Head of HR
LAST UPDATED 08 Apr 2022
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The role of a head of HR today


The head of HR role, also known as HR director, represents a more senior position in the human resources function. Aside from conducting traditional HR duties like that of a consultant’s, heads of HR are largely responsible for managing the HR team. They assist team members by overseeing common HR processes such as recruitment and employee retention.

Additionally, as part of their managerial role, heads of HR work to ensure teams are productive and are generally satisfied with their on-site or remote jobs. With these in mind, heads of HR will collaborate with diverse internal teams and create team-building activities to improve peer-to-peer relations alongside employee engagement. 

Overall, heads of HR help foster a positive organisational culture that is people driven. They ensure that employee needs are met alongside company objectives. As employee needs can be individualistic, and the jobs market is ever evolving, the head of HR role is highly dynamic in accommodating any changes that occur over time.


The core areas of expertise for a head of HR


Although the key responsibilities for a head of HR can be quite broad depending on organisational needs, their expertise really falls onto three main areas:

  • Talent management: heads of HR focus their effort in building a positive HR team and effectively collaborate with members across departments. Heads of HR resolve any ongoing issues and develop novel policies to support business operations.
  • Training development: to improve employee job satisfaction and engagement, heads of HR work to creatively build training and development opportunities for employees. These can be one-day activities or long-term programs. Either way, the head of HR works as a supportive role-model throughout these measures.
  • Talent retention: to retain the best talent, heads of HR must work to assist employees in their professional development. This can mean attending to individual goals and wellbeing. Heads of HR want to ensure the company culture is positive and supportive, so that employees feel that they can voice their concerns openly.

Generally, this HR job focuses on developing policies and training opportunities that can help improve employee satisfaction, ensure they have the space to develop professionally, all in the while of supporting business efficiency.


Duties and responsibilities of heads of HR


Like many managerial professionals, the head of HR works on a broad range of tasks, frequently working alongside internal teams and senior management in deciding business strategies. Nevertheless, common duties and responsibilities of heads of HR include:

  • Recruit new employees and take care of onboarding processes,
  • Develop HR policies to inform the rest of an organisation,
  • Ensure internal teams comply with legal and compliance regulations,
  • Provide training opportunities for employees across departments,
  • Coach and supervise HR team members,
  • Oversee and review HR processes regularly,
  • Resolve company issues and/or terminate personnel,
  • Meet with various company stakeholders to discuss HR matters and other business objectives,
  • Keep up with and implement organisational trends to inform best practices, and 
  • Conduct budget planning for the HR team.

The above illustrates common duties that align with planning and coordinating events specifically regarding HR functions. They review and implement policies and clearly communicate any changes to internal teams.


Salary expectations 


The demand for heads of HR is rapidly increasing, leading the career with fast-paced growth capabilities alongside impressive salary raises. The Castille Salary Survey is based on the average gross basic salary ranges we have seen offered in the local market over the last 12 months. This survey is updated quarterly, remaining representative of current market trends.  

For a global perspective, it is worth keeping in mind that sources vary and are subject to change with time. Considering these variances, salaries for heads of HR jobs consistently reflect an average salary ranging from $55,000 to $90,000 a year. These numbers vary according to level of experience, specialisation, and other associated living costs. 


Education and qualifications of heads of HR


There is no single way to actualise a career as a head of HR. As it is a more senior role, most job applicants would have earned a bachelor’s degree in HR or a related discipline like psychology. It’s not uncommon for heads of HR to also possess a master’s degree for competitive advantages in the jobs market. What’s more necessary, however, is demonstrable work experience in a relevant field to prove to hiring managers your capabilities to lead a team.


Trending technologies and skill sets 


As heads of HR frequently collaborate with internal teams, their people skills are of utmost importance. Below illustrates the trending skill sets for a head of HR:

  • Leadership skills: to manage and supervise an HR department, heads of HR must possess leadership qualities to effectively oversee common HR operations like onboarding.
  • Communication: heads of HR do not simply work with their internal HR team, but also across departments with diverse skill sets. Beyond internal teams are other senior managers, to which heads of HR collaborate with to devise business objectives and goals.
  • Organisational skills: as this HR job necessitates diverse responsibilities and duties, it’s important that such individuals are organised to effectively plan and conduct activities that involve many employees. 
  • Presentation skills: heads of HR’s must feel comfortable in speaking to many individuals in group-settings. Whilst communications can be general, they typically reflect policy changes or similar company amendments that must be clearly communicated to employees, so that these are understood by everyone.

The above indicate some of the skills necessary to apply in the head of HR role. As these are mainly interpersonal skills, these can be practised in your own time and be used to your advantage in building a fruitful HR career.


Career prospects as a head of HR


Heads of HR typically work in various office environments, including sitting at a desk and using computers or similar equipment to effectively carry out their role. They collaborate with diverse personnel frequently and facilitate internal career development for employees. The consistent use of valuable soft skills employed by the head of HR is transferable across organisations, meaning these individuals are able to work in diverse workplace settings.

For jobseekers interested in pursuing a career path in this HR job, individuals should work to gain valuable work experience in any preferred industry. Of course, if applicants are interested in specialising in a certain industry, they should look for HR jobs in these specific areas. As organisations evolve and adapt, they will continue to need heads of HR roles to help onboard and retain the best talent long-term.


Begin your head of HR career today with Castille 


Now that you’ve critically assessed what working as a head of HR is about and whether it is right for you, you are able to kickstart your career in this ever-growing field. As technology and the workforce continues to rapidly advance, the role of a head of HR remains a career suitable for the long-haul.

Head of HR