What Does Human Resources Do? A Comprehensive Guide to HR Duties and Their Timeframes

Discover the key HR functions & their timeframes with our comprehensive guide to human resources duties. From employee benefits administration to payroll.



Working in the HR department can be a demanding job, with a wide range of responsibilities and administrative tasks that must be managed every day. From hiring and training new employees to managing compensation, benefits, and payroll, your HR department has a lot on its plate.

Despite the challenges, every HR professional plays a critical role in keeping businesses running smoothly and ensuring that employees are supported and satisfied in their jobs.

With years of experience in the field, here at Stratus HR, we've gained a deep understanding of the daily tasks that HR professionals and department managers handle and the time required to complete them. Here, we'll provide a comprehensive overview of these tasks and the effort involved in carrying them out effectively.

By the end, you'll have a clear sense of the hard work and dedication required to succeed in this dynamic and rewarding profession.

Why Is HR Important to a Company’s Success?

An HR department is crucial for the success of any business, as it plays a vital role in attracting and retaining top talent, developing employees, managing their performance, and ensuring compliance with employment laws.

As an HR professional, it's your job to help create a positive work environment that fosters employee engagement, productivity, and long-term success, which are critical components of a company's overall strategic objectives. 

Human resources departments' impact on a company's success is far-reaching and multi-faceted. Your human resources department can be the difference between a thriving, successful business and one that struggles to retain talent, meet goals, and comply with legal requirements.

Investing in your HR department is essential for any company that wants to build a talented, engaged, and motivated workforce and achieve sustainable growth over the long term.

What Are the Key HR Duties in a Typical Organization?

Human resources managers and resource management are crucial components of any business. HR managers play a vital role in overseeing the business's workforce, from hiring and onboarding new employees to developing and maintaining relationships with current staff members.

Let's explore the key HR duties that are essential to understand, as these duties and responsibilities will help your business develop effective human resource management practices and foster a productive workforce.

Based on research and industry averages, here are estimated time frames for completing each of the three HR responsibilities and duties listed:


Recruitment is the process of finding and hiring qualified candidates for job openings. The time frame for the recruitment and hiring process can vary depending on the business's hiring needs, but it typically takes between four and eight weeks to fill a position.

Here is the average length it could take to conduct various recruitment tasks:

  • Onboard new employees: 2-4 weeks
  • Create or update job descriptions: 1-2 weeks
  • Develop and maintain relationships with staffing agencies or recruiting firms: Ongoing
  • Source candidates through social media, job boards, and other online channels: 2-4 weeks
  • Screen resumes and conduct initial candidate interviews: 1-2 weeks
  • Conduct background checks and verify employment history: 2-4 weeks
  • Negotiate and extend job offers to selected candidates: 1-2 weeks

Benefits Administration:

Benefits administration involves managing employee benefit programs, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. The time frame varies depending on the type of benefit program and the business's processes, but here are a few examples of these tasks:

  • Benefits administration: Ongoing
  • Open enrollment: 2-4 weeks
  • Manage employee benefits enrollments, changes, and terminations: Ongoing
  • Serve as point of contact for employee benefits questions or issues: Ongoing
  • Evaluate and recommend new benefit options to management: 2-4 weeks
  • Communicate benefit plan changes to employees: 1-2 weeks

Payroll and Compensation:

Payroll and compensation management involves administering employee salaries, bonuses, and benefits, which typically occurs on a regular schedule, such as biweekly or monthly. Here are some payroll and compensation tasks and the average length it takes to conduct them:

  • Payroll processing: 1-2 weeks
  • Timekeeping: Ongoing
  • Calculate and process employee bonuses or incentives: 1-2 weeks
  • Manage time-off requests and PTO accruals: Ongoing
  • Maintain accurate employee payroll records and respond to employee payroll inquiries: Ongoing
  • Conduct wage and salary surveys to ensure competitiveness in the market: 2-4 weeks
  • Create and maintain compensation structures and job grades: Ongoing

Employee Relations:

Employee relations involves managing the relationship between employees and the business, including addressing employee concerns, facilitating conflict resolution, and promoting employee engagement. The time frame for conducting employee and labor relations often varies depending on the nature of the issue and your business's processes.

