What is HR Operations?

HR operations is a sector of the HR department that is devoted to looking after the full cycle of recruiting and assisting HR professionals with their day-to-day tasks.

In this blog post, we will discuss what HR operations entail. We will also share some of the functions and responsibilities of an operations manager.

What is HR Operations?

HR Operations services include several things such as payroll administration, recruitment, employee relation management, benefits management, etc. The goal is to keep employees happy and help them feel like they are getting their money’s worth out of their employer’s investment in them.

Large companies often have their people operations in-house, while smaller ones do have the option of outsourcing since they have limited HR functions.

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What are HR Operations Activities?

HR operations, also known as “HR Ops” are responsible to serve a variety of human resource tasks, that includes payroll management, payroll administration, recruitment, talent acquisition, and much more. Let’s have a look at the seven different responsibilities of HR ops:

HR operations tasks

1. Payroll Administration

The HR department is the backbone of any company. They comprise HR professionals responsible for payroll management, employee relation, benefits administration, and more.

The HR team is responsible for a company’s payroll records ensuring that employees get their rightful compensation on time. They also sometimes deal with various benefit plans offered by an organization to ensure employees have access to them when they need it most.

In short, HR operations are critical to the success of any business. They ensure that employees have a comfortable work environment and access to benefits at all times.

2. Benefits Administration

The benefits administration function of the HR department deals with a company’s benefit plans and HR policies such as healthcare, dental coverage, retirement savings, disability and bereavement leave, and more. The administrative tasks in this area can include designing and drafting benefit plans; managing their implementation; and, discovering the cost of these benefits for the company.

3. Recruitment, Staffing, and Retention

This portion of the human resource department is responsible for finding qualified employees to fill vacancies. It’s not a simple task either, as the primary goal is to hire people who have the potential to succeed in their position and grow with the company over time.

It begins by advertising on social media as the most common source of talent acquisition these days. In general, it takes the talent of HR people to go after this process and then involve in talent management for the company.

Keeping the number of employees optimum in each department is one of their core functions. Once an employee is hired, the HR team must stay on top of things that can affect their performance and satisfaction.

Moreover, it includes scheduling regular meetings to see how they’re doing in their role to see whether a new employee is required or not for any given skillset gaps.

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Human Resources Certifications

4. Employee Relations

The employee relations function deals with anything related to employment such as a safe environment, benefits administration, compensation, and discipline. This area does include things like handling workplace disputes or investigating any violations of policy by an employer if necessary.

Employee experience to employee satisfaction both come under the relations segment for HR leaders.

This function is accountable for maintaining relations between employees and management, and thus, the term human resource management takes form.

The HR systems can have a significant impact on whether or not new hires stay in the company long-term, so it’s important to make sure that they feel valued from day one.

You are also responsible to provide regular feedback about how well someone is doing concerning good behavior and discipline.

5. HR Technology Support Services

Technology has impacted every industry but nowhere more so than in human resources, where HR software systems are used to manage everything from payroll functions and attendance records through tracking vacation leave balances on a day-to-day basis, managing employees’ retirement accounts, and calculating their benefits.

In the HR department, you’ll find many different types of professionals working together to get things done. While the people operations side of HR is responsible for employee relations, talent management, and workforce planning, the technology side caters to payroll and benefits administration, recruitment management, and administrative support.

Organizations have started to turn to HR for help when it comes to workforce management. It is not easy to manage several employees without an organized approach or a well-thought-out plan.

6. Workplace Safety

It is another concern for the department accountable for people operations. The human resources department is responsible for maintaining a safe and healthy work environment, including advising managers on occupational injuries or illnesses and their prevention.

One of their duties is to implement and maintain progressive or preventative safety programs.

Workplace safety rules

The HR team also has to have good interpersonal skills, work without depending on tasks, and possess strong leadership qualities. They are often the face of an organization with employees who may not know much about HR management processes.

The health and wellness of employees is a mandatory part of HR policies – it allows them to keep the sanctity of the workplace through prevention measures such as creating healthier food options, providing workout facilities, and having more environment-friendly buildings (such as green roofs). Allowing these improvements helps promote better mental health among the workforce.

7. Development

HR business partner position in modern organizations makes it part of the decision-making process needed for strategic growth.

The operations manager directs the department through the development phase since human resources have a critical place in an organization’s strategic hierarchy. Specific functions in this segment include succession planning and reporting to executive management.

The head of the team’s task is to understand how an organization functions and what its goals are. It allows them to design a strategy that is in line with the mission and vision of their company.

The operations manager will also need to understand the organization’s employees and how they work together, which is crucial to addressing their needs.

Moreover, this phase revolves around reporting compliance disparities and the effect of compensation on employee satisfaction and overall company image.

What Does an HR Operations Manager Do?

The person who manages HR operations is called the operational manager. The following duties are part of HR operations managers job description:

  • Oversee and coordinate all aspects of an organization’s HR policies, including payroll processing, benefits administration, and hiring new staff members or contractors.
  • Monitor employee relations issues such as grievances, terminations, and other personnel matters.
  • Set goals for the HR team and measure the success of those goals.
  • Work with other staff to develop and implement policies, plans, and procedures that affect the organization’s HR.
  • Keep a check on key HR metrics
  • Develop HR budgets and forecast future needs
  • Recommend software capabilities to expand efficient technology usage and review personnel growth, for instance, performance management review tools to enhance the operations of the customer service department
  • Keep everything running and in the well-mannered condition in the department.

You can use this article as a template to identify and advance HR operations at any given moment. Feel free to use this article as a guide for implementing HR policies to good effect.

HR Operations Roles and Reasons

Here are the roles that often fall under the human resources operations umbrella:

HR operations goals

HR Generalist

One of the roles that we see in an HR team is the role of an HR generalist. The human resource generalist is the person who is responsible for overseeing the general operations of HR. The HR generalist should possess leadership qualities and have a thorough knowledge of all aspects of management, such as compensation, benefits, recruitment/selection, training, development, etc. In brief, they carry out the day-to-day HR practices for their team.

If you’re looking to become an HR generalist or progress further in your HR generalist career, then check out this advanced HR generalists course:

HR Generalist Certification

HR Specialist

Another role we see in an HR team is a specialist who has expertise in one area or more areas. They could either specialize in software or some other HR function.

HR Manager

The third one is the team lead, the human resources manager, who is at the pinnacle of the hierarchy, observing the department’s plan of action along with its execution.

Last but not least, the employee lifecycle is a model that identifies the various stages an individual goes through in their career within an organization. Stages include from entry-level to retirement and HR plays a key role in optimizing progress at every step of the way. Whether an employee is full-time or part-time, from onboarding through the several ranks, they pass through in their professional journey are parts of what you also call an HR cycle.

Final Words

HR operations are what happens in the background to keep HR running in a smooth way. A business needs must have an operational strategy and must update its terms as new policies are created or when old ones need polishing.

The principle behind designing HR management systems is balancing input with output, ensuring employee needs are being met while company goals are still being achieved.

As such, it should not come as any surprise that many companies now consult with organizational psychologists on how best to use these skillsets within their organizations – there is a lot of research done into this area because high-performance businesses know they cannot achieve success without focusing on all aspects of staff engagement.

This article aims at shedding light on the importance and relevance of human capital. LinkedIn as a social medium has a ton of resources on the topic, and it is where human resources meet objectivity.


If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into any HR Operations position, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft an excellent HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy that lands you a sought-after HR Operations job.


Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He's a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.