What Are The Primary Activities of Human Resource Management (HR) Departments?

Leadership Advisory

Engaged employees are the greatest resource that an organization can have, and yet the importance of human resources has, until recently, paled in comparison to other business operations. The importance of the HR department and its relationship with employees was bought to light mainly through the introduction to global markets and new technology. In the modern business environment, leaders understand the importance of appointing the right people and keeping them engaged.

What is human resource management?

HR departments fulfill a number of duties, including creating and maintaining policies and procedures in support of business goals and objectives. This department is ultimately responsible for ensuring that business objectives are met. Furthermore, the HR department is responsible for the company culture – ensuring that employee relations are positive, and thus fostering employee retention.

Human resource management also works on the distribution of company benefits and the management of employee performance. A positive work environment is key to organizational success, and the HR team maintains this to a large degree.


What are the functions of human resource management?

The functions of human resources management depend on the size of the business, the type of employees, and the industry. The HR department sources talent and strives to improve communication within the business.

Some other functions of human resource management include:

  • One of the core HR functions is professional development, from simple orientation to advanced training programs. Employee training is essential to the company’s success as it ensures upskilling within the organization.
  • Many HR departments are responsible for implementing and managing incentive programs as part of performance management. Having incentive programs in place motivates employees and increases employee happiness through job satisfaction.
  • Annual HR activities may include the development and implementation of employee development programs. This encourages employee growth and increases their sense of job security as they often feel that the company is investing in them.
  • The human resources department takes responsibility for many workforce management operations. They create and implement policies and procedures, handle grievances from employees, work closely with labor unions, etc.
  • The HR department will also conduct a job analysis to determine what is required of a specific position before it is filled. After the analysis is complete, they would create the job advertisement and description as necessary.

What are the responsibilities of human resource management?

When taking a broader look at HR functions, it becomes clear that HR professionals are expected to create and implement measures that improve the efficiency of the workplace. This overarching responsibility can be divided into different individual responsibilities that are easier to measure.

Human resources are expected to maintain safety, which includes elements like data protection. This is important because data breaches are extremely harmful to organizations, as are worker’s compensation claims. Security measures have to be in place, and aligned with national requirements to minimize threats.

In addition to safety regulations, there are other regulations that a business needs to comply with. It is the responsibility of the human resources department to ensure that the company complies with all regulations. HR professionals need to keep abreast of regulations, changes that are made, and new legislature that is introduced. Some of this is industry and country-specific.

We have made some mention of human resource practices also involving training employees through activities like induction programs, team building, etc. Training programs often increase employee satisfaction and benefit the company in return. It helps to retain talent, which is another core responsibility for the HR team. It is not uncommon for different teams to have slightly different needs. The HR team establishes these needs and then implements plans to meet these needs. This can include anything from organizational culture to enhancing work-life balance.

Part of employee relations that the HR department takes care of includes the administration of benefits and pay. Fair compensation and benefits are important to employees who will pay attention to these things during the hiring process. They know what other employees in their industry make and will expect similar benefits for similar jobs. Having fair pay practices, including pay raises, can help boost productivity and attract new employees.

Another one of the essential HR functions is staffing and succession planning. Hiring managers form part of the HR department and help to attract the best candidates to become new employees within the business. It is up to HR to ensure that qualified candidates who meet requirements are given an offer that is attractive enough to ensure that the business is staffed with the best employees possible.

Human resource management and small business

There are essential HR activities in any size business, but the role that human resource management plays in small businesses can have higher stakes. This is simply because one employee is much more valuable to a small company than to a very large company. Things like performance reviews for existing employees and better hiring practices for potential employees become even more important in small businesses.

There are some steps that a small business owner can take to give themselves more of a competitive advantage in the HR department:

  • They can ensure continual development compensation or opportunities for employees.
  • Company policies can be clearly stated in an employee handbook that is made available to all employees.
  • Ensure that an HR professional is active in the recruitment process and plays a part from the beginning (writing job descriptions) to the end (onboarding in accordance with business needs).
  • Engage in assessments related to company goals and performance management. Establish where there are gaps that might be filled by additional employees. Address concerns related to specific employees identified during a performance evaluation.

HRM systems and software

In the modern, highly globalized, and digitalized context, the number of contract-based workers has steadily increased over the last few years. Management of these various contracts can place strain on general HR activities as contract workers require more maintenance than permanent employees. This has led many HR professionals to turn to software for support. The software can assist with onboarding, performance management, health insurance, payroll, etc. This frees up time and resources that HR professionals can devote to more stringent management of company benefits, company culture, compliance, etc.


Why use a human resource management system (HRMS)?

HRMS simplify and automate basic administrative functions and are essential elements of business success. Where the focus is on the employees, an HR manager can:

  • Establish and maintain all regulatory compliance.
  • Make decisions driven by data.
  • Eliminate redundancies to save costs.
  • Retain employees and enhance engagement.
  • Optimize productivity in the workforce.
  • Manage employees more efficiently.
  • Improve the essential responsibility of the hiring manager.

Frequently asked questions about HRM

What is HR compliance?

Any organization must comply with several employment laws depending on where they are located. It is the responsibility of human resources to ensure that all these regulations are met. This means that HR professionals need to consistently monitor regulatory requirements, and they need to understand them. Where necessary, they need to create training programs to ensure that employees also understand regulations, as that often ensures a safe work environment for all.

What are the seven functions of HR?

Generally speaking, HR functions include seven basic elements that everyone can agree on. These key functions are most often found in all businesses, no matter the size, and are expected to be performed by the HR department.

  1. Risk Management
  2. Labor Relations
  3. Policy Creation
  4. Compensation and Benefits
  5. Training and Development
  6. Recruitment
  7. Strategic Planning

What are the five main areas of HR?

HR functions can be divided into five main areas. HR professionals take on many different activities to ensure wellness and stability in the organization and among employees. These five main areas form the core of these HR functions:

  1. Employee Relations (conflict resolution, addressing complaints, working with unions, etc.)
  2. Safety and Compliance (Monitoring legislature, safety measures, compensation claims, etc.)
  3. Training and Development (Hiring process, creating and implementing education opportunities)
  4. Compensation and Benefits (pay scales, benefits packages, profit sharing, etc.)
  5. Recruitment and Staffing (Arbitrating contracts, identifying talent gaps, etc.)

What are the three major roles of human resources management?

The role that an HR manager plays in an organization can be divided into three primary objectives:

  1. Management of personnel. This includes conflict resolution, oversight of development and training, and ensuring healthy employee engagement.
  2. Change management. HR professionals ensure regulatory compliance and will enact procedural changes to ensure compliance as needed. They also need to make sure that employees understand regulations and follow them accordingly.
  3. Administration. Writing job descriptions, managing benefits packages, etc., are all examples of HR administration.

What is human resource management and its functions?

Human resource management professionals engage in supporting employees by creating and maintaining a positive workplace environment. Exactly what it does depends on the industry and individual company’s needs. Usually, however, it includes employee relations, training and development, compensation and benefits, performance management, and recruitment.