  • Customize employee handbook: 1-2 weeks
  • Update employee handbook: Ongoing
  • Add supplemental policies to the handbook template: 1-2 weeks
  • Respond to employee questions: Ongoing
  • Manage employee grievances and facilitate conflict resolution: Ongoing
  • Develop and execute employee engagement programs: 2-4 weeks
  • Manage employee recognition and rewards programs: Ongoing
  • Develop and implement workplace culture initiatives: 2-4 weeks


Compliance involves ensuring that the employee records of your business comply with federal, state, and local employment laws and regulations. The time frame varies depending on the specific regulations and your business's processes.

  • Verify I-9 documents: 2-4 weeks
  • Perform E-Verify: 2-4 weeks
  • Administer FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act): Ongoing
  • Respond to unemployment claims: Ongoing
  • Prepare and participate in unemployment hearings: 1-2 weeks
  • Ensure compliance with federal, state, and local employment laws and regulations: Ongoing
  • Conduct regular compliance audits and risk assessments: 2-4 weeks
  • Provide compliance training programs to employees and management: 2-4 weeks
  • Maintain personnel files and other human resource records in compliance with legal requirements: Ongoing
  • Workers’ compensation: Ongoing
  • Prepare and file necessary employment-related reports and tax forms: 1-2 weeks

Performance Management:

Performance management requires managing employee training and evaluating employee performance to improve job performance and align employee goals with your business goals, which typically occurs on a regular schedule, such as annually or biannually.

  • Assess and conduct performance appraisal: 1-2 weeks
  • Develop and implement performance improvement plans for underperforming employees: 2-4 weeks
  • Coach managers on how to conduct effective performance appraisals and feedback sessions: Ongoing
  • Facilitate career development and training opportunities for employees: Ongoing
  • Manage the promotion and transfer process for employees: 2-4 weeks
  • Analyze employee performance metrics to identify trends and areas for improvement: Ongoing

Termination and Offboarding:

The estimated time to conduct termination and offboarding can vary depending on your business's size, complexity, and specific circumstances surrounding the termination.

However, the following are approximate time frames for each task:

  • Perform and document exit interviews: 2-4 weeks
  • Conduct involuntary termination meetings and prepare separation agreements: 1-2 weeks
  • Manage employee exit processes and coordinate with IT and other departments to ensure appropriate access changes: 2-4 weeks
  • Process final pay and benefits, including COBRA and retirement plan distributions: 2-4 weeks
  • Conduct post-employment interviews with former employees to gather feedback and identify areas for improvement: 2-4 weeks

Other Human Resources Tasks

For other human resources tasks, the time frame can also vary based on the specific task and the size and complexity of your business.

Here are some approximate time frames for each task:

  • Update human resource forms: 1-2 weeks
  • Create or update employee surveys: 2-4 weeks
  • Review employee survey responses: 1-2 weeks
  • Develop and implement HR policies and procedures: 4-8 weeks
  • Create and maintain employee handbooks and other HR-related documents: 4-8 weeks
  • Provide HR support for mergers, acquisitions, and other business transactions: 6-12 weeks
  • Analyze HR metrics to identify trends and areas for improvement: 2-4 weeks
  • Develop and execute HR-related projects, such as diversity and inclusion initiatives or talent management programs: 6-12 week
The crucial functions of a human resources manager are business administration, organizing, managing, directing, and planning the entire human resources management in a company

Is There A Way To Minimize Time Spent On Administrative Tasks?

The implementation of a human resources information system (HRIS) can streamline the management of the HR departments and functions for many companies. On average, the process of researching, participating in demos, and deciding on the right system can take 20-40 hours.

Additionally, staff will need to invest time in training to maximize the system's efficiency. Despite any initial frustrations, the long-term benefits of an HR system are significant.

Can I Streamline HR Administration Tasks By Outsourcing?

While no two Human Resources managers will ever have the same responsibilities from one day to the next, each one has an extensive list of tasks that consume their time. Couple that with employee questions and concerns that are difficult to foresee and typically need to be addressed as soon as possible, and suddenly you have little time for more strategic HR management projects.

Thankfully, you can outsource many of the administrative tasks to Stratus HR. This will, in turn, provide more time for your internal Human Resources manager to focus on strategic HR initiatives that will align with company objectives and improve your business administration's overall workplace culture.

If you're looking to streamline your HR operations and free up time for strategic initiatives, contact Stratus HR today to book a consultation and learn how our expert team can help.

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