The 5 Main Roles in HR
The 5 Main Roles in HR

The 5 Main Roles in HR

An effective human resources 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, but HR practitioners might perform more than one of the six main duties: talent management, compensation and benefits, training and development, compliance and workplace safety.

  1. Talent Management
  2. 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, supporting and retaining employees. Recruiters are the primary players in developing any company’s workforce. They’re responsible for posting positions on job boards, sourcing candidates through job fairs and social media, serving as the first-line contacts for screening candidates, conducting the initial interviews, and coordinating with the hiring manager responsible for making the final selection. A recruiter’s success is typically determined by two key metrics: the number of positions they fill each year and the time it takes to get those positions filled.

    Employee relations or support is the area of the talent management team that is concerned with strengthening the employer-employee relationship. HR practitioners in this role study job satisfaction, employee engagement, organizational culture and resolving workplace conflict. 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.

    Talent management also has HR managers 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.

  3. Compensation and Benefits
  4. In smaller companies the compensation and benefits roles can often be handled by a single HR professional, 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 succession planning.

    On the benefits side, HR practitioners can be responsible for negotiating group health coverage rates with insurance carriers or coordinating with the company’s 401(k) administrator. 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.

  5. Training and Development
  6. Every company wants to see its employees thrive, which means providing them with all of the tools they need to succeed. These tools aren’t necessarily physical like laptops, software or tools for a particular trade; they can include new employee orientation, leadership training, personal and professional development, and managerial training. Training and development (sometimes called learning and development) is an integral component 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 impact 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.

  7. HR Compliance
  8. Compliance is a critical component of any HR department. Employment and labor laws can be 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 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.

  9. Workplace Safety
  10. 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 its workers. A large focus area for HR is developing and supporting safety training and maintaining federally mandated logs if 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, we 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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