7 Essential HR Functions in an Organization

The human resources department carries out many duties and responsibilities within an organization. Some of their primary functions include performance management, recruitment, development, among many others. Nowadays, most businesses use HR software to expedite a lot of these aforementioned processes. This technology has helped to improve how HR serves and functions in any business.

Even with the technological advances, human resources remains as a field of expertise that requires a specialized human touch. There are many HR functions that require critical thinking, professional judgment, and occasionally an empathetic approach. These are the processes that cannot be replaced by technology.

Below are seven of the most important HR functions in an organization:

1. Planning

Planning has a huge role in many of the HR functions and processes. You can only satisfy the HR needs of an organization by understanding the organization’s future needs. If you are familiar with workforce planning, human resources planning is more or less the same thing.

When it comes to planning, the two most important questions for HR specialists are:

  1. How many employees does this organization need?
  2. What kind of employees must they be?

Almost every HR function hinges on a thorough understanding of these two questions. Both questions focus on the current state of the organization, and what it needs to achieve its projections in the future. The responses will shape the recruitment process, along with the performance management and the development phase.

2. Selection and Recruitment

This HR function aims at making an organization attractive to the most qualified and experienced employees. Your goal is to select or hire the best employees that the business can afford. Once candidates apply, the HR’s role is to narrow down the field from a list of highly qualified prospects. This may involve multiple interviews, examination tests, and background checks before a choice is finalized.

3. Rewards & Compensations

This is one of the most important HR functions in any organization. Besides the salary, employees look for career opportunities, career growth, recognition, status, a healthy organizational culture, and  a satisfying work-life balance.

Obviously, your rewards should be more than money. Rewards can be psychological and relational. For instance, working with awesome colleagues and going to a job you love are desirable rewards. Most great rewards have the following elements:

  • a basic salary
  • bonuses & performance-based-pay
  • status
  • job security
  • autonomy
  • growth opportunities
  • opportunities for formal and informal development
  • alternating work

4. Performance Management

To keep workers engaged and productive, performance management is a critical HR function. This involves setting clear goals, good leadership, and open feedback. If there are any inadequacies in the performance, the HR will take the appropriate measures to rectify the problem. This may include developing the employee to boost their performance levels.

Some useful performance management tool include annual or biannual performance reviews, where a manager reviews an employee under their supervision. Others are 360-degree feedback tools that allow managers, subordinates, peers and customers to review the performance of an employee.

5. Function Evaluation

This HR role involves comparing and evaluating metrics, such as the qualification, quality and availability of workers. It also entails evaluating working times, job responsibility, job location, the economic status of both the company and the workers, and the value every position brings to the organization.

This highly technical function of evaluation aims at remunerating similar jobs uniformly. This can be done through several of the following methods:

  • The Ranking Method: Functions can be ranked according to the ranking method. This looks at the contribution of every employee or job to the overall goals of the organization. The role of the raters is to pair the functions and then deduce, which are more valuable. Based on the outcome of this pairing, a ranking system is established. Other ranking methods include classification, which involves classifying jobs into various categories, which are then ranked to create a ranking system.
  • The Points Method: In the points method, jobs are categorized based on their contribution to organizational success.Each category gets points for every job. The categories include critical competencies such as technical knowledge, influencing and communication skills, problem-solving, business acumen, innovative capability, among others.
  • The Personal Method: The personal method involves evaluating the employee individually, and not the job itself. Rewards are given based on employees’ competencies and personal skills.

6. Learning and Development (L&D)

With learning and development, your focus is mainly on developing tomorrow’s workforce today. You do this by assessing the skills your employees need to function optimally in the future.

Most organizations have a predetermined budget for employees’ development and learning. In some countries, the government expects employers to have a budget for the training and development of their employees. In other regions, the employees take charge of professional development. Regardless of the corporate culture, most employers understand the importance of skilling their workforce. The HR department is at the forefront of this endeavour.

7. Career Planning

Also referred to as career pathing, career planning involves aligning the employees’ personal career goals with those of the organization. This is a genius way of retaining and engaging staff. Among the benefits of career planning are higher productivity, a stronger employer brand, and predictable succession planning.

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