What are the main responsibilities of the Human Resources function in an organization?
The human resources function now plays a more critical role for businesses than a few decades ago. The rising importance of the HR function is mainly due to the reason that organizations have understood the value of employees and their contribution to the growth of an organization. HR’s role has changed a lot in the 21st century and the way leading technology businesses including Google, Facebook and Salesforce are focusing on the management of their human capital indicates that the HR function is now an integral and leading part of the organizational structure. Employees can be a source of competitive advantage and this is why leading organizations try to attract and retain the best talent. There is a lot of competition among the leading players in all industries.
Attracting and retaining talented people as well as ensuring that they have a safe work environment is the duty of the HR function. However, HR’s role is not limited just to things like recruitment, retention and performance management but its role is now more strategic and central to organizational performance and productivity. An efficient, modern and smart HR team is now all the more critical to winning the game. With growing competition, the game has become all the more challenging for both small and big organizations. In such an environment, an efficient HR department can help the company tackle key challenges by managing its most important resources – its people. Here are some of the most critical responsibilities that a modern HR department shoulders for its organization.
Recruitment and Retention:
One of the most critical responsibilities of the HR function in an organization is to recruit the right people for the right position. Big companies depend on talented people for performance. With growing competition in every industry, it has become critical to attract and retain the right people for each position inside an organization. This responsibility is handled by the Human resource function. Apart from posting a vacancy, attracting, interviewing and recruiting the right people is also HR’s duty. In some large organizations like Google and Amazon, internal HR works with external recruiters for hiring the right people. However, HR’s job does not get over with hiring but instead, it is required to frame policies and advise the top management in this area so that talented employees can be retained for longer. HR function inside large organizations is also a part of the policymaking machinery where it talks to the leadership and top management and communicates with line managers to create the right HR policies that are effective and efficient in terms of employee retention and controlling turnover rate.
Training and Development :
The role of HR in terms of training and development has also grown. It now collaborates with line managers and other responsible people to design the most training and development programs which are the most beneficial for employees. Organizations now increasingly rely on training and development to help their employees learn new skills and think outside the box. There is a very important role of HR in this area. HR managers have to plan and decide which training programs will work best in a given environment and how these programs need to be delivered in order to be effective. Training is no more the sole responsibility of line managers but the HR managers also participate in the design and implementation of training programs. Moreover, measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of these training programs is also the responsibility of the HR personnel. They need to design engaging programs from which employees can learn easily.
Compensation and Benefits:
Competitive compensation and benefits are essential for retaining talented employees. This is a critical area that is handled by the HR department. It is the duty of the HR department to research and analyze how the competitors and other organizations in the industry are paying their employees. Then they need to design a pay structure that is competitive and motivates the employees. This is also an area requiring serious focus because well-designed packages have often been found to be highly effective at reducing turnover rates.
Managing employee performance is just as critical as hiring talented employees. A large part of this responsibility is also handled by the HR department. The Human resource function inside large organizations focuses on continuous performance management to help employees perform at their best. Inside modern organizations, performance management is not a once a year affair but they focus upon continuous improvement with the help of the right resources and techniques. HR managers play a critical role in both performance assessment and management. They assess employee performance in cooperation with line managers and identify areas where there is an opportunity for improvement. Moreover, they accordingly provide the employees with training and additional support based upon the identified areas.
Legal Compliance :
Legal compliance is also an area where HR’s role is critical. However, HR’s role is mainly limited to labor laws as applicable in various regions where the company operates. The web of labor laws has kept growing complex and non-compliance can result in hefty fines. The Human Resource department should, therefore, look for such grey areas where there is potential for improvement and advise the leadership and top management on these topics. HR should also look for making policy changes that will help the company stay compliant with applicable labor laws. HR function inside the big organizations continuously keeps an eye on updates to the legal framework in areas where the business operates and proposes policy changes accordingly. The legal framework in several key regions including the US, Europe, and Asia is evolving and it is essential for the HR function to stay updated with any major changes that can affect the organization.
The human resource function is also responsible for maintaining trustful relationships between the employer and the employees. In this regard, it continuously collects feedback from the employees to ensure that employees are not dissatisfied with the employer’s policies. Strong and trustful relationships between employers and employees are essential for running an organization successfully. Lack of strong relationships can lead to loss of focus, dissatisfaction, and a higher turnover rate. Therefore, HR function looks for areas needing improvement so employer-employee relationships can be improved. In this way, it ensures that talented employees are retained for longer inside the organization. Addressing employee needs helps strengthen employer-employee relationships and minimize dissatisfaction among the workers. This also helps improve employee productivity, work satisfaction, and overall organizational performance.
Safe work environment:
For any organization to establish a high-performance culture, it is essential that it provides its employees with a safe work environment. Providing employees with a safe work environment makes them feel confident and helps them work with focus and dedication. All employees want a safe work environment where they can work in peace. Moreover, a safe work environment inspires higher trust and strengthens the employer-employee relationship. It is the duty of the human resource function to ensure that the employees have a safe work environment to work in. In this regard, HR ensures that everyone is responsible for maintaining a safe work environment from the top to the bottom. The leadership and the HR department should listen to the concerns of their people and communicate the company’s commitment to employee safety and well being.
Organizational culture is a key factor driving performance and productivity inside an organization. The stronger the culture of a company, the better is its performance and overall productivity. However, while most business leaders want to create a culture of innovation inside their organization, they cannot do so successfully without the help of the HR function. Apart from setting the foundation of a strong culture, HR also plays a critical role in nurturing the culture. HR leaders talk to the senior leadership to know what the organizational culture must be like and how to create a culture and work environment that fosters learning, innovation, and employee empowerment. High-performance cultures can be created inside organizations with the help of the human resources department whose continued commitment is essential for nurturing an innovative work culture.