Functions of Human Resources: How the department works

Functions of Human Resources: How the department works

    Whats Inside?

  1. Key HR functions

Human resources management is frequently thought of as the department in charge of recruiting and dismissing staff. However, Human Resources management is much more than that. A well-managed Human Resources department can provide a proper structure. It can also have the ability to fulfill business needs by handling your company's greatest resource. This resource is the company employees.


Key HR functions

Human resources practitioners perform a wide range of tasks within an organizational structure. These tasks can be grouped into functions. These functions work towards recruiting potential personnel, hiring, and training them. They, furthermore, work to assist them in improving their performance so that they can attain their full potential and help the company meet its goals.

Related: HR Skills Required for A Successful Human Resource Manager


HR Planning & Management

Human resource planning and management is a strategic decision-making process that envisions the future planning of a company. It involves integrating the organizations existing workforce with its goals and vision. It is the first HR function and is all about anticipating the organizations future needs. How many and what kind of people does the organization require? Understanding this will influence how human resource functions are shaped for the organization.

Recruitment & Selection



Organizations must attract and retain top talent to remain competitive in the industry. The Human resources department creates a strategy to bring new blood into the organization. They are responsible for looking for employees and determining what these employees and their job descriptions will look like. Organizations must create job descriptions that clearly define roles and responsibilities. When recruiting, the HR department must understand how to properly conduct the recruiting and selection process to retain top personnel and develop a strong and consistent team. While education, skill set, and experience are important, HR must also consider personal qualities and communication style to enhance the likelihood of lengthy compatibility.

Related: Human Resources Outsourcing: A Guide for HR Professionals

Training & Development 

New hires at a firm are expected to receive the appropriate orientation and training to flourish in their positions as soon as they are brought on board. As part of this process, you will be required to communicate the organizations core values, vision, mission, and internal regulations and procedures.


The majority of HR departments also provide professional development and leadership training opportunities. Professional development training is for employees who want to advance in their careers or accomplish goals such as completing a college degree.


Leadership training may be required for newly hired supervisors and managers who have recently been promoted. This training may address subjects such as how to engage employees and resolve disagreements in the workplace at the department level. HR training and development frequently cover tuition assistance and tuition reimbursement programs.


Human resource departments must create budgets to cater to employees training and development. It is their responsibility to lead these efforts in the right direction.

Related: Human Resource Best Practices (A mini-guide to HRM)


Performance Management System

Employee performance has a significant effect on the success of a business. Organizations must then track and evaluate performance. Performance management systems aim to increase productivity by establishing effective key performance indicators. Traditionally, the Human Resources department reviews performance using appraisals on a bi-annual or yearly basis.


Performance management entails much more than the yearly performance review meeting. It ensures that employee production meets the organizations goals.


Career / Succession Planning

As an HR function, succession planning is an effort to plan, monitor, and manage the growth paths of employees within organizations. Typically, Managers and HR personally select promising and bright employees who thrive in their positions within the organization, and their development paths evolve.

Related: Role of Technology in Human Resource Management


Compensation & Benefits

Organizations create appealing compensation and benefits to attract the best talent in the industry and retain existing talent. They also do it, so other organizations in the industry recognize them as a benchmark or good paymaster following industry norms and driving high performance. The HR departments role is to monitor industry salary standards and constantly match the industry level.


HR has to establish clear policies and guidelines regarding employee compensation and available benefits. One of the HR managers responsibilities is to ensure that employees follow these policies and guidelines correctly. This promotes equality and transparency among employees and management in the organization and is an excellent way to reduce turnover rates. After all, employee satisfaction at work is directly proportional to pay and benefits.


Rewards & Recognitions

Another human resource function that the HR department can use by an organization. The HR department can create different forms of rewards and recognition. Rewards could be a sponsored vacation, raise in salary, bonus, or performance-based pay. Recognitions could be a higher post, job security, growth opportunities, a good work environment, accolades, and offering credibility across the company.

