Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
What was once a relatively narrow discipline focused on hiring, managing, and terminating employees has since evolved into a complex, multi-faceted, and critical piece of modern business strategy. Read on as we discuss the basics of human resources.
The human resources function in a modern company typically oversees these five(5) core business functions:
- Personnel Development
- Compensation Package Design
- Safety and Health Policy Creation and Enforcement
- Employee and Labor Relations
This list presents these responsibilities in a simplified fashion. Let’s dig deeper into what each responsibility entails.
Human Resource Staffing
This part of the job may seem easy enough. Right? Just review resumes and interview prospective candidates. There is so much more than an effective Human Resource Staffing Specialist is responsible for.
For instance. they will liaise directly with management to ascertain current and future staffing needs. Next, they seek out the best candidates via in-house staffing reviews, advertisements, or job fairs. They then would carefully review each applicant’s resume, complete detailed background checks, and review references before moving on to the interview process.
Once a qualified candidate has been hired, they would then oversee the onboarding of the new employee. As you can see, there are many moving parts when it comes to hiring qualified candidates that will be the right fit for a company.
HR Personal Development
This link in the human resources chain focuses heavily on an employee’s personal and professional growth. With the aid of human resources, employees create a path that outlines their goals.
The employee will then receive the resources and support from their HR rep to reach these goals. This type of personal and professional goal setting is ongoing with a scheduled review process to ensure goals are met.
Compensation Package Design
A very challenging but necessary HR task. Without a competitive compensation package, how can you expect to attract top candidates? A compensation package is developed by HR professionals through extensive research. They not only analyze current compensation packages that are being utilized in-house, they then compare them to external compensation practices to conduct a competitive analysis.
Once a base salary has been determined, they then create a secondary benefit or incentive package. These packages are generally governed by each companies’ performance mandates, with compensation being given at specific achievement levels.
Safety and Health Policy Creation and Enforcement
The creation of a companies’ health and safety policy is one of the most critical assets. This policy is meant to protect both employees and employers as per state and federal law.
As such the policy needs to be created by a trained human resource professional. These policies can become very complicated depending on the business and need to include but are not limited to:
- Employee health and safety Codes of Practice
- Arrangements for reporting health and safety issues (accident and illness reporting, investigation procedures, etc.)
- Emergency/fire drill procedures
- Risk assessment procedures
- First aid procedures
- Control of exposure to specific hazards (noise, vibration, manual handling, hazardous substances, etc.)
- Machinery safety
- Maintenance and PAT testing of electrical equipment
- PPE use
- Monitoring procedures, including health and safety inspections
- Procedures for ensuring the safety of contractors, visitors and members of the public
- Provision of welfare facilities
- Health and safety training and induction procedures
- Catering and food hygiene procedures
- Arrangements for consulting with employees
- Your health and safety policies and procedures for occupational driving
- Your smoking, drugs and alcohol policy
As you can see it is quite the list. Along with the creation of a solid health and safety policy, human resources is also responsible for the enforcement of the policy.
Employees will need to be made aware of the policies, receive adequate training, and understand the consequences of not following the rules. In addition, the policies need to be reviewed and updated on an annual basis.
Employee and Labor Relations
A successful workplace is a happy workplace. What happens when that flow has been disrupted? Perhaps conflicts have arisen between an employee and their manager. This again is where human resources would step in and use their expertise to find a solution.
Better yet, having an HR specialist that is well versed in employee and labor relations can work closely with your employees to put out any “flames” before they can grow into a complaint or grievance.
By working hand in hand with both employees and management, they can ensure that everyone’s needs are being met, making for a more productive workplace.
As you can see, each of these core HR business functions is more complicated than many would think.
A Human Resource department will also handle many day-to-day tasks as well. They need to be adept at data analysis to create financial projections. Regular internal audits of policies. Handling terminations as well as overseeing regulatory compliance.
There are no shortcuts when it comes to a Human Resource department. Doing so could result in government fines or costly litigation. You can see why skilled HR professionals can command a higher salary when compared to other departments.
This is why some smaller companies may consider outsourcing their HR needs vs. the cost of employing multiple employees and creating an entire department. Either way, Human Resources is a business must!