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When a company is formed, various departments are formed and managers are appointed. A business needs to be chaperoned to deal with the uncertainty of the market. Among the numerous departments, HR is one of the most underrated. Its importance is yet to be discovered by many traditional firms. This article not only opens the door to the functions of an HR but also evaluates what is an HR function in an organization.

What is an HR function in an organization?

Before evaluating the core HR functions, we will discuss what HR is and why is it important to the business.

Human Resource Planning

George Elton Mayo, known as the father of Human resource management, followed a series of experiments to understand the importance of key functions of human resources Through his experiments, Mayo found that certain behavioral changes largely affected the work quality and productivity of the workers. Unpredictable and unbalanced work culture not only mismanaged the organization but also led to tension between workers and the management.

What is human resource planning?

Mayo’s discoveries epitomized Human resources (HR) as a division of the business that is involved with screening, recruiting, training new applicants, and monitoring employee-benefit programs.  The famous writer, John R. Commons, in his book mentioned the term Human resources for the first time in 1893. However, it was not until in 1920 that the term got its recognition in the conventional business system.  Human Resource refers to personnel, individuals, and the workforce involved with an organization. The key function of Human resources is responsible for task performance, the achievement of goals, and organization objectives. The responsibilities are only possible through smart recruitment, proper selection, orientation, induction, skill development, and proper employee assessment. According to research conducted by a conference of economists, here is the HR function list that includes core HR functions and responsibilities;
  • Implementing and managing the application of technology through improved staffing, training, and skill development.
  • Establishing unbiased communication with employees. This helps in building better employee relationships.
  • Managing staff and utilizing their skills effectively.
  • Increase innovation, creativity, and flexibility to enhance competitiveness among employees.
  • Employee appraisal, compensating competencies, advancing employee benefits, and skill assessment.
  • Implementing succession planning, career development plans, advanced work process design, and inter-organization mobility.

What are HR functions and responsibilities?

Any product or service produced is the result of the avid human mind and their dedication. However, every mind is different from another. Hence, HR plays an ecstatic role in managing diverse skills and the workforce. The key function of human resources is to collaborate with every person working for the company to bring out the best result.

Core HR function responsibilities

Human resource planning

Among the HR function responsibilities, Human resource planning is one of the core HR functions. Human resource strategy or planning is defined as a systematic forecasting method dealing with fulfilling demand and supply of manpower that fulfills organization objectives. It won’t be wrong if this function is termed as the method for reviewing manpower necessities to ensure fulfillment of other HR function areas. The chief objective of developing a human resource strategy is;
  1. Forecast demand and supply of manpower in context with the objectives of an organization
  2. Estimate manpower gaps
  3. Formulate HR function models
  4. Maintain inventory of human resources and make the same available as per demand
  5. Control and present feedback reports
  6. Compels the organization to evaluate the weakness and strengths of personnel
  7. Re-examine HR policies, freeze recruitment, retrenchment and keep track of early retirements
  8.  Trim down part-time workers and develop HR function areas launch in transforming them into full-time workers.
  9. Launch recruitment programs, increase overtime, and delay retirement plans for the benefits of the organization
  10. Audit skill sets to help in fulfilling the company’s new goals

Recruiting, Hiring, Onboarding

Over the past few decades, Human resource functions have undergone a significant transition. Developers have introduced smart recruiting software that handles various HR function models. Among the key functions of human resources, recruiting and onboarding are some of the substantial functions.  Arguably one of the most important HR job function, the HR department develops strategies on how to attract, select, hire and bring skilled employees onboard. Appointing candidates of the right caliber is important for the organizations’ growth. Not only hiring, but the HR department also keeps steering the candidates through the onboarding process.  It won’t be wrong if we term the HR department as “the talent acquisition” division. With the help of recruiting software, the HR department nowadays can handle the following methods effortlessly;
  1. Declaring new employee requirements. Posting job requirements with a clear vision of what the company exactly wants.
  2. Provide a transparent glimpse of the work environment. It helps in analyzing work compatibility.
  3. Convey offer letter with warmth and appreciation
  4. Officially onboarding new candidates. 
  5. Keep a check on background documentation before hiring the candidates.
  6. Provide a checklist of assignments and goals for the new employees
  7. Schedule orientation for new employees
  8.  Help the employees in socializing among themselves, develop team-building and provide ample opportunities for networking

