Functions of human resources

As humans, we are constantly evolving, adapting, and growing. The same can be said for the world of business and the role of Human Resources (HR) within it.

HR professionals are responsible for ensuring that an organisation’s workforce is well-managed, engaged, and equipped to achieve its goals.

From recruitment and training to compensation and benefits, HR touches every aspect of an organisation’s people strategy.

As businesses continue to evolve and face new challenges, the role of HR becomes increasingly important.

In this context, it is crucial to understand the 6 key functions of HR and how they contribute to the success of organisations.

Let’s explore these functions and their impact on the business world today.


  1. Recruitment and Selection

Recruitment and selection is a fundamental function of Human Resources (HR) that involves identifying job vacancies, developing job descriptions and person specifications, and attracting and selecting the right candidates for open positions.

Recruitment is the process of searching for and attracting potential candidates for a specific job opening.

This can be done through various channels, such as job boards, social media, employee referrals, and recruitment agencies.

Once a pool of candidates is identified, HR professionals screen and assess them to determine their suitability for the position.

Selection, on the other hand, involves evaluating candidates to determine the best fit for the job based on their skills, experience, and qualifications.

This may include conducting interviews, administering tests, checking references, and performing background checks.

Effective recruitment and selection processes are critical to the success of an organisation as they ensure that the right people are hired for the right positions.

This function is essential for attracting and retaining top talent, fostering a positive work environment, and promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace.


  1. Training and Development

Training and development is another key function of HR that involves designing and delivering employee training programmes to improve job skills, promote professional development, and prepare employees for new roles and responsibilities.

Training programmes are designed to enhance specific job-related skills, knowledge, and abilities.

These programmes can be conducted in various formats, including classroom training, online courses, workshops, and on-the-job training.

They may cover topics such as job-specific skills, technology, compliance, customer service, and leadership development.

Development programmes, on the other hand, focus on preparing employees for future roles and responsibilities within the organisation.

These programmes may include mentoring, coaching, job shadowing, and career development planning.

They are designed to help employees build new skills and knowledge that will prepare them for leadership roles and other career advancement opportunities.

Effective training and development programmes are critical to the success of an organisation.

They help employees acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their jobs effectively, improve job satisfaction and motivation, and reduce employee turnover.

Additionally, development programmes can help organisations build a strong talent pipeline and ensure that they have the necessary skills and expertise to meet future business needs.


  1. Compensation and Benefit

This function involves managing employee compensation and benefits packages, including salary and bonus structures, health insurance, retirement plans, and other employee perks.

HR professionals are responsible for ensuring that employees are fairly compensated for their work based on their skills, experience, and performance.

They work to establish and maintain salary structures and compensation policies that align with the organisation’s overall goals and objectives.

HR also administers employee benefits programmes, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off, which are designed to attract and retain top talent.

In addition to managing compensation and benefits programmes, HR professionals may also oversee the administration of payroll and employee tax reporting. They work to ensure that employee pay is accurate and timely and that tax reporting and compliance requirements are met.

Effective compensation and benefits programmes are essential to the success of an organisation.

They help attract and retain top talent, motivate employees, and promote employee engagement and loyalty.

Additionally, they can help reduce employee turnover, improve productivity, and enhance the organisation’s overall financial performance.


  1. Performance Management

Performance management is a crucial function of HR that involves establishing clear performance expectations, providing feedback and coaching to employees, and evaluating and rewarding performance.

HR professionals work with managers and employees to establish performance goals and objectives that are aligned with the organisation’s overall goals and objectives.

They provide ongoing feedback and coaching to help employees improve their performance and achieve their goals.

Additionally, HR may conduct regular performance evaluations to assess employee performance and identify areas for improvement.

Effective performance management can help improve employee performance, boost employee engagement and motivation, and enhance organisational performance.

By establishing clear performance expectations, employees know what is expected of them and can focus their efforts on achieving their goals.

By providing ongoing feedback and coaching, employees can receive guidance on how to improve their performance and develop new skills.

Finally, by evaluating and rewarding performance, organisations can recognise and retain top performers and motivate other employees to improve their performance.


  1. Employee Relations

Employee relations is a key function of HR that involves managing the relationship between the organisation and its employees.

It encompasses a wide range of activities, including employee communication, conflict resolution, and employee engagement.

HR professionals work to establish and maintain positive relationships with employees by fostering open communication, providing opportunities for employee feedback, and addressing employee concerns and grievances.

They may also develop and implement employee engagement programmes to help employees feel more connected to the organisation and its mission.

Employee relations also involves managing employee discipline and addressing employee conflicts. HR professionals work with managers to address performance issues and develop corrective action plans.

They may also facilitate conflict resolution between employees and provide mediation services when necessary.

Effective employee relations are critical to the success of an organisation.

By fostering positive relationships with employees, organisations can improve employee engagement and motivation, reduce employee turnover, and enhance overall organisational performance.

Additionally, by effectively managing employee discipline and conflict, organisations can create a positive work environment that promotes teamwork, collaboration, and productivity.


  1. Compliance

Compliance is a key function of HR that involves ensuring that the organisation and its employees comply with relevant laws, regulations, and policies.

HR professionals work to establish and maintain compliance programmes that address a range of issues, including employment laws, workplace safety, data privacy, and ethical standards.

They also provide training to employees to ensure they are aware of their legal and ethical obligations.

HR professionals may work with legal and regulatory authorities to ensure the organisation is in compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

They also monitor changes to laws and regulations and update the organisation’s policies and procedures accordingly.

Effective compliance programmes are critical to the success of an organisation.

By ensuring that the organisation and its employees comply with relevant laws and regulations, organisations can avoid legal and financial penalties, protect the organisation’s reputation, and maintain a positive work environment.

Additionally, by promoting ethical standards and practices, organisations can enhance their overall corporate social responsibility and attract and retain top talent




In conclusion, the six key functions of HR—recruitment and selection, training and development, compensation and benefits, performance management, employee relations, and compliance – are essential to the success of any organisation.

These functions work together to ensure that the organisation has the talent, skills, and resources necessary to achieve its goals and objectives.

By effectively managing these functions, HR professionals can improve employee engagement and motivation, reduce turnover, enhance organiSational performance, and promote a positive work environment.

As the role of HR continues to evolve, it is essential for organisations to invest in HR strategies and initiatives that align with their overall business goals and objectives.


This article was written by Nicholas Mushayi, a consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants. He can be contacted at



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