Key Functions of an HR Department

The human resources department handles many necessary functions of your business. It is instrumental in providing labor law compliance, record keeping, hiring and training, compensation, relational assistance and help with handling specific performance issues. These functions are critical because without those functions being completed, your company would not be able to meet the essential needs of management and staff.

Ensure Compliance with Labor Laws
One of the chief duties of the human resources office of your company is to ensure the business operates in compliance with all labor laws. The department has to know and comply with that state’s particular set of rules employment regulations. This includes such issues as the number of breaks given per number of hours worked and the number of hours and the age in which an individual can become employed.

Recruitment and Training
Recruiting and training new employees are primary responsibilities of the human resources team. This part of the job often entails advertising open positions, interviewing and hiring candidates and setting aside hours devoted to training the new recruits. The human resources department often publishes training materials including handbooks detailing all aspects of the job.
Record Keeping
The HR office is in charge of record keeping for the business. According to the IRS, your company should keep records regarding income, expenses, purchases and a summary of business transactions. The human resources department should also, of course, maintain employees’ records including their individual tax forms. The company’s business license, inventory statistics, insurance records and all other pertinent business information should also be on file.
Payroll and Benefits
The dispensation of payroll comes under the responsibilities of the human resource office. While payroll often exists as a separate division in large companies, in small businesses, it is generally handled by a small human resources staff. Health care benefits are also handled by the human resource department.
Employee Relations
Another key function of the HR department is the managing of employee relations. When there is a dispute or misunderstanding between employees or between employees and a manager, it is the human resource officers who mediate the situation. Employees are encouraged to bring relational problems to the attention of the human resources staff for resolution.
Employee Performance Improvement Plans
The human resources department is often instrumental in setting up performance improvement plans commonly called PIPs. In general, these are written proposals designed to help struggling employees improve their work to raise it to a certain expectation level of the company. The PIP may include a description of the behavior or performance that needs attention, objectives to be met within a certain time period, a plan for accomplishing the improvement along with support resources and detailed consequences if the improvement does not occur.
About the Author
Lisa Mooney has been a professional writer for more than 18 years. She has worked with various clients including many Fortune 500 companies such as Pinkerton Inc. She has written for many publications including Woman’s World, Boy’s Life and Dark Horizons. Mooney holds bachelor’s degrees in both English and biology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.