Human resource management has a vast array of functions. After all, it is all about dealing with the most complicated creatures on the planet – humans.
This blog examines ten of these vital functions of human resource management.
What Is Human Resource Management?
The simple definition: human resource management is how an organisation gets the most out of its human capital.
In other words, human resource management is how an organisation leverages its employees' skills and dedication to become more competitive in the market. There are various methods to manage these resources – from the right kind of culture and organisation structure to resource utilisation strategies.
A culmination of executing these tactics and functions of human resource management well is what makes up an HR strategy. It is near impossible to determine which of these functions of human resource management is the most important. The fact is that each of these functions is essential to a holistic HR strategy.
There are great tech solutions available that could help streamline and enhance each of these functions of human resource management. Selecting the right tools and HR partners to implement these solutions successfully is vital to ensure that all these functions of human resource management work together.
Even with this recent, tremendous shift towards technology-reliant solutions, HR departments must remember that humans are at the centre of it all. It also may not yet be possible to rely entirely on technology. The right personnel must be selected and empowered with the tools and skills to execute these functions of human resource management.
Key Functions of Human Resource Management
Planning is all about getting the right people for the organisation. The HR department needs to understand what kinds of resources they require. What skills and attributes will work best for the company? How many people are needed?
A key element to this function of human resource management being successful is ensuring that businesses plan for their current requirements and future needs. A clear goal must be set. Businesses often draw out budgets to help them plan.
The answer to this will help HR departments create an actionable plan for the recruitment process.
Companies must understand that having people wanting to work for them is as important as finding the right people. Having a good employer image is vital to be able to attract top talent.
There is most likely a budget ceiling that must be adhered to. While all companies want to hire the best talent, they also need to define their balance for the cost of that talent.
As this list progresses, it will become more evident that these human resource management functions depend on each other.
Recruitment is an area that more and more companies have become reliant on technology for, and for a good reason.
With automation and tech making the process of shortlisting candidates, assessing them and making sure they are suitable for consideration, the work of HR reps is cut down significantly. Technology can take care of the entire onboarding process at large.
This practice not only makes people in the HR role more efficient but also improves the employee experience. It is a critical attribute to reducing employee attrition and keeping hiring and training costs low. While it does take some consideration to find the right tools and technology to do the job best, the tech is available and advisable to use.
3. Performance Management
Once an employee starts working, another invaluable function of human resource management is to measure their contribution. HR departments can do this with a combination of clear goals, consistent two-way feedback and, of course, great leaders.
Performance management and the statistics garnered from monitoring performance are vital for planning and forecasting its growth and business strategies.
Tech allows creating questionnaires and returning the information to HR as easy-to-analyse reports and data.
The goal of an HR department is not just getting the best value out of employees today but instead creating a system where continuous and optimal productivity results from a well-engaged, motivated workforce.
Learning and development is an area that cannot be stressed enough. A clear cut strategy must be in place to ensure that L&D is effective for both the organisation and the employee's current and future goals.
Now, more than ever, workers everywhere are placing more and more importance on rising to the occasion by sharpening their existing skills while adding more to their portfolios.
It has become much easier for employees and organisations to incorporate learning and development into their workflow with technology and the internet.
Employees no longer have to take huge chunks of time off to get certified on a new skill. Technology developments have allowed L&D functions of human resource management to become much more efficient.
5. Employee Career Path
This function of human resource management ties in with learning and development. An essential HR function is to ensure employees have a clear idea of how they will grow in that company. They must create a clear path for employees' professional growth to support and guide their development.
When an employee fails to see their career path and the future of their growth at an organisation, it comes with a heavy feeling of uncertainty. Employees are likely to seek security elsewhere.
An organisation is likely to have a more engaged, motivated and committed workforce if employees can visualise their success. Creating a well-structured employee career path is a vital function of human resource management.
6. Engagement and Rewards and Recognition Programs
Many, if not most companies, have rewards and recognition programs as part of their HR strategy. This function of human resource management is crucial to ensure that employees feel valued for their contribution and gain something by contributing more.
While financial incentives are great, various kinds of rewards and healthy work and life balance is essential.
Due to high attrition rates and the need to keep skilled talent, organisations are increasing their efforts and spending in this area.
7. Remuneration and Benefits
Salaries are what almost everyone works for. It is paramount that employees feel that they are getting paid for their efforts and also know that the organisation they work for meets or exceeds industry standards.
While benefits may include a good dental plan, there are many other ways to ensure employees feel their contribution is being fairly assessed.
Often this can turn into a game of balancing a cone on the head while walking down a tightrope for HR departments as retaining great talent can get expensive.
There needs to be a balance between expenditure and expected returns.
8. Industrial Relations
Often, this is something that organisations could afford to overlook temporarily. But there are certain requirements for creating meaningful relationships with employees, unions, other collectives and their members.
Relationships are critical in times of economic uncertainty. You do not want your entire workforce to walk off the work floor. You need the understanding and support of such organisations when the company needs to make hard decisions, such as pay cuts and layoffs.
9. Employee Well-Being
This particular HR function is not just about providing access to excellent health insurance plans. It is vital to make sure that employees are safe in their work environments.
For example, the safety scale differs vastly among chemical factories and data-entry businesses. But the common ground is that both schools of employees need to know that their company is looking out for them.
It also means their mental well-being and their ability to handle workloads and their personal lives. It is unrealistic for organisations to expect their employees to give their best when their personal lives are in utter turmoil simply because they get paid.
HR must establish precise and safe communication channels to deal with mental and emotional well-being.
10. HR Policy
Human resource management relies on this HR function to provide a robust, reliable structure. It is an excellent strategy to use policies that experienced organisations have made. However, it is urgent to ensure these policies are relevant to the organisation and its employees.
For example, an organisation with a higher demographic of resources above the age of forty, such as colleges (lecturers and professors) versus a gaming startup that likely has younger employees, would have to create and implement policies that vary in many ways.
Organisations cannot compromise on the sensitivity of these policies and often need to ensure they are up to date. For example, during the #MeToo movement, many organisations fumbled to create safer work environments.
A good HR policy or set of guidelines can help each of the other functions of human resource management work better.
While these points provide an overview of the functions of human resource management, there are still many other areas, activities and initiatives that come under the purview of the HR department.
HR departments managing these functions should have the same importance as rivers providing life and connecting humans. They are responsible for aligning the organisation's goals and the human capital's well-being to achieve a perfect balance.
Even with CEOs and people of authority, the HR department monitors and guides the outcomes produced by the workforce. Understanding and ensuring that these functions work hand-in-hand is vital to the growth and success of any organisation.
Darwinbox is a state-of-the-art HCM solution, a leading provider of cloud-based HRM software to organisations looking to engage and empower their employees. Today, Darwinbox caters to over 500 Asian corporations looking to manage their workforce efficiently and unlock their maximum potential.