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What Is the Supervisor's Role in Human Resource Management?

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A supervisor is, in most situations, the first rung on the management ladder in a company. He still performs work duties while taking on some of a manager's functions, from both his own department and the human resources department. Supervisors may perform tasks from all areas of HR oversight.

Recruiting and Intake

Supervisors have human resources duties in job hiring functions, such as identifying the need for additional workers or specific skills to improve departmental performance. Companies using peer-based interviews may use a supervisor in the interview group. Though more typically a management function, one-on-one interviews and hiring decisions are delegated to supervisors. Hiring intake and paperwork is often assigned to supervisors, particularly in multi-shift environments, when HR staff may not be on duty.

Orientation and Training

Floor supervisors most often assist the human resources functions of orientation and training. The handoff of a new recruit from HR to supervisor usually happens during or prior to orientation. The supervisor may be responsible for following an orientation checklist, later filed with HR. Typically this includes practical safety training as well as a tour of the workplace and introductions with other staff. Supervisors may perform job training with the new hire, or assign her with another worker in the department.

Development and Retention

Supervisors complete performance evaluations on existing employees, or simply provide data to HR for evaluation purposes. As the first level of management, supervisors are usually the contact point for employees with vacation requests or other HR-related communications. Job coaching, while typically a departmental task, may be requested by human resources in cases of poor job performance, and supervisors may be responsible for implementing disciplinary steps in the absence of HR staff.

The Human Resources Supervisor

A supervisor in the HR department performs functions similar to supervisors in other departments, though the work of the department is focused on human resources. This alignment means the HR supervisor may have duties that are more planning and strategy-based around the human resources discipline than the floor supervisor. The HR supervisor may oversee the work of HR clerks, if the department is structured in that way. A supervisor in the human resources department is likely to have input into HR policies and procedures.


A full-time content creation freelancer for over 12 years, Scott Shpak is a writer, photographer and musician, with a past career in business with Kodak.

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