growth. Their responsibilities may also involve creating job descriptions and setting up interviews.

Training and development

Many organizations place a high priority on developing their talent. Training and development managers develop upskilling programs to help companies retain high-performing employees and develop them for management roles. Training and development benefits can include reduced employee turnover rates, improved employee loyalty, the ability to attract new candidates, encouragement of upward career mobility, increased employee engagement and greater team success.

Benefits and payroll

Managing employee benefits is a significant HR category. These benefits typically include things like health insurance coverage, retirement savings plans, paid time off or tuition assistance. By offering a strong, competitive employee benefits program, companies are in a better position to attract and retain high-quality team members.

A compensation and benefits manager designs compensation strategies that align with industry standards, local laws and regulations and the budget for the company they work for. Payroll managers typically work in the space between the HR and finance departments, overseeing the payroll process and using various technologies to schedule automatic payments, calculate taxes and make the deductions for insurance plans and other benefits.

Common HR Skills

As you explore how to become a human resource manager, it’s important to understand the skills you’ll need to develop to do well in this role. Human resources is the business of managing people, so strong interpersonal skills are essential. HR managers need to embody the company culture and sometimes are required to handle sensitive or potentially volatile situations like conflicts between employees, or between employees and management. Skills for HR personnel include:

  • Communication: As an HR manager, you may be tasked with writing internal memos, giving presentations or resolving conflicts between colleagues or employees, so strong written and verbal communication skills are critical.

  • Organization: To effectively handle the paperwork that goes along with hiring, training and developing a workforce, strong organizational skills are an absolute must-have for HR managers.

  • Multitasking: HR managers need to be good multitaskers, moving capably between projects with changing priorities, timelines and expectations.

  • Empathy: HR managers need to be empathetic. Being able to understand another’s point of view in a non-judgmental way or simply providing a listening ear is a vital part of maintaining a welcoming and safe work environment.

  • Leadership: The critical thinking, problem-solving and mentoring skills that make a good leader are all important traits for HR managers, helping them to cultivate the leaders that will contribute to their organizations’ success.

  • Technology: Skills in data analysis, statistics and business technology are very useful in HR management. HR technology is a rapidly developing sector that utilizes onsite and cloud solutions for employee payroll, talent acquisition, workforce analytics, performance management and benefits administration.

How to Become a Human Resource Manager

Your journey toward a career as a human resource manager will begin with education and may involve earning certifications that require continuing education.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), human resources managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related area of study like business, communications or psychology to enter the occupation, though some jobs may require a master’s degree in human resources, labor relations or business administration (MBA).

Here at DeVry, we offer a Specialization in Human Resource Management that can be earned as part of our Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Bachelor’s in Business Management or Bachelor’s in Technical Management programs. Coursework in this specialization can help you build a strong foundation in business skills and talent management with a curriculum covering pay structures, employee policies and benefits, hiring and employment goals.

If you’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree and want to pursue a higher-level credential, our Human Resource Management Graduate Certificate program can teach you how to analyze and develop strategic plans that help companies reach their goals as well as measure performance. 

Our Master of Human Resource Management program helps you expand your knowledge of people management, as well as human resource technology, strategic staffing and digital leadership.

Take your skills even further by earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Specialization in Human Resources. In this MBA program, you’ll couple core management skills with additional HR-focused coursework.

DeVry and its Keller Graduate School of Management HR programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP, 

In addition, our Human Resource Management curriculum fully aligns with the Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM) HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates,


Certifications are credentials that verify industry-relevant skills and typically require you to pass an exam and comply with a professional code of ethics. Many may require you to maintain your certification through continuing education or recertification. HR management certifications are available from organizations like SHRM, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) and the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI®).


Networking is an important aspect of career growth. Consider attending industry conferences or joining HR associations. SHRM, for example, offers student memberships for those pursuing degrees in human resource management. Alumni from your college working in HR could also be a valuable source of information or mentorship. By reaching out to them for a meet-up or phone call, you may be cultivating valuable, career-long connections.

At DeVry, we also offer resources to help develop your networking skills. Our career resources are designed to support your success and provide career planning tools, 1-to-1 career coaching and networking support.

Online resources include our HireDeVry 2.0 self-guided career development platform, providing 24/7 access to career resources, internship and job leads from our nationwide network of employer partners and information on events like virtual career fairs.

Explore Human Resource Management at DeVry

At DeVry and our Keller Graduate School of Management, we offer a range of programs at the undergraduate and graduate level designed to support your journey toward a career in HR.

Online learning here at DeVry can help you balance your education with your busy life, and scholarships and grants may help make your education more affordable.1 Request more information to get connected to your dedicated Admissions Representative and learn more.

1Scholarships are available to those who apply and qualify. Click here for more information, including any requirements or restrictions. Students may participate in only one DeVry University-based scholarship, grant or group tuition benefit program at a time. Those who qualify for more than one program will be presumed to accept the program with the highest reduction per session cost, unless the students confirm their desire to participate in a different program in writing prior to starting classes at DeVry. Scholarship and grant terms and eligibility conditions are subject to change.

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