HR has some clear, defined areas that belong to them within an organisation. Although there are many thought pieces written on HR functions and responsibilities, it is generally agreed that there are seven main functions HR look after.
Although HR is traditionally responsible for these areas, it also depends on the size of the business and many of these responsibilities may be shared with other managers or the business owner in smaller companies.
Here are the seven HR functions.
Businesses don’t work without people – even businesses with a high degree of automation and robotics will still employ real humans. Hiring these people is an important process and much of the process falls under the remit of human resources.
HR involvement differs from business to business but usually includes arranging interviews, negotiating salaries, and formalising job descriptions. HR may also sit in on interviews and be part of the decision-making process. HR may also play a wider role in staffing, constructing a staffing plan based on expected revenue or workloads.
Development of Workplace Employment Policies
Workplace employment policies are developed by human resources but are not something that falls solely with HR. HR are more the facilitators of policy as policy creation needs to be a joint effort between HR and senior management. Most times, it will be the HR professional who recognises that a new policy is needed or that an existing one needs to be reviewed.
Typically, HR will consult with management on policy, write or amend the policy, check it is legally compliant and then communicate the policy to employees. Common types of policy include annual leave process, sickness policy and procedure, and dress code policy.
Salary & Benefits Administration
To attract and retain staff, businesses often have benefits packages, allowances, and salaries need to be set. HR will help determine fair salaries based on industry standards and other factors such as what other people doing the same roles are being paid. This area also includes the setting out of annual and sick leave. Again, this may differ between companies but must also be in accordance with the law.
Benefits can differ between businesses and it is up to HR to decide what is expected as standard and what additional benefits will help attract staff. Common benefits include bonus schemes, health plans and sometimes enhanced pension schemes.
Even with attractive salaries and benefits, some businesses struggle to retain staff. Since recruitment is a major expense, it is more cost-effective to try and retain existing staff. Although salary can sometimes be the reason employees will seek other roles, it isn’t always the case and it is HRs responsibility to investigate why staff wish to leave and what can be done to encourage them to stay. Sometimes, it can involve tricky situations such as disputes with managers or another member of staff, an unhealthy work environment or problems with the role itself.
An employee cannot be stopped from leaving of course and sometimes people just want to move on and there isn’t particularly an issue with their current job. But if there is a distinct pattern of staff leaving, in a certain department, for example, then may indicate a larger issue which needs to be investigated and resolved.
Training & Development
When employees are encouraged to develop their skills will feel happier in their jobs, feel valued and are more likely to stay with a business. Happy, skilled employees are usually more productive too, so it is easy to see why training and development are essential.
Although some businesses may have a training manager, it will usually be HR that determine the businesses overall training strategy, including any training that may be required by law.
The UK has many laws, designed to protect both employees and employers. Employment law is an area HR must specialise in within a business as it is likely that even managers will not be familiar with every single aspect of the law.
Because employments laws continually change, HR professionals also have a responsibility to keep up to date with any developments, assess the impact any changes may have on the business and then communicate this internally. Employment law covers many areas such as working hours, payroll, contracts, and pensions.
Although most businesses will have a health and safety officer or department, HR plays an important role advising on the areas where H&S and HR overlap – typically in the area of employment law.
Primarily, when it comes to health and safety, HR have one main concern – legal compliance but HR have much in common with safety staff because they want to ensure a workforce is healthy, happy, and safe. HR may oversee safety policies, audits, employee wellbeing
Outsourcing HR Functions & Services
This article is just a brief look into the main areas HR are responsible for – the most basic functions. As you can see, it is quite extensive and covers a lot of different areas. Because of this, HR professionals take their career development and learning seriously.
For smaller businesses who don’t have an HR department or even a dedicated person, it is easy to see how trying to keep on top of all these different responsibilities could become overwhelming.
Outsourcing HR services are a good option for such businesses – especially when it comes to the responsibilities where they may feel particularly out of depth and could be at risk from a legal perspective.
Please, get in touch if you have any questions about outsourced HR or are looking for professional HR advice.