What does the HR department actually do? 11 important tasks

HR may be the most confusing department in your entire organization – everyone knows it’s important, but few employees know why.

So what does the HR department do?

There’s a huge difference between a healthy HR department that contributes to the growth of the business, and a distant HR department that exists somewhere in the basement archives and only shows up once a year for the company holiday party.

Here’s a detailed description of what the HR department does (or what it should do) to meet the needs of employees.

What is a human resources department?

In simple terms, HR is a group responsible for managing the employee lifecycle (i.e., recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, and firing employees) and benefits administration.

What is the role of the human resources department?

Ask any employee what an HR department is, and you’ll get an answer that deals mostly with the unpleasant aspects of the job: Personnel violations, layoffs and firings. The truth, however, is that HR is there to support employees. It is literally a resource for people.

Here are some of the tasks your HR department does every day.

1.Recruit candidates

HR needs to understand the needs of the business and ensure those needs are met when hiring new employees. It’s not as simple as just placing an ad on Indeed: You need to analyze the market, consult stakeholders and manage budgets.

Once the job is posted, you need to do more research to ensure the right candidates are attracted and presented. Recruiting is an extensive – and costly – undertaking; the right candidate can reinvigorate an entire company, but the wrong candidate can cripple operations.

2.Hire the right employees

The HR department is responsible for organizing interviews, coordinating hiring efforts and onboarding new employees. They are also responsible for ensuring that all paperwork related to hiring a new employee is completed and that everything is successful from day one to every day thereafter.

3.Process payroll

Payroll is a whole separate issue. Every payday, taxes must be calculated and hours must be recorded. Expenses need to be reimbursed, and raises and bonuses need to be accounted for as well. If you think paying taxes only once a year is a chore, imagine what it must be like to work in HR to make sure they are deducted correctly each pay period.

4.Carrying out disciplinary actions

This responsibility is perhaps why the HR department has a bad reputation. If handled improperly, disciplinary actions can lead to the loss of a valuable employee and even result in litigation or a bad reputation. However, when handled properly, disciplinary actions can lead to an employee’s success.

For example, if a company finds that a particular employee is regularly late and continues to be late even after several warnings, HR could step in and investigate the reason for the tardiness. This could be an opportunity to offer the employee services such as counseling or provide additional resources to help the employee learn to be on time. Rather than incurring the expense of firing and then hiring a new employee, this could be a learning opportunity that could further the employee’s career.

On the other hand, sometimes disciplinary action is not the best course of action, and an employee should be let go. The best HR departments know when an employee is not a good fit for a company and would be happier elsewhere. It’s the HR department’s job to build a close enough relationship with managers and employees to see how cohesive and healthy a team is.

5.Update guidelines

Policies must be updated (or at least reviewed) each year as the company changes. It is the responsibility of Human Resources to officially update policies and suggest changes when they no longer serve the company or employees. Sometimes a policy needs to be updated in response to an incident. Human Resources should always be involved and consulted in these decisions.

6.Maintaining Employee Files

Maintaining personnel files is required by law. These records help the employer identify skill gaps to assist in the hiring process, analyze demographic data, and comply with regulations. They also contain personal information and emergency contacts for each employee.

7.Conduct performance analysis

Staying competitive is paramount in attracting the best talent. A promising candidate may choose to work for another company with lower pay if the benefits are more attractive. HR should routinely screen similar companies to see if their benefits are competitive.

How does HR support employees?

Aside from the seven examples above, which are mostly operational tasks, HR has fewer quantitative functions: It exists to help employees succeed.

After all, employees are the greatest asset of any company. It follows that protecting their well-being is of paramount importance. Here are four ways HR can support employees’ emotional and professional needs:

  1. encourage professional development.
    Stagnation is bad for business, and it’s smart to retain the best employees. The HR department can map out career paths that point each employee toward a long future within the company. HR can then follow up periodically to keep employees on their career path.
  2. offer of further training measures
    Sometimes the career development mentioned above requires additional training. HR can help decide which courses and training programs are best suited for an employee on their career path. HR can also work with supervisors to ensure that the employee’s work schedule is flexible enough to allow them to take courses.
  3. training and supporting managers
    Managers are not born. They are created. HR can help support managers and ensure that departments and teams are as healthy and functional as possible. This may include sending managers to formal training and retreats on a regular basis.
  4. Promoting health and well-being
    It is important to remember that employees are human. They need help coping with mental illness, health problems, debt, pregnancies, adoptions, and myriad other life events. Human Resources can assist employees in these and other situations.

When to contact HR

An HR department that never contacts employees is not doing its job right. When developing an onboarding process, inform new employees when they should contact HR and what resources HR has to offer. HR should have regular one-on-one meetings with employees to get a sense of their professional development, their comfort level in their role, and any other issues they may be having.

Given these responsibilities, employees should feel free to contact HR in these and similar situations:

  • If you (or a co-worker) experience harassment or discrimination by your co-workers, including your supervisor.
  • If you have questions about benefits, including company-provided health insurance or rights guaranteed by law
  • If your personal circumstances change (e.g., you have a child, need to reduce your work hours, or need an adjustment because of a disability)
  • If you have questions about career advancement within the company, including the opportunity to observe other employees or participate in additional training
  • If you need an objective third party to clarify a work-related issue

Moreover to manage your employees as a HR department you can use icehrm.com , best digital HR platform. Try sign in it for a free demo.

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