What are the Functions of the HR Department?

What are the Functions of the HR Department?
Reading Time: 5 mins
Published: June 12, 2024
Last Updated: July 15, 2024
  • Strategic Planning
  • Recruitment and Selection
  • Performance Management:
  • Learning and Development
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Employee Relations
  • Health, Safety, and Well-being
  • Employee Data Management
  • Change Management
  • HR Technology and Analytics

The HR department is often considered the paper-pushing, compliance-focused arm of a business. The truth is, however, much more complex. HR is directly responsible for setting the tone and developing the culture within an organisation, which in turn filters down through every process.

In this blog, we will explore the operational elements of HR departments, the value they hold, and the impact they have on employees and the enterprise.

Strategic Planning

Human resources is not just about finding people to fill vacant seats. This is a matter of the business having a pipeline of skills & employees for the long term. This involves:

Workforce Analysis: This is a strategic plan that HR engages in to determine current and projected talent needs based on business needs for specific periods (short-term, medium-term, and long-term). This is the data-driven approach that helps the company only use the best-fitted talent for the right role in the correct time.

Talent Acquisition: This is an HR department function that is designed to develop a strategy to get the most appropriate candidates for the workforce analysis. It could involve writing great job descriptions, using the right recruitment tools and methods, and showcasing your company culture in the right light.

Succession Planning: HR simply cannot wait for the building to burn. These are the employees who could, with proper training and guidance, step into key roles whenever any kind of order transitions of leadership and/or critical knowledge are likely to be lost due to attrition.

Recruitment and Selection

After the strategic plan is established, the HR department is focused on bringing in the right talent on board for the open positions. This involves:

Job Posting and Sourcing: HR creates simple, concise job descriptions that reflect the position's duties and qualifications. They can also distribute the position across different channels to ensure a broad selection of potential candidates. These channels could be online job boards, professional networking sites, and employee referrals.

Screening and Shortlisting: HR screens resumes and cover letters, prepares the list of eligible candidates, and reaches out for interviews. This level encompasses the use of numerous evaluation processes to identify the most suitable skills, experience, and cultural fit for the position with the least amount of resources.

Onboarding: It is the HR department that welcomes newly acquired talents and gives them the feel of the organisation. This includes orientation, and helping to adapt to organisational policies and culture - setting a new employee up with the tools and resources to be successful.

Performance Management:

Performance management comes in to ensure a culture of continuous improvement. The HR department is the most suitable to manage that. This includes:

Setting Goals: HR works with your management team to establish measurable goals for your direct reports. These objectives should of course be role-specific and supplementary to the organisational goals included.

Performance Reviews: The HR holds performance reviews often, where the employees will come to know about their strengths and the nudging limit they can undergo. These responses include numerous specifics about the aspects where employees could improve to enhance their career and job performance. 

Performance Development: HR departments may offer training programs or resources for company members who need assistance bringing performance up to par or leveling up their skills on the job.

Learning and Development

The success of an organisation is based upon the skilled workforce of the organisation. The importance of HR in delivering lifelong learning from employee training makes it happen This includes: 

Needs Assessments: The HR departments conduct assessments to identify the skills and knowledge that will be required at various levels and hire manpower (force) in order to get the work done (needs) through planned, systematic training interventions.

Training and Development Programs: HR develops, sources or facilitates training programs that give employees the tools, skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their roles and adapt to emerging business demands

Leadership Development: HR listens to feedback from the leadership team and then invests in developing strong leaders through training and mentorship opportunities. These programs develop leadership skills, coaching capabilities, and a strategic mindset.

Compensation and Benefits

To compete for top talent, employers must provide a competitive compensation and benefits package. HR is responsible for:

Compensation Strategy: HR works with finance to develop and maintain a compensation plan. It works with finance to put a plan in place that includes making sure employees are paid fairly and competitively (based on responsibilities, seniority, average pay in that field, and the cost of living).

Benefits Administration: The HR office administers a complete benefits package (including insurance, retirement, paid time off, etc) that meets employee demand and elevates the level of job satisfaction.

Rewards: Conversely, employees who obtain high levels of performance may be rewarded by the organisation through the creation of performance-based incentive programs as designed and implemented by HR. Such compensation is to reward an employee who is always performing at the top.

Employee Relations

The HR manager has a crucial role in maintaining positive employee relations by:

Conflict Resolution: HR is responsible for ensuring that workplace conflicts are solved in a fair and timely manner. This may be through mediation, facilitated dialogue, or funding to support conflict management.

Employee Engagement: HR implements programs aimed at improving employee communication. It provides a way for dispersed workforces to stay connected and feel part of one culture. The HR department also provides training and development opportunities that empower employees to stay with their company for a longer time period and give their best effort.

Labor Laws Compliance: HRs are also responsible for making sure that the firm follows all the labour laws in the market about the rights of the employees, the working conditions, and the wages they get.

Health, Safety, and Well-being

HR is responsible for creating and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. This includes: 

Developing Safety Programs: HR works with safety professionals to develop and implement safety protocols, training programs, and hazard identification procedures.

Accident Prevention: HR takes proactive measures to prevent workplace accidents and injuries through safety awareness campaigns, promoting safe work practices, and providing employees with necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).

Employee Well-being: HR initiatives can promote employee well-being by offering wellness programs, encouraging healthy work-life balance, and providing access to resources for mental and emotional health.

HR Functions

Employee Data Management

The HR department manages a vast amount of sensitive employee data. This includes:

Maintaining Employee Records: HR ensures accurate and secure maintenance of employee records, including payroll information, benefits enrollment details, and performance evaluations.

Compliance with Data Privacy Regulations: HR ensures compliance with data privacy regulations by implementing appropriate data security measures and obtaining employee consent for data collection and usage.

Change Management

The business landscape is constantly evolving, and organisations need to adapt to stay competitive. HR plays a crucial role in managing organisational change by:

Communicating Change Effectively: HR clearly communicates upcoming changes to employees, addressing potential concerns and providing support during the transition period.

Change Management Initiatives: HR may facilitate workshops or training programs to help employees understand the rationale behind the changes and equip them with the skills and resources to adapt effectively.

HR Technology and Analytics

The HR department uses tools and data analytics where technology is used to streamline processes, where data is then collected to give valuable insights to then be able to make a data-driven decision. HR may utilise:

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS): Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) help in recruiting by managing job posts, applications, and candidate communication.

LMS platforms: Learning Management Systems which provide online training modules, track the learning progress of employees, and measure the effectiveness of training were introduced next.

People Analytics: Using data analytics tools to understand employee demographics, performance trends, and workforce sentiment to make more data-driven HR decisions. 

The HR department is a wide yet strategic one depending on how it is played in the organisation. It has a critical role to play in everything from recruiting and keeping the best people, to creating a positive work culture, and making sure the company follows regulations. 

The HR department functions will probably become more strategic as the business landscape changes in the future, in terms of employee experience, talent development for the future of work, and leveraging data analytics to optimise HR processes.

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