When someone mentions they’re taking an HR course, have you ever wondered exactly what that entails? Like, what do a human resources professional do, exactly? Apart from telling you where to sit on the first day, and helping with leave applications and/or internal disputes about who is supposed to feed the office goldfish, of course…
All kidding aside, HR is a vital department in a business of any size. Here is a look at the seven core functions the human resources department fulfills:
What exactly are the 7 functions of the HR department?
1. Sourcing & securing top talent
In order to thrive and stay ahead of the competition, a business needs talented individuals as part of its team. This is as true for an accountancy firm as it is for an agricultural operation. The same goes for bakeries, retail stores, fashion designing enterprises, holiday resorts, and every other business known to man.
One of the most important aspects of an HR professional’s job is to source and secure top talent for their company. This includes everything from recruitment, to hiring, onboarding, and keeping tabs on employee engagement.
DID YOU KNOW? Top companies like Deloitte, Citi, and Coca-Cola now consider their alumni as a part of their extended employee network. By staying in touch with departing employees, they leave the door open for boomerang hires high-quality talent referrals, collaborations, business development, and more.
2. Training up the team
Most HR courses will also introduce students and upskilled professionals to the importance of training and development. Companies that spend time and resources to train and develop their employees have a far higher retention rate than those that don’t. The human resources department has a big role to play in this respect.
They facilitate learning opportunities, liaise with course providers, induct new recruits with regard to internal development resources, etc.
3. Fostering a happy dynamic between employees & employers
Even though we all wish it were so, things do not always go smoothly. This is particularly true of communication between employees and employers who operate at different levels within a given enterprise.
This is where HR comes in – these individuals act as a very important go-between to ensure that all parties feel heard and understood, and that company objectives are being met in a way that takes the needs of employees into account as well.
4. Being the company culture cheerleader
Company culture is a funny thing to keep track of – it’s ever-evolving and encompasses so many aspects of a business. From hiring practices to peer-on-peer communication, approaches to upskilling, and so much more, there is a lot that goes into corporate culture.
The HR department plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the vision, mission, norms, and values of their company become a living ecosystem in which employees can thrive. There are many moving parts to this function, and it also requires the ability to maintain a macro view while taking care of things on a micro-level.
5. Managing benefits, perks & rewards
Of course, every human resources course will also tell you that HR personnel is involved in a fair amount of administration. This includes keeping track of company benefits, perks, and rewards as it pertains to employees.
Benefits refer to things like employer contributions to health care plans and retirement annuities. Perks and rewards, on the other hand, refer to incentives that are put in place to boost employee engagement and productivity. This includes things like group travel, extra time off, monetary rewards, and more.
6. Creating a safe & secure work environment
The HR department also has to ensure that employees are safe at work by keeping the workplace free of hazards, and ensuring that the emotional welfare of all employees is seen to as well.
They are in charge of emergency training and staying on top of procedures and protocols involved with workplace safety. As such, they also need to ensure that the business is compliant with government laws and industry regulations.
7. Dealing with the tough stuff
HR practitioners are also called upon to step in when things get really tough – i.e. disciplinary measures need to be taken, or someone has to be let go.
This type of situation is normally quite difficult and often very complicated. It calls for a very diplomatic approach and a strong understanding of the correct protocols that have to be followed from a business perspective, and the right way to act in order to avoid undue conflict or escalation.
The way we’re working is changing every day, and in the end, it will be businesses that create a happy, healthy working environment for their employees that will thrive. HR is pivotal in all of that. It’s the cog in the middle that makes everything else go the right way around.
Expand on your human resource management skills ﹘ Find out more about HR short courses here. Who knows, it might just be time for you to pivot that way!