Related: Employee Onboarding: Complete Guide [2023]

Policy Formulation

Policies are the foundation of HR functions and the HR department is responsible for designing and formulating them. HR policies are principles that govern the company's relationship with its employees. A policy provides guidelines for a wide range of employment relationships. The purpose and significance of HR policies are self-explanatory. They provide structure, control, consistency, fairness, and reasonableness in SMEs.


They also ensure compliance with employment legislation and inform employees of their responsibilities and the company's expectations. In addition, they also provide transparency in how the organization will manage the recruitment processes and should be easily accessible by all team leaders and employees alike. Every organization requires policies to ensure consistency in action and equity in its interactions with employees.

Related: How much do human resource managers make: A global perspective


Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a term used to describe a state of mind in which employees are committed to their work, are enthusiastic about it, and draw on their skills and abilities to contribute to their organization. Another definition states that employee engagement is the level of an employees commitment and connection to an organization. From these two definitions, one thing is apparent: Employee engagement centres on the employee and their commitment to the organization.


In todays competitive marketplace, employee engagement has emerged as a critical driver of business success. High levels of engagement encourage talent retention, instill customer satisfaction, and enhance organizational growth. The HR department must see that the organization invests in employee engagement initiatives to bring a new light into the company atmosphere.

Health & Safety

Health and safety are critical HR functions throughout the Human Resource Management landscape. Employees spend the majority of their time at work, and it is the organizations responsibility to provide them with a safe, friendly, and secure environment. The HR department is responsible for designing and formulating regulations that the employees must adhere to. Some of these regulations may also apply to visitors.


One of the primary functions of HR is to make these regulations part of the workplace culture. A well-known example is the oil company Shell, where it is prohibited to walk the stairs without holding the railing – also in the company's headquarters. This is part of Shells "Goal Zero\" initiative, which stands for "zero accidents."


HR departments should prioritize more than just a pleasant working environment. In terms of health, various seminars and workshops are unquestionably necessary for the interests of the employees.

Related: What do Human Resources Managers do?


Disciplinary action

The HR department has the task of implementing disciplinary actions for common infractions. These can include dress code violations, discrimination, harassment and other similar infractions of company policies. This task is what can make HR professionals unlikable among other employees. Let us face it: nobody likes to be disciplined or told to change their behavior. However, it is necessary for maintaining a healthy and happy workplace.


During investigations, the HR department provides an HR adviser. The HR advisers job is to make sure that the lead investigator is aware of the steps required to conduct a fair and thorough investigation, for example, identifying and conducting interviews with suitable witnesses and collecting supporting documentation.

Compliance and Legal Labor Laws

Labor Laws and compliance define the employer-employee relationship. The HR management team is aware of these legal issues to protect both employees and the company. Non-compliance can result in workplace complaints based on unfair employment practices, unsafe working conditions and general dissatisfaction with working conditions that can affect productivity and ultimately, profitability. To effectively defend employees rights, the HR team must possess a solid understanding of the applicable employment legislation.


The disciplinary hearing officer must understand how to do their job correctly, and the HR adviser plays an important role in making sure that there is a clear understanding. Disciplinary hearers should know what their role is before engaging in the process. Knowledge of the factors that indicate misconduct is serious enough to escalate to gross misconduct is essential. HR can also make disciplinary hearing panels aware of previous cases involving similar facts to ensure consistency. This is the role of the HR department.


The HR department is critical to the smooth operation of the organization. The HR departments role varies and enables businesses to get the most from their employees. This role begins with developing the appropriate policies for the job requirements and ensures the company's successful business growth. HR department functions are an invisible agent that connects all aspects of the organization to ensure smooth progress.



Natasha Chimphondah is an organizational development consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a business management and human resources consulting firm.


Phone: (0242) 481946-9/481950

Mobile: (+263) 783836901


Main website:

Natasha Chimphondah
This article was written by Natasha a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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