Many people find the role of the human resources team in their organization extremely confusing. This is likely due to the breadth and depth of the responsibilities an HR team can hold. These can also vary significantly across different companies and industries, quickly becoming perplexing for the staff. So, what are the main responsibilities held by HR professionals?
What Does HR Do?
How much time do you have to spare? We could spend all day answering the question ‘what does HR do?’, but we won’t. As an overview, HR professionals are usually responsible for the recruitment of new staff, strategic workforce planning, disciplining staff, and advising managers on their roles and responsibilities in terms of staff management.
10 Key Responsibilities of HR Professionals
Let’s go more in-depth on just ten of the primary responsibilities usually held by HR professionals. There are plenty more, but far too many to cover them all here.
HR is all about having the right people in the right place at the right time. Therefore, recruitment is a massive part of what HR professionals do. Recruitment refers to the entire hiring process from start to finish. This can include writing the job description and job ad, reviewing applications, interviewing candidates, creating the job offer, and onboarding of the new employee. This is a massive undertaking, as each of those tasks has numerous steps it takes to achieve it.
Payroll is most often included as part of the responsibilities of HR professionals. The entire organization needs to get paid, and HR are usually the ones who process all of that. This includes collecting timesheets, calculating tax, accounting for reimbursements and bonuses. It’s far more than just completing tax forms once a year – however often you get paid is how often the HR professionals in your business have to carry out payroll. This is usually done on a monthly basis, though sometimes more often.
There is specific paperwork that must be kept for each employee. For instance, the CV and cover letter submitted during the job application process, their tax form, and other official documents. There is an HR file for each person where these will be kept for future reference. This is usually also where the contact details and emergency contact information are kept for each staff member.
Health, Safety, and Wellbeing
Included under the broad umbrella of HR are also the activities associated with health, safety, and wellbeing. Whether it’s ensuring site safety on a construction site or organizing ergonomic assessments to prevent issues such as repetitive strain injury, HR professionals take on this role as well. Plus, they may organize wellbeing events such as fun runs and other morale-boosting activities.
Although hiring managers will undoubtedly be involved in disciplinary processes, it is HR professionals who ensure that these are done the right way. You cannot discipline staff without following specific guidelines, and it’s the HR team who advises managers on the correct way to go about this.
When disciplinary processes are handled poorly, this can leave your company open to risk. The employee can sue, and you may lose an excellent staff member. That’s why HR often conducts an investigation into the reported behaviors before there are any consequences for the employee in question.
You know all of those policies and employee handbooks your company has? They are created, reviewed, and updated by your HR team. Many companies have policies for employee behavior and guidelines for appropriate work practices.
Learning and Development
It’s not only all about compliance and discipline for HR professionals. Large organizations also have an entire team dedicated to the learning and development of their employees. These people are the ones who arrange any professional development courses, secondments, and facilitate the career growth of staff.
Support to Managers
Most managers start managing staff for the first time without a lot of knowledge about best practices for management. That’s where HR professionals come in; they will come alongside managers and help them with advice on what to do in different situations. This allows managers to effectively manage their teams.
The HR team is also involved in the strategy of the company. They may not define the organizational strategy, but they are the ones who work tirelessly to execute it. They must ensure that the work they do aligns with any plans developed by the company to help them achieve their organizational goals. With an idea of where the business wants to go, they can also start strategic workforce planning. This is the planning of what skills the employees will need in the future to move into certain roles or support the company’s objectives.
Last but certainly not least on this list is change management. HR professionals are often enlisted to help with change rollouts. They can advise managers on how best to communicate with staff about upcoming changes and how to get their teams on board. This involves project management skills from the HR teams to help lead the organization towards where it wants to be in the future.
As you can see, the work of HR teams is tremendous. There is such a wide variety of tasks that they are responsible for. Much of the work they do will determine the success of the company; if they don’t complete payroll, then staff don’t get paid. If they don’t recruit, you will be understaffed and overworked. HR professionals work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the businesses they are in functioning successfully. If, before now, you didn’t realize all of what they do, it might be time to thank your HR team for all the support that they provide to you and your workplace. If you are a manager, feel free to contact them for advice and support when you need assistance in dealing with your staff. They are sure to be ready and willing to help you out.