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The 5 Main Roles in HR
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Workforce Management

The 5 Main Roles in HR

One Minute Takeaway

  • Human Resources manages 5 main duties: talent management, compensation and employee benefits, training and development, compliance, and workplace safety.
  • An HR department can help provide organizational structure and the ability to meet business needs by effectively managing the employee lifecycle.

An effective human resources (HR) management department can help provide organizational structure and the ability to meet business needs by managing your business’s most valuable asset – your employees.

Several disciplines make up the HR department, and human resources managers working at smaller companies might perform more than one of the five main duties: talent management, compensation and benefits for employees, training and development, compliance, and workplace safety.

  1. Talent Management
    The talent management team in the HR department covers a lot of ground. What used to be distinct areas of the department have been rolled up under one umbrella. The talent management team is responsible for recruiting, hiring, developing, and retaining employees.

    Recruiters are the heavy lifters in building any company’s workforce. They’re responsible for the total hiring process including posting positions on job boards, sourcing candidates through job fairs and social media, serving as the first-line contacts for running background checks to screen candidates, conducting the initial interviews, and coordinating with the hiring manager responsible for making the final selection. A recruiter’s success is determined by several key metrics: the number of positions they fill each year, where candidates are coming from (e.g., job postings, social media, career fairs, etc.), the time it takes to fill positions, and reasons why an applicant wasn’t hired. (NOTE: If you’re having trouble attracting talent to your company, it’s time to evaluate why. Take our recruiting quiz to see how you measure up.)

    Employee relations or support is the area of the talent management team that is concerned with strengthening the employer-employee relationship. Human resources managers in this role study job satisfaction, employee engagement, organizational culture, and resolving workplace conflict. Gallup estimates that disengaged employees cost U.S. businesses a whopping $600+ billion each year in lost productivity, so this role is integral to the success of your business.

    If the company has a unionized workforce, this team will also work on labor relations, including negotiating collective bargaining agreements, creating managerial responses to union organizing campaigns, and interpreting labor union contract questions.

    The talent management group is also home to HR practitioners who focus on workforce planning and management. This area includes succession planning and retention efforts across the business, from the C-suite on down. When an employee resigns, retires, is fired or laid off, gets sick, or dies, the workforce planning team kicks into action.

  2. Compensation and Benefits
    In smaller companies the compensation and benefits roles can often be overseen by one or two human resources professionals, but companies with a larger workforce will typically split up the duties. HR functions in compensation include evaluating the pay practices of competitors and establishing the compensation structure. The compensation department is also responsible for creating job descriptions in tandem with department managers, as well as working with talent management on succession planning.

    On the benefits side, HR practitioners are typically responsible for functions such as negotiating group health coverage rates with insurance carriers or coordinating with the company’s 401(k) administrator. Of course, payroll is also part of the compensation and benefits area of HR, but many companies choose to outsource this function to a bookkeeper or payroll service provider. Those that don’t generally put payroll practitioners in a separate team that works on the tactical process of generating payroll, with the compensation team focusing mainly on planning and strategy.
  3. Training and Development
    Every company wants to see its employees thrive, which means providing them with all the tools they need to succeed. These tools aren’t necessarily physical such as laptops, job-related software, or tools for a particular trade; they can include new employee orientation, leadership training programs, personal and professional development, and managerial training. Training and development (sometimes called learning and development) is an integral part of the HR team. Depending on the type of employee role played at the company, the training team might be responsible for building out instructional programs that have a direct effect on the success of the business. Today, many colleges and universities offer degrees in training and development; an instructional design degree would also be helpful in this role.
  4. HR Compliance
    Legal and regulatory compliance is a critical component of any HR department. Employment and labor laws are highly complex, and having a team devoted to monitoring this ever-changing landscape is essential to keeping companies out of trouble with federal, state, and local governments’ laws. When a business is out of compliance, it can result in applicants or employees filing claims based on discriminatory hiring and employment practices or hazardous working conditions. The compliance practitioner or team must fully understand employment laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, and dozens of other rules and regulations.

    The HR compliance team is also heavily involved—working in tandem with other HR practitioners—in developing all company policy that makes up the employee handbook
  5. Workplace Safety
    Of course, every company wants to provide a safe place to work for its employees, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) actually mandates that employers provide a safe working environment for their workers. A large focus area for HR is developing and supporting safety training and maintaining federally mandated logs in the event injuries or fatalities happen at work. In addition, this department often works hand-in-hand with benefits specialists to manage the company’s Workers’ Compensation filings.

Ready to take the next step?

As you can see, there can be a lot of cross-over among the five main areas of the HR department and it can be tough to cover all of those moving parts. But the success of your business depends on full HR coverage. If it’s too much of a burden to go it alone, Paycor can help. Whatever your HR and benefits challenges are, we can help you solve them with technology that works for your business. Take a tour of our products today and see for yourself how Paycor can help.

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