The HR Functions and How To Juggle Them Successfully

“Human Resources isn’t a thing we do. It’s the thing that runs our business."

—Steve Wynn

Every business has an HR department, regardless of size or industry. Depending on these factors, we are looking at different sizes of the HR department. It can be the case that the whole department is composed of one person, or, when speaking about large organizations, there may be many professionals involved, each specialized in one area of interest.

HR as a whole has a lot of essential employee management functions in each organization.

In the following article, we have decided to speak about the five more important functions: recruiting and staffing, compensation and benefits, training and development, talent and performance management, and safety and compliance.

We are not saying every organization needs to focus solely on these five core HR functions, and it is a matter of what’s best for each company.

For example, an organization in healthcare or construction will focus on safety, while an NGO whose work is only restricted to an office will find this HR function less crucial.

However, the formal description may be, that all HR departments use the same essential HR functions. Here’s what you need to know about these five functions.

1. Recruiting and staffing

Surely we can all agree that this is a highly important HR function in today’s business market. Companies “fight” with each other to attract the most talented candidates.

To do this, the HR professionals will have to source talent, work on creating an employer brand, and then design the perfect onboarding process.

A strong employer brand will usually do most of the work for you.

Working with the hiring managers will be critical in this matter. The recruiters do not have the final say in hiring a candidate, but they will go through the whole process and the manager. They will screen resumes, conduct interviews, and assist in the final decision.

In large organizations, this function is divided into small units. For example, we can find an HR department that has recruiters, sourcers, and professionals working solely on employer branding.

Tip: Learn everything about the org chart (template included).

2. Compensation and benefits

Also known as rewards, this function relates to the salary and other financial or non-financial benefits an employer may offer.

The HR professional in charge of this function will have to research, analyze and set pay ranges in accordance with each job description and shape the perfect benefits package for each organization. There is no magic solution for every company.

A large organization will have the means to conduct surveys to detect the most wanted rewards and could even hire an external specialist to handle this matter.

On the other hand, in a small business, where HR means a one-man show, that single professional will have to do all these tasks and maybe even assist in payroll processing.

Again, a large company will assign the benefits coordinator to negotiate extra benefits with the employees, such as extra holiday days, private health insurance, or access to a private pension fund. These will vary across countries, industries, and fields.

The HR department keeps in touch with employees about their benefits by answering questions, pointing out relevant deadlines, and asking for feedback on any other needed benefits.

Don’t make the mistake of believing this HR function is not as important as the others. These rewards keep the staff motivated to achieve more every day. It helps the organization acknowledge and bestow its employees on their performance.

3. Training and development

This HR function involves basic initial training for new hires and establishing and managing a development plan and a career development program for all the employees.

Just as a great employer branding, having a strong training and development policy goes a long way in terms of reputation. You will be investing in your employees, and they will become valuable assets for the organization.

Traditionally, every company has a set budget for this area, and the HR professionals will work closely with the managers to make the best of those funds.

Beyond the technical training needed for constant improvement, we also speak about the special ones for the people in management positions: they need soft-skills training to improve listening, giving feedback, and encouraging their employees.

This HR function is strategic and binding procedures to understand the organizational targets, transactions, and expectations, aligning the employees with the company’s objectives.

4. Talent and performance management

Talent management is also known as employee relations, and this is one crucial HR function that must be a priority for every organization.

Enhancing the relationship between employee-employer has been and will continue to be a traditional role of the HR department and will be widened to other vital areas, such as job satisfaction, engagement, motivation, and company culture. Resolving workplace conflict is another task to be considered as part of this HR function.

Performance management is needed to make sure employees stay engaged at all times and become more productive every day. It entails good leadership, a clear policy of feedback offers, and clear goals. Implementing a continuous performance review policy is preferred to the basic one-year performance review, which can be considered outdated. It’s also a great way to improve communication between employees and higher management.

5. Safety and compliance

In large companies, these two areas are usually separated, while in medium or small organizations, they will be treated as one of the HR functions.

Safety professionals are not traditionally part of the HR department, but it would be useful for one member of the HR staff to work closely with the health and safety department, helping with the designing of policies and enforcing them.

Compliance with rules and laws concerning specific industries is an essential part of every organization and also a key part of this human resources function.

Actions taken throughout this HR function will ensure the workplace is dedicated to overall employee well-being.

Focusing on this HR function can help avoid problematic legal situations or conflicts with employees.

Tip: Discover how an HR and leave management system can help you with leave abuse.

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.” Lawrence Bossidy


HR is a highly diverse role that allows companies to get the most out of their people. As an HR practitioner, you need to have a wide range of skills that will empower you to perform these HR functions. Or at least the desire to learn and become better every day by acquiring new skills. Society and the business world are constantly changing, so we all need to go along.

Allow people to be themselves. People want to be GREAT, GREAT companies let them be GREAT.” Arte Nathan

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