Covered: What Does HR Do?

October 19, 2020

What does HR do? Learn about the various Responsibilities and duties covered by your business' Human Resources department.

A man's hand with different business icons in front of him, highlighting the human icon.

So What Does HR Do?

Even if you’ve been in the business world for a while, you may still wonder – what does HR do? Of course, it’s an important part of every business, but sometimes people misunderstand HR’s roles and duties. In this article, we’ll go over the different areas of business that are covered by Human Resources.

We’ll also take a look at the HR options available to business owners, so you too can have an ideal HR setup for your business. This ensures all employees feel supported and heard, so they can be as satisfied and productive as possible. That, obviously, is good for business.

Areas Covered By Human Resources

There are a few various areas of business that operate under the HR umbrella. If your HR department doesn’t at least have some resources available for each of these areas, think about fixing this. It’s an important element for any successful business.

A man with paperwork explaining a forklift to another employee.

The duties and responsibilities of HR can vary, but for the most part, there are five key elements that lie within the blanket of Human Resources. These elements include staffing, compensation, development, safety and health, and employee and labor relations. Let’s start by learning what HR does for staffing.

What Does HR Do For Staffing?

Staffing is probably the area of HR that most people are familiar with because we’ve all been through the hiring process. Those in Human Resources will handle the recruiting, hiring, and termination of all employees, from independent contractors to full-time salaried employees. Duties can vary depending on the size and type of industry you’re in. For example, some HR departments may also handle the training of new employees.

The reason it’s important for HR to be involved in these processes is so the ethical hiring practices (and legal practices) are observed and maintained. There are also specific steps required in the hiring process, including paperwork and policies. HR professionals also handle writing up employment offers, employee contracts, and termination contracts. There are other pieces of obtaining new employees HR handles – learn about the top eight steps of the hiring process here.

In short, it’s important to have HR involved in these processes for legal reasons – it’ll best protect your business and employees. Speaking of hiring, let’s see what HR does for employee compensation.

What Does HR Do For Employee Compensation?

What HR does includes employee compensation and benefits.

Compensation is an important piece of an HR Professional’s responsibilities. There are many different types of compensation, and different rules apply to each type. This is another area that needs to be monitored and assessed, usually periodically and for the entirety of your employee’s employment. This ensures compensation remains competitive within the market and fair for all employees. Unfortunately, discrimination and compensation disparities still exist, so HR ensures this doesn’t happen. Similarly, the HR department will also handle any necessary pay decreases and the behavioral issues and feedback surrounding a decrease.

Also, when employees have someone to come to with compensation questions or concerns, it’s more likely that they’ll talk and negotiate through it rather than just seek out another job. This is another way HR helps employee satisfaction and keeps an open line of communication between employees and their superiors.

Related:  Attorney? HR Consultant? Who You Gonna Call?

Along the same lines of compensation, are employee benefits. Employee benefits add to an employee’s total compensation package. Negotiating and properly managing this paperwork and tasks is another important piece of the HR puzzle. Along with all of their compensation benefits, HR is also responsible for developmental portions of the business.

How Does HR Help Development?

The term “development” can apply to different areas of business, but most commonly refers to the prolonged growth of employees and business. As we mentioned before, this can include new employee training or employee training in general. This can also include additional learning opportunities for employees like educational programs, classes, or conferences. The reasons for development can range from keeping employees up-to-date on materials or certifications, to skill development and expansion.

Depending on how your company handles additional educational opportunities, your HR department will probably have some paperwork as well. For example, many companies offer educational reimbursements that cover all or part of the employee’s bill. So having an HR professional involved in your development process can help a great deal. Now let’s take a look at what HR does to promote employee health and safety.

How Does HR Promote Safety and Health?

One of the reasons Human Resources became such a huge part of the workplace was to ensure their employee’s safety. Before the founding of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employee’s safety was at an unfortunately low spot in the list of employer’s priorities. Now, however, the safety and health of employees are one of the most important aspects of HR’s responsibilities. This is especially true in industries involving construction or other potentially hazardous situations or work environments.

The Bureau of Labor statistics says these are the top 10 most dangerous jobs in America:

A large machine holding logs on a logging site.
  1. Logging Workers
  2. Fishers and Fishing Workers
  3. Pilots and Flight Engineers
  4. Roofers
  5. Refuse and Recyclable Materials Collectors
  6. Truck Drivers and Sales Drivers
  7. Farmers, Ranchers, and Agricultural Workers
  8. Structural Iron & Steel Workers
  9. First-line Construction and Extraction Supervisors
  10. First-line Landscaping and Groundskeeping Supervisors

If you’re within a specialized or potentially hazardous industry (especially one of those listed above), your legal requirements increase. This usually means there are more training and paperwork requirements as well, including certifications and licenses. It’s also important to keep an eye out for updates to laws and safety regulations within these industries. A part of enforcing certifications and safety regulations includes giving employee reviews and providing feedback for improvement, as well as keeping track of training. So, with all of this in mind, it makes sense that having an HR department on your side will make life a lot easier.

What Does HR Do For Employee Relations?

Employee relations include things like maintaining a non-hostile work environment and keeping peace between employees. This can also include handling issues regarding sexual harassment or other matters of discrimination. This is a crucial part of HR’s responsibilities. Aside from the obvious responsibility of keeping a safe work environment as we mentioned above, you’re also responsible for keeping a comfortable work environment for all employees, free from any and all verbal assault.

Failure to properly manage issues regarding employee disputes, discrimination, or sexual harassment can land your business is in a mess of trouble. Legal fines and lawsuits can bankrupt a company. At the very least it can greatly damage your business’ reputation. So now that we know the risks of neglecting HR, let’s take a look at the different HR options available for business owners.

Employees around a table laughing. What HR does includes employee relations.

HR Options for Businesses

To ensure your business receives all of the benefits of what HR covers, you’ll need a full range of HR services available. Depending on the size and demand of your business, you’ll either need a full-time professional or a more customized outsourced option. Let’s take a look at the different ways your business can gain the benefits of an HR department.

Related:  Outsourcing: How to Choose What to Take Off Your Plate

Hiring An HR Professional

If your needs require it, you can hire an internal HR professional. Depending on the size of your business, you might be able to get away with outsourcing your HR needs, but we’ll get into that in the next section. According to, the average salary for an internal HR Professional ranges from 42K-86K annually, with the average base salary falling at $56, 506.

While this may be a hard pill to swallow at first, consider the number of employees you have and the industry you’re in. Not surprisingly, there are some industries that require a much heftier amount of paperwork than others. In these instances, with 30 or more employees in the mix, an HR professional will make a business owner’s life much less stressful. If this still isn’t an option, you can look to outsourcing your HR needs.

Outsourcing HR Needs

If hiring an internal professional seems out of reach or unnecessary for the size of your business, you can outsource the task. This is generally much more cost-effective and ideal for small businesses that lack the budget or need for a full-time employee. There are many outsourcing options available at different prices. You can go for a simple package or for a more a la carte option.

If you’re a client of Journey, you have the option of using HRNOW for your human resources needs. It includes unlimited calling and emailing with an HR Professional for your HR-related questions. This is a great option for smaller businesses because you get unlimited access to an HR professional, at a much more affordable price.

A web describing what HR does. 6 variations off the web explaining the different aspects of HR.

No matter which option you choose, it’s a step in the right direction. Something is always better than nothing! However, make your HR department a priority, especially if you’re starting out slow with outsourcing. Having a plan and budget in place ensures you’re already prepared, rather than having to respond to a negative situation and repair damage.

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