The human resource department functions in an organization include people management within the organization in every aspect. This deals with the practice of taking care of employees from the moment they walk into the organization to the minute they leave. So, the organization is responsible for taking care of the employees in every possible way to ensure job satisfaction. Consequently, they put their best efforts into what they are responsible for.
Human Resource Management is “the process of hiring, developing, compensating, managing performance and rewarding the employees of an organization”.
Human Resource department is the most important work unit of the organization. Here, the organizational vision and goals can be best accomplished by hiring and managing the workforce of the organization. HR or Human Resource is the name given to the employees of organization as employees are one of the resources required to run the organization hence, they are also referred as “assets” of the organization.
Human resource department functions in an organization
Every department of the organization has to perform various functions which must support the organizational goals. Each organization has different goals but one principle always remains consistent that the departmental goals have to be formulated in the light of organizational goals. Human Resource department also follows the same principle i.e. supporting the organization by managing the employees in the best way.
Let us look at the salient human resource department functions in an organization.
1) Job Analysis
The first function of human resource department is to ensure that each job is performed by the right kind of people i.e. relevant person for each job. So, if a job requires the candidates to provide customer service then, the candidate must possess good communication and human dealing skills. The process of job analysis is very thorough, requiring the analysis of each job, its tasks and duties and the skills necessary to perform these tasks. Through this process, the human resource department makes sure that the goals and functions of each department are supporting the organizational goals by the use of most suitable and competent workforce.
The detailed job analysis process can be read in my other blog on strategic recruitment and selection.
When the human resource department has correctly analyzed all the jobs, then comes the time to implement the results of job analysis. Hiring comprises two activities; recruitment and selection.
Find out the best recruitment and selection strategies in my another blog, the secrets of strategic recruitment and selection.
Recruitment is “attracting the pool of competent candidates to perform jobs within the organization”. The next step is selection which is “choosing the best candidates out of the attracted pool of candidates”. As hiring is the process of acquiring new competent candidates for the company, it is the most dominant of all human resource department functions in an organization. However, all functions of human resource department require proper balance in order to ensure survival of the organization.
The effective human resource department functions do not end on employee hiring. In fact, this is the beginning: the beginning of organization-employee relationship. On-boarding starts with the confirmation of new hires. It is the “process of welcoming new employees and acquainting them with the company environment”. Organizing the initial meetups, orientation and setting short-term goals are all part of on-boarding program. Some of these activities are responsibilities of first line managers but human resource department has to plan and develop the on-boarding program. It is strongly recommended that the HR department follows up and monitors the effectiveness of the on-boarding program.
4) Performance Management
Managing the performance of employees is vital to employee motivation and success of the organization as it consists of both employee development programs and conducting performance appraisals. Both of these processes are the key human resource department functions in an organization as hr department is mainly responsible for employee management planning. First line managers measure the employee performance directly however, human resource department evaluates it for final scoring decisions.
HR department also sets the foundation of employee development programs. Later, first line managers individually plan and implement these programs. These programs include goals setting activities of employees.
Follow my another blog on employee development if you wish to develop your employees using an ideal employee development action plan.
In the light of scores achieved from performance appraisals, human resource department conducts training programs to fill the employee’s skill gap. A well-planned training program is crucial to equip employees of the required skill set for organization’s benefit.
The type of trainings which can be given to employees have a very broad scope today. These can be face-to-face/ classroom trainings, virtual trainings or MOOCs.
6) Compensation and rewards
Another prime function of human resource department is compensating and rewarding employees in the most motivating manner. Conducting market compensation survey and setting market competitive salaries are the best sources of germinating employee motivation and job satisfaction. Human resource management is all about helping employees grow by acknowledging their efforts and rewarding them.
Role of human resources in an organization
The human resource department is responsible for creating a safe and healthy work environment within the organization. Whether it is workplace civility or technical safety, HR department ensures that employees feel secure so that they can work more effectively for the organization. For this purpose, besides working on the health and safety policy, the HR department also conducts health & safety trainings.
An important role of human resources is to ensure workplace diversity. It creates an environment where there are equal opportunities for everyone. It guarantees that the company has employees belonging to any race, color, gender and nationality, based on their skills.
Another major role of human resources is handling employee relations effectively with the higher management. This includes efforts to maintain good employer-employee relations and the management of labor unions thus, acting as a bridge between higher management and the labor. It ultimately ensures smooth running of operations and fulfillment of labor rights. Managing employee relations also includes conflict management among employees. Devising strategic grievance and conflict resolution procedures & policies is one very important role that HR department has to play for creating a peaceful working environment.
Human resource management approaches
An organization can chose to follow any of these two human resource management approaches:
- High Road Approach
- Low Road Approach
Low Road approach is what we mostly see in our organizations; employees have less authority and freedom, more strict supervision, less rewards/ salaries and very few development opportunities.
Resultantly, not too good for employee retention.
High Road approach is based on the idea that employees are the most important asset of the organization so the organization must compensate and reward them well. Employees have the right to raise their voices, enjoy workplace autonomy and decision making and must get enough development opportunities. It is the real application of strategic human resource management.
So, which human resource management approach is better?
In application, High Road approach always yields better work environment. It produces more motivated employees, higher employee satisfaction and lower employee turnover thus, leading to healthier organizational growth. Low Road approach always proves to be detrimental for the existence and reputation of organization in the long run. It restricts employee growth and voice. It often results in emergence of employee unions asking for their rights.
Sharing the benefits of human resource management
Human resource department has to perform all those functions which inculcate the feeling of security and growth among the employees. Companies having more employee centered human resource approach tend to stand on stronger foundations of employee retention, loyalty and a focused commitment towards organizational goals.