Core Functions of HR

Human resources (HR) professionals conduct a wide variety of tasks within an organizational structure. A brief review of the core functions of human resource departments will be useful in framing the more common activities a human resource professional will conduct. The core functions can be summarized as:

This includes the activities of hiring new full-time or part-time employees, hiring contractors, and terminating employee contracts

Staffing activities include:
Identifying and fulfilling talent needs (through recruitment, primarily)
Utilizing various recruitment technologies to acquire a high volume of applicants (and to filter based on experience)
Terminating contracts when necessary
Maintaining ethical hiring practices and aligning with the regulatory environment
Writing employee contracts and negotiating salary and benefits

On-boarding new employees and providing resources for continued development is a key investment for organizations, and HR is charged with maintaining a developmental approach to existing human resources.

Development activities include:
Training and preparing new employees for their role
Providing training opportunities (internal training, educational programs, conferences, etc.) to keep employees up to date in their respective fields
Preparing management prospects and providing feedback to employees and managers

Salary and benefits are also within the scope of human resource management. This includes identifying appropriate compensation based on role, performance, and legal requirements.

Compensation activities include:
Setting compensation levels to match the market, using benchmarks such as industry standards for a given job function
Negotiating group health insurance rates, retirement plans, and other benefits with third party providers
Discussing raises and other compensation increases and/or decreases with employees in the organization
Ensuring compliance with legal and cultural expectations when it comes to employee compensation

Safety and Health
Achieving best practices in various industries include careful considering of safety and health concerns for employees.

Safety and health activities include:
Ensuring compliance with legal requirements based on job function for safety measures (i.e. hard hats in construction, available counseling for law enforcement, appropriate safety equipment for chemists, etc.)
Implementing new safety measures when laws change in a given industry
Discussing safety and compliance with relevant government departments
Discussing safety and compliance with unions

Employee and Labor Relations
Defending employee rights, coordinating with unions, and mediating disagreements between the organization and its human resources is also a core HR function.

Employee and labor relations activities include:
Mediating disagreements between employees and employers
Mediating disagreements between employees and other employees
Considering claims of harassment and other workplace abuses
Discussing employee rights with unions, management, and stakeholders
Acting as the voice of the organization and/or the voice of the employees during any broader organizational issues pertaining to employee welfare


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