What Does the Vice President of the Human Resource Department Do?

When the city of London needed a vice president of human resources in 2011, the search team turned to an employment recruitment firm. The full time job with “an excellent salary” sought a candidate with heavy financial and information services experience in addition to solid human resources credentials. Every human resources vice presidency is going to come with a unique job description heavily predicated on the industry to which the corporation belongs, so as you search for an answer to your question, keep that in mind.

Also Read: SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)

Write and Administer Policy

The backbone of a human resources department is policy: rules, regulations, legalities and the scope and parameters that guide a company’s personnel matters. Policy writing is a critical component of the HR vice president’s job, because it reflects on all aspects of hiring, firing, administrative direction and staff-focused operations. Policy underpins such critical publications as employee handbooks, job descriptions and personnel appraisal documents, thus the vice president of HR spends a good deal of time working with legal council to make certain language and directives are clear, unambiguous and binding.

Oversee Personnel Contracts

Negotiating contracts having to do with personnel matters is another responsibility of the human resources vice president, and this responsibility is particularly weighty when a union represents the labor side of the business. Wage negotiations, workplace dynamics, benefit packages, collective bargaining and dispute resolution all fall within the purview of the highest executive on the human resources ladder: the vice president. The VP may be given negotiation latitude conferred by the board of directors or advisory council to whom she reports on all contractual matters concerning employees, so a clear communication style and high level of personal confidence are both important.

Responsible for Labor Law Compliance

The vice president of human resources is responsible for making certain that federal, state and local laws are interpreted and implemented, thus she is responsible for staying on top of safety (OSHA) equal opportunity (EEO), tax (TEFRA), retirement (ERISA), wage/hour and other personnel-specific legislation. The vice president acts as the liaison between upper management and governmental bodies and is responsible for informing the corporation of new bills as they affect work situations. For example, a change in the minimum wage can have a profound effect on a company not anticipating the increase. As a representative of both a profession (HR) and an industry (e.g., banking) the VP is also expected to be the go-to person for industry-specific personnel matters.

Preside Over the Big Picture

When a corporation experiences dramatic change – a merger, takeover, re-engineering, plant closing and other emotionally charged change – the human resources vice president oversees all of the details involved with the change. While department heads are usually responsible for choosing employees targeted for layoffs, firings and transfers, the vice president presides over the big picture, mandating proportional cuts for departments as determined by the executive committee. As the big picture person representing human resources, it’s incumbent upon the vice president to be the point person on labor relations’ trends that will impact, positively or negatively, the company’s future.

Focus on the Future

Corporations live in the past and in the future, building on previous mergers, acquisitions and expansions to grow, and using past mistakes as cautionary lessons. The HR vice president must be ever mindful of this. Workforce-related trends must be identified and tracked by the vice president so she can advise internal and external forces of coming conditions and get ahead of employment hiring and policy curves. The human resources vice president also acts as the company’s human resources liaison and may oversee credentialing of employees by mandating continuing education, the securing of certifications and licenses so the company is always in compliance.

2016 Salary Information for Human Resources Managers

Human resources managers earned a median annual salary of $106,910 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, human resources managers earned a 25th percentile salary of $80,800, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $145,220, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 136,100 people were employed in the U.S. as human resources managers.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *