Key functions of human resource department

12 Important Key Functions of Human Resource Department

Key functions of the human resource department differ due to organizational characteristics. The Human Resource Department radically deals with Human Resource Management. So, firstly need to understand the in-depth definition of Human Resource Management (HRM).

According to Storey(1995), “HRM is a distinctive approach to employment management which seeks to achieve competitive advantage through the strategic deployment of a highly committed and capable workforce, using an integrated array of cultural, structural and personnel techniques”.

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12 Key Functions of Human Resource Department:

The 12 key functions of the Human Resource Department are explained below:

  1. Human resource planning
  2. Recruitment and selection
  3. Performance management
  4. Learning and development
  5. Career planning
  6. Function evaluation
  7. Rewards
  8. Industrial relations
  9. Employee participation and communication
  10. Health and Safety
  11. Personal wellbeing
  12. Administrative responsibilities


1. Human Resource Planning

Human resource planning is the most important key function of the Human Resource Department. Human resource planning is sometimes known as workforce planning which is a strategic decision-making process that predicts the future planning of a company. HRD can align with the company’s goal through proper human resource planning by accurately evaluating and analyzing the future needs of the company.  Human resource planning can help HRD to focus on overall recruitment, selection, performance management, learning and development, and other HR functions to be successful in the future.


2. Recruitment and Selection

Recruitment and Selection is one of the key functions of the Human Resource Department that attract people to apply for the position and selection of competent people for doing work for the organization. Some organization presently uses recruitment tools for faster and more efficient recruitment. On the other hand, some organizations depend on third-party recruiters which is a costly process. The HR department must follow the steps of the selection process for getting advantages of recruitment methods.


3. Performance Management

Performance management is one of the key functions of the Human Resource Department and KPIs for the HR Manager. A performance management system helps organizations to engage employees for ensuring their productivity. The performance management system is effective to identify the gaps in performance so that those can be filled with training and development processes. It also helps organizations to identify the quality requirements of future employees in the organization. Though there are different performance management systems, organizations can select the best on their choice and ultimate needs.


4. Learning and Development

This is an essential responsibility for HR to develop employees’ skills for the future. This is also related to the first HR function in which HR bridges the gap between the present workforce and the workforce needed in the near future. Every organization needs to set a budget for learning and development which is then distributed to its employee’s development.


5. Career Planning

The career planning function of HR is also referred to as career pathing because of the combination function of career guidance and development for employees.  This key function of the Human Resource Department shows employees, how their personal ambition can be aligned with the future needs of the company and helps employees to engage and retain them. The organization also gets the benefit of better succession planning and higher productivity.


6. Function Evaluation

Function evaluation is the difficult and more technical key function of the Human Resource Department that involves comparing various functions in terms of qualification, quality, and availability of workers, job location, working times, job responsibility, the economic situation, and how much value this job adds to the organization. 

There are various ways of spiritually ranking functions as below:

  • Ranking method: A method in which subject matter experts rank functions in terms of how much they contribute to the organization as a whole. Functions are paired and raters have to decide which one is more valuable. This is done with all functions and based on the outcome, a ranking is established.
  • Classification method: In classification methods, jobs can also be classified into different categories. In this case, jobs are categorized and then ranked within these categories to come up with a ranking. Categorizations can include education, experience, the degree of specialized skills needed to do the job, the degree to which these skills are in-demand, and so on.
  • Points method: jobs are categorized according to the factors the organization believes contribute most to its success. Points are then awarded to each category for every job. These categories can include key competencies, such as problem-solving, technical knowledge, communication and influencing skills, innovative capability, business acumen, and so on. These competencies will differ per organization
  • Personal method: in this method, the job itself is not evaluated but the person doing the job is. Here, employees are rewarded based on their personal skills and competencies.


7. Rewards

Rewarding employees for their work is a key function of the Human Resource Department that is impossible to mistake. The reward can also be relational and psychological outcomes in some cases. For example, fantastic colleagues and meaningful work are also rewarding to the employees. The monetary reward of any job consists of financial rewards and other benefits that are considered secondary benefits.

Rewards are therefore more than just financial. Here is a non-exhaustive overview of total rewards:

  • Base salary
  • Performance-based-pay
  • Bonuses
  • Social environment
  • Job security
  • Status
  • Alternating work
  • Autonomy
  • Growth opportunities
  • Feedback
  • Formal and informal development opportunities

The above 7 key functions of the Human Resource Department fall within the scope of talent management where they aim to attract, develop, motivate and retain high-performing employees.


8. Industrial Relations

Another key function of the Human Resource Department is maintaining and cultivating relationships with labor unions and other collective bargaining agents. Keeping a good relationship with unions will help the HR department to resolve potential conflicts quickly and will also be beneficial in more difficult economic times when layoffs or other actions are required.


9. Employee Participation and Communication

According to Dave Ulrich, one of the key functions of the Human Resource Department is to be a credible activist for the employees. Employee participation needs to be ensured by the HR professionals of the organization. Proper communication skills of the employees can improve their competency for the achievement of goals.

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10. Health and Safety

HR must follow occupational health and safety regulations in the organization. There are country-specific OH&S regulations that should be implemented accurately to avoid any kind of incident. So, safety issues should be monitored in a continuous way, and made it the culture of the organization to get better results. 


11. Personal Wellbeing

Employees’ personal problems must be looked after by the HR department. The HR department will be assisting employees to solve their personal problems. Personal well-being is about supporting employees when things don’t go as planned and employees’ productivity decreased due to personal problems.


12. Administrative Responsibilities

Administrative responsibility is treated as the key function of the Human Resource Department which includes personnel procedures and Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS). Personnel procedures include promotions, relocation, discipline, performance improvement, regulations, cultural and racial diversity, unwanted intimacies, bullying, and so on. The company must have to implement policies and procedures for the successful management of those issues. 

Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) store employees’ data. HRIS can be implemented in the company for better management of data and to get more accurate analytical information. 


Advantages of key functions of the Human Resource Department

The above 12 absolute key functions of the Human Resource Department are the major functions that every HR department should perform for the best output of the department’s activity. Each function has been critically analyzed for getting the best output:

  1. Best talent management
  2. Increased employee satisfaction
  3. More employee productivity
  4. Safe and Healthy work environment
  5. Creation of future talent etc.


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