Human Resources Defined:
Human resources is a broad term used to describe the individuals who comprise the workforce of a business entity—this definition is also attached to the term “human capital”. More specifically, human resources (commonly simplified to HR) is the name of the function within a business entity charged with the responsibility for implementing policies and strategies relating to the management of individuals (the human resources).
A business entity’s HR management model attempts to maximize return on investment regarding the organization’s human capital. The HR management strategy, while attempting to streamline the function of individual employees, also attempts to minimize financial risk.
A human resources manager will seek to achieve these goals by aligning the supply of qualified and skilled individuals and the capabilities of the entity’s current workforce, with the organization’s future business plans and requirements to achieve an efficient return on investment.
To ensure these objectives are achieved, the human resources department will implement an organization’s human resources requirements, taking into account all laws (federal, state and local labor) and regulations which regulate the entity.
Basic Functions of an HR Department:
A human resources department may develop policies, systems and standards that implement the department’s basic strategy in a variety of arenas. The following roles are typical for a human resources department in a wide range of industries and business models:
• An HR department will maintain awareness concerning compliance with local, state and federal labor laws.
• An HR department will recruit, interview, select and board resources—including the processing of new employees
• The human resources department is responsible for all employee record-keeping and confidentiality functions
• The human resources department will help with the organizational design and development of the business entity
• The human resources department will oversee performance, conduct and behavior of the entity’s employees
• The HR department will process new employee applications, payroll and employee benefits
• The HR department will institute and oversee training and development of new/current employees—this process is referred to as “learning management”
• The HR department will bolster employee motivation and the morale of the workforce—these functions aim to augment employee loyalty and retention
The implementation of the above policies may directly managed by a company’s HR department, or the functions may be indirectly supervised by managers or third party organizations.
A human resources department is a fundamental component of employee well-being in any organization, no matter the industry or the size of the entity. Responsibilities of the HR department include all of the above and issues concerning hiring, firing and complying with state and federal tax laws. Furthermore, a company’s HR department is integral part of the organization’s risk assessment department. Aside from complying with local, state and federal labor laws, the human resources department will engage in safety inspection, dispute resolution and the filing of workers’ compensation—all rules and regulations that govern a particular business organization will be affirmed through the delivery of an employee handbook, which of course, is constructed by an HR department.