Employee training and development

Employee training and development is one of the key HR functions responsibilities. Over the decade, companies have encountered major development in their internal and external methodologies. Not only the way business runs, but the people involved with it have also come across the major transformation. Training and development are not only about building skills, but it is an endeavor, aimed to improve additional skills in the employees. Technically, employee development and training are among the key HR function areas which involve developing skill, change in attitude, and improve knowledge. It also targets the improvement of behavior, by conducting learning programs. It is the role of HRM personnel to motivate employees and make them believe that organization’s future lies on their shoulders. In addition to organizing development and learning programs, HRM takes help from online training software as well.  The online training software is also known as fun microlearning programs and an effective virtual space where the employee learns, collaborates, and acquires knowledge.

Compensation and benefits management

Decent pay-out plays a vital role in uplifting employees’ enthusiasm and keep them motivated. HR functions list involves charting out decent salary structure, incentives, manage bonuses and distribute the same efficiently. Right compensation and bonus are important to ensure productivity and employees’ sustainability in the organization. The HR team not only manages salary output for the working staff but also helps the company in attracting skilled people as well. The more attractive the benefits management, the better is the chances to appoint hardworking people into the company. 

Objectives of HRM while managing compensation policy are;

  • Maintain employment of qualified personnel
  • Manage pay structure to manage inflations
  • Appraisals for best performance, goal achievement, loyalty, and progression
  • Allure sustainable staff
  • Control salary and wages maintain compensation levels under different levels
  • Develop an altogether progressive reward level and maintain fair pay relationships

HR function responsibilities

Compensation management as a whole is made up of components that work towards the betterment of the company’s staff. It includes;
  • Salaries, wages, payroll management
  • Bonus and commission
  • Pensions, life insurance, PPF
  • Profit-sharing, shareholding
  • Vouchers, gifts, capital bonds
  • Company cars, housing benefit, medical benefit

Employee performance management

An organization revolves around its employees. The enthusiasm they show, reflects on the productivity graph of the company, thus generating profits and boosting revenue. Hence, the HR department needs to take over employee performance management. Performance management is not just tracking down employee’s performance during the preceding year, but it’s a cycle throughout the employee’s journey. Among the core HR functions, employee performance management is quite a task to handle.  The first and foremost duty of the HR team is to design a performance appraisal process and present a clear picture of the criterion in front of the working staff. The HR team needs to know the responsibilities of each staff member, their performance graph, and achievements.  Although there is an “n” number of employee performance management software for handling records, the HR team has to sit with department heads for clear analysis. Most of the employee performance management software assists the HR team with the following responsibilities;
  • Develop a proper job description. 
  • Initiate the selection process appropriately. Hiring the right person for the job position is the key to achieve organizational goals.
  • Design training programs for the development of employees. This helps in enhancing employee performance.
  • Consider integrating employee performance management software to initiate real-time feedback. 
  • Conduct monthly performance review reports. Discuss the scopes to improve performances
  • Formulate exit interview process to understand the loop-holes in the company policies.
  • Designing proper appraisal and compensation management policies to reward employees and boost their confidence.

