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Essential HR:
Human Resources Functions Explained

An infographic showing the seven Human Resources Management Core Functions.
Hacking HR Team

Posted on March 05, 2024

Your employees are your company's most valuable resource, not the state-of-the-art equipment or the stylish office layout. They are the ones who provide you with the creative ideas, constant commitment, and enthusiasm that propel your achievement. Human Resources can help with this. Those are essential duties, but revolutionary HR extends beyond handling paperwork and ensuring regulations are followed.

It all comes down to realizing the potential of your staff members and influencing their work environment from the time they are hired until long after they leave. HR creates an atmosphere where workers feel appreciated, empowered, and motivated to perform at the highest level by acting as a link between people and the company's objectives.

The Core 7 HR Functions

When you hear "HR basics,” you might picture stacks of forms and rigid procedures, but these core functions, when done well, are the backbone of a thriving workplace. Here's a look at these foundational areas and why they matter to both individuals and the business:

An Infographic showing the 7 HR Core Functions.

1. Hiring

This process encompasses finding applicants who align with your company's beliefs and values while filling those open positions. An excellent hire strengthens the culture within your company while making the hiring process assertive and efficient.

2. Onboarding

The first few weeks of a new hire's employment determine their career path. Therefore, good onboarding makes employees sense that they belong right away, boosts engagement, and reduces early turnover.

3. Compensation & Benefits

Offering competitive and fair compensation attracts top individuals and conveys your appreciation for their work, plus being ethically sound.

4. Training & Development

Training your people demonstrates that you care about their professional development. This also encourages creativity, enhances customer support, and aids in keeping your top performers with the company for the long run.

5. Performance Management

Consider this an annual event rather than fuel for staff development. When people receive coaching, defined goals, and ongoing feedback, they implicitly realize their potential and feel a commitment to their work.

6. Employee Relations

A productive workplace does not happen by accident, as HR is accountable for a culture that ensures everyone is appreciated and heard while fairly mediating disputes.

7. Compliance

HR law is crucial, and proactively enforcing labor regulations helps avoid costly mistakes that could harm your organization, employees, and reputation.

Beyond the Basics

As the core HR functions are each pillar of your company operations, two other areas play a significant role in shaping your organizational culture:

1. Employee Experience (EX)

Think of it this way: A great onboarding program makes a new hire's first day exciting, not anxious. Consistent check-ins with managers mean no one feels forgotten, and offering mental health support shows your commitment beyond the workday. These factors are crucial in creating an environment where people feel valued, which drives loyalty and innovation.

2. HR Analytics

HR analytics does not have to be impersonal spreadsheets because beyond whatever numbers are linked to your employees, these will quickly translate into behaviors -when using the right lens. Additionally, using data helps HR spot patterns like why your top performers leave or what training truly boosts sales. For example, exit interview data might show a pattern of talented people leaving due to burnout or compensation. That insight will give HR the backup to advocate for the right changes.

Why HR Functions Matter

HR pros are busy with day-to-day tasks, but let's zoom out for a second. Here's why all that effort matters to your bottom line:

  • Productivity: A motivated, well-supported team simply gets more done. Think about how much smoother projects run when employees have the right training and feel genuinely valued.

  • Retention: Losing good employees is expensive, both in hard costs and for morale. Great EX powered by HR is key to keeping the talent you've worked hard to find.

  • Legal Protection: Yes, compliance is non-negotiable. It's also about protecting your company and, importantly, your employees' rights. This builds trust and avoids costly legal battles.

  • Employer Brand: Word gets out about how you treat people. Therefore, strong HR practices make you the employer everyone wants to work for, attracting top candidates and strengthening your company's reputation.

An infographic showing the new roles in the future of HR: Strategic Partner; Data Proficient; Culture Architect, and Inclusion Driver.

The Future of HR

HR is evolving rapidly! Visionary HR leaders are making significant impacts, and you can too:

  • Strategic Partner: Imagine HR sitting at the table for major business decisions. That's the future – putting people at the heart of every plan.

  • Data-Informed: HR pros don't need to be statisticians, but understanding how to leverage data makes a massive difference. This allows HR to pinpoint solutions, not just react to problems.

  • Culture Architects: Company values shouldn't be just a slogan. HR brings those values to life by shaping how people are hired and recognized and how issues are handled fairly.

  • Inclusion Driver: Real DEI&B isn't an afterthought but ensuring diverse voices are represented at every level. This creates a workplace where everyone feels they have the chance to thrive.

Learn More

Ready to take your HR expertise to the next level? Our 'Fundamentals of HR' Certificate Program gives you the tools to be a proactive, strategic player in your organization.

The flyer for the Certificate Program titled "Fundamentals of HR" shows four building blocks.

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