What is an HR functions list?

What is an HR functions list?

An HR functions list is a guide that defines the core responsibilities of HR professionals, summarizes their priorities, and clarifies their mission.

An HR functions list:

  • Specifies the HR department’s role in the workplace
  • Promotes positive collaboration between HR professionals 
  • Aligns HR’s objectives with the company’s mission

Why would we need an HR functions list?

HR staff fills a variety of dynamic roles that demand different skills. Consolidating the many HR functions into a list can encourage HR professionals to focus on their collective workplace purpose, especially amidst the continuous tech innovations challenging the status quo.

An HR functions list can help:

  • Boost productivity and performance
  • Promote internal HR teamwork
  • Guide HR professionals towards achieving company goals

What are the different HR functions?

HR is responsible for structuring a competent workforce and nurturing a healthy company culture to gain a competitive edge.

The following core HR functions contribute towards an engaged workforce and a well-operating company:

  1. Recruitment and selection. A subcategory of talent acquisition, recruitment encompasses sourcing, interviewing, and hiring. To enable an effective recruiting process, HR professionals need to implement workforce planning, so they can prepare to match suitable candidates to relevant open positions.
  2. Training and development. People are a business’s most valuable asset. By investing time and finances in professional development, HR provides a platform for high-potential employees to advance their careers even further, adding even more value to the company. Facilitating job-specific training and instruction on effective work habits encourages professional growth. Moreover, offering development programs can reveal budding leaders, and uncover people’s strengths and weaknesses
  3. HR management. Human Resource Management is the strategic method of promoting employee engagement and productivity to support an organization’s success. Through offering training, coaching, practical tools, and legal and administrative services, the HR department helps employees effectively contribute to the company.
  4. Talent and performance. HR professionals can help raise the bar on company-wide performance by engaging and involving their people in the performance review process. HR departments that nurture a positive company culture, implement a continuous performance review system, and encourage multi-directional feedback empower people and help boost engagement and performance.
  5. Compensation and benefits. HR compensation managers can collaborate with finance leaders to develop competitive and budget-friendly compensation packages. Providing people with a handsome paycheck and competitive benefits is a fundamental component of revving up employee motivation. It can also help attract more top talent to the company.
  6. Industrial relations. HR teams have the responsibility to cultivate and continue good working relationships with labor unions and other collectives. Maintaining an open dialogue with unions can help expedite conflict resolution. Should the economic climate deteriorate, positive relations with labor unions will make any discussions about adjusting compensation—or even layoffs—easier.
  7. Health and safety. HR plays a vital role creating and enforcing health and safety regulations around the office. From healthcare packages to fire drills and first aid, HR teams deal with it all. 
  8. Employee wellbeing. The mindset and mental health of your people directly influences the productivity and overall performance of your organization. As such, HR departments are responsible for implementing programs that prioritize their people’s physical health and mental wellbeing. Employee wellbeing initiatives commonly involve one-on-one communications, employee assistance programs, and mental health awareness campaigns.
  9. Employee advocacy. HR teams serve as employee advocates and are responsible for ensuring everyone at the company is treated with respect. Productivity and engagement depend upon people having access to information relevant to their roles and the ability to weigh in on policies and actions that affect them. 
  10. Administrative responsibility. As if all of the above weren’t enough, HR teams are still responsible for the administrative duties traditionally handled by HR. Equipped with personnel procedures and HR platforms to automate processes and store employee data, HR professionals oversee:
  • Promotions
  • Complaints
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Performance improvements
  • Illnesses
  • Regulations
  • DEI&B initiatives
  • Harassment training
  • Bullying and more

The relationship between the HR department’s structure and functions

If an HR functions list serves as a guide to the core responsibilities of HR professionals, an HR department structure defines the infrastructural framework of an HR department. The department structure establishes whether or not decision-making is centralized or decentralized and helps leadership identify gaps in their operations. 

HR department structures may follow various models:

  • Hierarchical structure. This is a vertical structure based on seniority. In this model, communication moves from top to bottom.
  • Goal oriented structure. In this model, goals are assigned to individual departments from leadership. Each team can self-regulate, deciding their own strategies and measures.
  • Shamrock model. Tasks are delegated to the most qualified, knowledgeable team members. This model is ideal for smaller organizations.
  • Networking and outsourcing model. HR departments can solicit help from external sources like consultants. This model is most common for organizations with only a few in-house members of the HR team.

What are some of the latest developments and trends in HR functions? 

The last few years have burdened businesses with unprecedented challenges, from the COVID pandemic to global inflation and a skills shortage. To overcome these challenges, the workplace ventured into uncharted territories, redefining the human resource management industry in the process. One of the most critical additions to the list of HR functions is the need to manage the adoption of remote and hybrid working models. 

Other recent developments and trends in HR functions include:

  • Change management. If our society—still reeling in the aftermath of a surprise pandemic—has learned anything, it’s the importance of change management. This is a concept rapidly gaining momentum in business discourse. Change management refers to a preemptive, systematic process deployed to ease any change in an organization’s goals, processes, or technologies.
  • Human leadership. Many HR leaders have labeled the evolution of HR functions post-pandemic as the “era of human leadership.” Data-driven HR analytics discovered a stark decline in employee engagement and a rise in burnout and  employee turnover. In response, HR professionals are emphasizing the importance of empathetic, transparent, and adaptive leadership that prioritizes teamwork and collaboration.
  • Metaverse. The metaverse workplace promises organizations a virtual reality environment—customizable and fully immersive—for people to convene and collaborate, while working from anywhere in the world. Once this technology is fully realized, team members will be able to interact as digital avatars, which could combat the isolation felt by a workforce increasingly engaged in remote work.

How can tech support the growing needs of the HR function?

HR is constantly evolving and changing. A key change in recent times is through advanced technology. HR tech is here to alleviate the pressure on HR professionals and empower them to make data-driven decisions with real-time insights and people analytics.  

HR tech saves valuable time, automating processes such as:

How can an HR functions list improve company culture?

The core functions of HR are interdependent. Assembling these functions into a list helps HR personnel focus on these essential, correlated goals. The HR functions list provides teams with a holistic perspective of HR disciplines, helping HR professionals progress on their career paths, fulfill their responsibilities, and simultaneously support employees to build a robust company culture.