Compliance with labor laws

Statutory compliance is another important aspect of the HR functions list. Since the HR department plays the role of the key player in hiring, retaining, and connecting with people, it needs to be legally compliant as well. There are numerous laws, rules, and regulations which govern the employment relationship with the company. In many firms, the HR department handles compensation and benefits programs, undertakes hiring and firing decisions; which are regulated by legalities.  Noncompliance with labor laws may result in workplace complaints, unsafe working conditions, dissatisfaction among the employees towards the organization. This may further affect employee performance, productivity, and profitability.  The role of an HR compliance officer is to update himself with general labor laws compliance and issues. They are responsible for having a thorough understanding of the compliance laws and providing adequate information to the company regarding the same. The HR compliance officer ensures that the company adheres to legal standard policies and enforces regulations in all aspects. Additionally, the compliance officer may take aid from compliance software easily available in the market these days.  Statutory labor law compliance is a critical aspect to run any business. Hence compliance software helps in maintaining legal decorum in the business without maintaining a separate unit. Here is a distinct list of labor laws that is required for a business to run;
  • The equal remuneration act 1976
  • The Industrial Establishment Act 1963
  • The Payment of Gratuity Act 1972
  • The Maternity Benefit Act 1961
  • The Payment of Bonus Act 1965
  • The Industrial Dispute Act 1947
  • The Factories Act 1948
  • Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2013
  • The Interstate Migrant Worker Act 1979

Payroll Management

Considered as one of the most important parts of the company, HR management is in charge of handling major functions of the organization. The HR team is consensually working towards integrating advanced technologies like payroll software, compliance software, etc.  Payroll management is a function that enables the employer to manage the salary structure of the employees. It deals with overtime wages, generation of payslips, bonuses, compensation, and monthly or daily pay-out. Complicated calculations that were performed manually are now easily handled with the help of payroll software. Among the HR job function list payroll management is one of the crucial aspects. The process involves the following properties;
  • The software helps in feeding each minute details of the employee that helps in calculating wages, finding taxes, paying taxes, calculating financial records.
  • It also deals in computing bonuses, deduction, and net pay-out.
  • Abstains the company from manual maintenance of employee details, thus reducing errors.
  • Helps in checking employee history through an online portal.

Employee-Employer relations

Employee relation or “human relation” is a key to maximize productivity through the utilization of physical energy and mental aptitude. There are times when the company’s pay-out may not suffice employee demands, but employer-employee relations are enough to maintain high performance.  The purpose of immunizing employee relations is to develop a healthy atmosphere at work. This is only possible when the HR team intervenes with its expertise understanding on how to develop employee relations.  An HR generalist helps the company in resolving workplace issues, conduct employee opinion surveys, implement performance management strategies, construct performance appraisal recipients and develop employee welfare programs. The HR function model is a centralized team that manages employee relations, work issues, cases, and investigation, creates benefit packages, acts as a union representative, and negotiates new contracts with the employers on behalf of the employee.

Succession planning

For a layman, succession planning may refer to future planning, however technically in the HR function model, the term echoes an advanced meaning.  Succession planning is a strategy that spells out particular steps to follow to achieve goals and missions. It is an initiate, a well-defined plan that directs managers on how to meet organizational needs.  The idea behind succession planning is to identify and develop employees’ skills to fill out higher-level jobs when it falls vacant. Top positions in the company may fall vacant due to retirement, resignation, death, promotion, or the creation of new projects or assignments. In other words, HR executives work hard day and night in recruiting the right people as successors to maintain decorum within the organization. It is the key job of HR management to replace incumbents with high performers.  Succession planning is important for;
  • Ensuring continuity in business
  • Groom and develop potential employees
  • Identify next successor and promote them
  • Smooth functioning of the organization and achieving goals
  • Reduce employee recruitment cost through an external source
  • Develop career paths and provide varied growth opportunities
  • Improve the corporate image of the organization in the market
  • Reduce employee turnover by providing promising opportunities

Health and safety management

One of the important roles of human resource professionals is to foster a workplace culture that is cognizant of Health and safety management. This boosts better company's reputation in the business world and attracts the right employees.  Health and safety are the key elements that every person sought before appearing for a work interview. Companies with good health and safety policies tend to attract better employees.  The HR executives take charge of handling legalities behind Health and safety management. They train the staff to avoid accidents, revolutionize contemporary practices, and adopt new procedures to safeguard the interests of both employees and the organization. Occupational health and safety policies are the new emerging generic in the business world that every company has to comply with. Maintaining safety is not only compulsory for industries dealing with heavy-duty machinery, but also for office injuries due to endogamic fire or bad practices.

