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What Is an HR Director? How to Become One, Salary, Skills.

HR directors oversee the strategies and budgeting needs of an HR department. Here’s what to know about an HR director’s needed skills, salary and how to become one.


What Is an HR Director?

HR directors oversee and manage the operations of a company’s human resources team, ensuring the workplace is a safe, productive environment for employees and that hiring goals are met. 


What Do HR Directors Do?

HR directors craft strategies for recruitment, onboarding, compensation and benefits, employee policies, training programs and more. They may also conduct workforce planning to allocate resources to meet hiring needs.

HR Director Responsibilities

  • Manage the operations of the HR team. 
  • Establish and maintain human resources policies.
  • Manage hiring policies and employment contracts. 
  • Maintain compliance with HR laws. 
  • Implement employee wellness initiatives. 
  • Manage performance reviews, training programs and employee benefits.

Day-to-Day Responsibilities of an HR Director

  • Maintain employee records. 
  • Manage company-wide communication. 
  • Field and respond to employee inquiries and requests.

HR Director Within a Company

Depending on the size of the company, an HR director may have several direct reports, including HR managers, HR specialists and HR coordinators. HR directors work closely with CEOs and other department heads to set company wide goals and introduce new initiatives. 

Importance of HR Director

HR directors are essential to the success of a company as they work to maintain compliance with workplace laws and regulations, help manage hiring and onboarding efforts, and develop diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

Day in the life of an HR director. | Video: HR University


What Skills Are Needed to Be an HR Director?

Qualifications to Be an HR Director

  • Ability to communicate clearly and effectively across several different departments. 
  • A firm understanding of labor and employment law.
  • Ability to empathize with the needs of people. 
  • Ability to manage multiple projects and ongoing initiatives simultaneously. 

HR Director Prerequisites

  • HR directors typically hold a bachelor’s degree in people management, HR management or a related field, or equivalent work experience. 
  • Previous experience managing people would be an asset to an aspiring HR director. 

HR Director Hard Skills

  • People management and leadership skills. 
  • Budget management.
  • Ability to use HR software tools, such as employee engagement platforms and applicant tracking systems.

HR Director Soft Skills

  • Strong verbal and written communication skills. 
  • Interpersonal skills. 
  • Organizational skills. 
  • Problem solving and decision making skills.
  • Crisis management. 

Tools and Programs HR Director Use

  • HR management platforms like BambooHR, Gusto, Paycom, Namely and Workday. 
  • Employee engagement platforms like 15Five, BetterUp, Bonusly and Culture Amp.
  • Hiring platforms like Notch, Entelo, Deel and Applied. 
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How to Become an HR Director

HR Director Education and Experience

HR directors are usually required to have a bachelor’s degree. Areas of study often include HR management or a related field. Most HR directors have previous experience on people management teams.

HR Director Certificates and Courses

HR Director Career Path

HR directors may begin their career as an intern working with a company’s people or operations team. Some commonly held positions before HR director include HR coordinator, HR assistant or HR specialist. After becoming an HR director, someone may progress onto positions like VP of people or chief people officer. 


HR Director Salary and Job Outlook

The job outlook for HR managers is expected to grow steadily over the next several years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the job growth rate will increase 7 percent by 2031. 

The full compensation package for an HR director depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the candidate’s experience and geographic location. See below for detailed information on the average HR director’s salary.


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