What is actually HR administration

3 key takeaways from this blog:

  • You will learn what is HR administration
  • You will learn what does an HR administrative worker do
  • You will learn why working in HR administration is exciting

What do you associate with the term “HR Administration”? 

The first associations are papers, a photocopier, a printer, even a fax machine. A calculator is mandatory! Then folders and binders, stamps and envelopes, personnel, who usually wear glasses and sometimes are in a horrific mood. And for the ultimate: paperwork and data.

If some of these things automatically went through your head when you thought of HR administration, you are not alone. Also, for the most part, you are wrong.

What does an HR administrative worker do?

You may have thought they fill out endless amounts of forms, calculate, print papers, make copies and archive some kind of documents into binders and folders. Also, order office supplies, like bathroom soap? Carry some letters, reports, and papers to the post office, the bank etc.

Not exactly!

Maybe you also thought that the job in HR administration is monotonous, uninteresting, and boring.

This is another misconception that arose from the already outdated prejudices. And all these false impressions date back to the time of the infamous Personnel departments. 

What is that thing we call HR management today?

Depending on the scale of the company and its inner organization, HR administration includes all administrative and legal issues related to employees. This usually involves administrative coordination between labor law and work obligations. In both cases, it is all about the rights and obligations of both employees and employers.

In some way, HR administration plays the role of mediator and a link between the two extremes. One is the legal obligations of the employer to the employee, and the second includes the obligations of employees to the employer and the legal rights of both parties. 

For this business relationship to function properly, both parties must respect each other. If not on a moral basis, then at least to establish clear sets of rights and obligations. The HR administration has this role to inform both sides about what their obligations and expectations are and how these can be achieved in a way that does not go beyond the law.

What does ACTUALLY an administrative worker do?

An administrative HR professional is someone who knows all the necessary regulations, laws, and rules. His/her task is to put these regulations, laws, and rules into practice with a supportive and clear approach.

They have to know what is it that a company can legally offer to a candidate. For example, they know the difference between contracts on occasional and temporary jobs, or the dissimilarity of fixed-term/indefinite contracts, work contracts, etc.

A clear understanding of the company’s legal regulations and internal policies is mandatory and basic knowledge, and that goes without saying. For instance, an administrative worker knows what the contract should contain – vacation days, probationary and notice period, benefits, etc.

An HR administrative worker is also a person who gets in touch with the chosen candidates and sends them the good news. They don’t take part in the recruitment process or the selection of a new employee. Contract preparation is also their job. So, in simple terms, as soon as the recruiter selects an ideal candidate, the job of administrative HR begins. The next step for the HR administration is to collect personal and employment data, to process and archive it.

The main difference between an HR role from the past and today is not the nature of the job itself, but the way it is done.

An inextricable part of the HR role is to work in an information system that contains employee data. Besides that, HR administration has to have an understanding and skills to utilize several different programs for documents, contracts, analytics, and reports. This is why the function of HR administration is better and far less complex today – due to the automation of bureaucratic affairs. The minimized manual labor has made room for upgrading the strategic function of HR administration.

I like to look at the database of employees as a kind of internal company’s social network (like Facebook, but in an HR way). There is all the data such as employees’ personal and business information. These include personal information like addresses, ID numbers, social statuses, and work-related data – diplomas, previous employment, and skills. There is also information on contract conditions – position in company, salary, bonus, benefits, vacation, probationary period, etc.

It looks like a social media account, doesn’t it?

As an employee in the HR administration department, you have access to the personal data of each employee. Not only can you see it, but your job is to keep records of changes during the work-life of employees, and keep the information secure.

You will know when they move out of town, change address or have a child. You will be there for the bad news – layoffs, initiations of disciplinary proceedings, but also for congratulations, conveying of good news – such as promotions, raises, bonuses… You are the person who responds to complaints, remarks, or objections from employees. Your role will be to clarify, tackle and resolve any issues that employees may experience during their employment at the company. This all may seem like moving a pile of data from one side to another using copy-paste, but it’s not.

What excites me about HR administration is the application of modern technology. With minor effort and a lot of knowledge, you can manipulate a lot of data without the need for papers, binders, pens, and folders.

The job of an HR administrator covers so many activities – which leaves no room for boredom.

In most cases, this includes the following tasks:.

  • Preparation of contracts and annexes related to all contractual changes of employees
  • Maintaining an employee database
  • Keeping records of sick leave and vacations
  • Payroll and benefits. In some cases, the finance department or an external provider deals with salaries. In other cases, this is a job for the HR administration.
  • Onboarding – getting acquainted with the new employee, especially about the way the company operates and functions. Offboarding – saying goodbyes to employees and providing them with all the necessary and accompanying documentation
  • Working with a variety of reports
  • Communication with employees and clarification of all their (business) issues and doubts
  • Working on creating and maintaining internal policies and procedures
  • Communication with other departments in the company, external associates, and providers.

It is usually believed that the HR role is monotonous and uninteresting. But in fact, not only is this not true, but it’s also completely wrong. 

In the HR sector, there is always something new happening and everything works like a roller coaster. One working day can be peaceful and calm (although this is rarely the case), while the next can turn into a real chaos.

One thing is for sure – it’s never boring.

HR administration is, for the most part, the last link in the HR chain. The HR administrative workers are usually the ones who implement everything that has been decided and agreed upon.

They formalize all agreements and negotiations and make them valid. Still, this doesn’t mean that HR doesn’t have the power to decide and to reduce the whole work to execution. An HR administrator’s job is to “officialize” the work of other departments, such as recruitment, strategic planning, and training departments. It still has a significant role in many other aspects of the company’s business. He or she is in charge of creating and maintaining internal policies and procedures, and, and regulating all possible issues related to human resources in the company. Nevertheless, her/his responsibilities do not end there – but also include workplace policy – social inclusion, gender equality, and security measures in offices.

HR administration covers so many different topics and various tasks. As an HR administrator, you have the opportunity to learn something new each day, but also to face  different challenges.

In a very short time of working in HR administration, you will become a multitasker. Multitasking will become your new superpower. 

This is the ideal job for you if you like constant dynamics in the workplace. It is a combination of working with people, and with different programs. If you find yourself in this blog post, workingY in HR administration might be perfect for you.

Author: Ana Sekulić, HR Generalist

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