Employee’s participation feedback and communication

Companies dealing with more than 50 employees have a major question to deal with every day- who do the employees contact for feedbacks, communication, or issues? Well, this is why every medium to large-scale business has a separate HR department now. Employee engagement and employee promotion are a part of company goals. Happy and satisfied employees lead to better performance and productivity. Increasing employee participation is a huge challenge to conquer. There are human-made barricades or self-resistance which disallows employees to share their feedback and suggestions.  The role of an HR personnel is to develop means, HR software, and other advanced practices to encourage employee engagement in corporate decisions.  Benefits of promoting employee participation are;
  • Builds stronger community, design better workplace to achieve company success.
  • Improves communication within employees. This eliminates barriers and brings the employer and employees together
  • Helps in evaluating goals and finding solutions to achieve them
  • Reduces physical and mental stress
  • Boost productivity in the long run
  • Employees feel valued and try to give their 200%
  • Helps in increasing product and service quality

Personal support for employees

Employees not only face corporate issues but also combat personal struggles. Individual issues may torment the person mentally and they might lose focus from the work. This directly hampers productivity, performance, and work environment. The role of HR executives is to take care of each employee as their family members. Not a single labor or staff member must face issues that cannot be resolved. The HR team executes one-to-one consulting practice to resolves individual’s problems, take care of their wellbeing and bring the management to notice.

Function evaluation

Utilizing technical competencies, HR professionals perform critical roles in the business. An enterprise is solely based on how its employees perform. Similarly, the employee’s betterment, recruitment, and evaluation depend on the HR team. The executives perform various function evaluations in terms of qualification, availability, and quality of workers, job location, economic situation, working time, and job responsibility.  There are multiple methods to assess internal functions;
  • The ranking method, where the experts rank functions depending upon how much the employees contribute towards the development of the organization.
  • Classification method, where jobs are categorized based on education, degree of skills, experience.
  • Points method, where jobs are categorized based on key-competencies, innovative capabilities, communication and influencing skills, technical knowledge, and business acumen.
  • The personal method, wherein jobs are classified based on individual skills

Administrative responsibilities

HR personnel works together as a backend team that takes care of multiple administrative responsibilities. They are accountable for promotions, discipline, appointments, and relocation of the employees.  The administrative function involves personnel procedures such as handling irregularities in the Workfront, bullying, intimacy, workers conflicts, racial and cultural diversity, and illness.

How HR software can help you execute HR functions?

HR functions are not only important but a major task for the management. Many companies have adopted modern technologies and have come onboard by integrating Human resource software HR tools are the advanced technology that came as a boon for the HR personnel. It handles most of the complicated HR roles such as recruitment, payroll management, employee database management, benefits, and staff attendance. The Human resource software act as virtual assistance to the HR team. It surfaces all the requirements enlisted by the executives to manage the business and achieve success. With repetitive manual tasks, it becomes difficult to focus on goal strategies and the team tends to lose interest. With the integration of advanced HR technology, companies can easily get their job done and utilize HR skills in sufficing more complicated jobs. Today, online HR tools are reliable and flexible. They are designed to handle automated redundant tasks like organizing employee details and keeping a check on employee turnover.  HR software is a digital solution for optimizing and managing overall HR functions mentioned in this article. So, do we think that HR online tools execute HR functions? Well, the answer is a mixed bag! It Does handle legal compliance, payrolls, and data-driven complications; however, the software cannot handle personal relations and employee issues.  While the technology is by far a major support system, the HR team has to maintain a personal approach as well.


HR function lists are not limited to managing staff and appointing them, the scope of the task is much wider and requires expertise. The organization completely relies on how the HR department functions. From playing a major role in staffing, recruiting, and handling the retirement process, the HR function areas have expanded to handling legal compliances and health and safety management. With the global expansion of business, comes the responsibility of fulfilling goals, which cannot be possible without integrating advanced HR software.  HR function areas revolve around improving employee performance, organizing training and development programs, and encouraging employee participation. The executives work day and night to derive the best out of the workers and staff members. This is the reason the HR department is known for its “Key to triumph”.
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