HR Roles: Key duties and responsibilities in today’s workplace

Explore how HR roles have evolved from basic administrative functions to strategic tasks that enhance organizational performance and employee engagement. Learn about the crucial roles in HR that drive company success and adapt to technological and workplace changes.

By Brad Nakase, Attorney

Email  |  Call (888) 600-8654

Have a quick question? I answered nearly 1500 FAQs.

What are the main HR roles?

Some of the most important tasks in any company are performed by the HR department. These include finding applicants, employing exceptional employees, and using data and analytics to inform important business choices. The HR department’s job has changed significantly over the last few decades and will likely continue to adapt in response to technological advancements and evident changes in the workplace.

What are the main duties and roles that human resources teams carry out these days, and how do they provide value and support the company’s success? Let’s get a better look.

The development of HR positions in a business

Early in the 20th century, the HR division was thought of as the company’s custodian. Workers needed to be handled for as little money as possible. Consequently, it was believed that HR may lead to increased productivity (Becker & Gerhart, 1996). Apart from cost and time savings, the efficacy of HR received little attention.

HR positions started to change in the late 1990s as businesses started to adjust to the working circumstances and outside influences of the day. Studies have shown that HR policies and procedures may have an impact on an organization’s performance. In other words, the market value per person rises as the HR architecture gets more complex.

The demands of the workplace are changing as we get closer to the digital-human era of work. To keep up with these changes, stay relevant, and take advantage of new opportunities, HR positions and duties must change and grow.

Important HR positions in a company

The HR division is responsible for a wide range of tasks, many of which benefit the company and contribute value. Based on a revised version of Becker & Gerhart’s synopsis of decades of HR research, let’s explore what these crucial HR functions are.

  1. Bringing in applicants

Finding and recruiting the best individuals for the company is one of HR’s main responsibilities. HR employs tactics like compelling employer branding, alluring pay and benefits packages, and skillfully written job advertisements to draw in top talent, select and hire high-potential workers, and guarantee that the business has an adequate number of competent workers to fulfill daily responsibilities and achieve the organization’s long-term objectives.

A large talent pool makes it easier to draw from, which improves business operations overall and relieves pressure and overload on current staff while increasing performance.

  1. Choosing the candidates

Another major HR role is choosing qualified applicants for available vacancies. While businesses frequently contract with outside organizations to handle certain aspects of this process, HR or a talent acquisition team should oversee the entire procedure.

Receiving and sorting applications, vetting and pre-selection, phone and in-person interviews, assessments (cognitive ability, skills, behavioral), and background checks comprise the funnel-shaped selection process.

HR is responsible for deciding which applicants are best qualified for each position. This should be determined at each level of the selection process, and only qualified candidates should advance through the funnel. Examining resumes and arranging interviews should only be done after a thorough grasp of the position and the knowledge and expertise required to fill it.

  1. Hiring both external and internal candidates 

Engaging in both internal and external hiring is one of HR’s primary responsibilities. Employee training and astute succession planning are two ways that HR contributes to building a robust internal talent pipeline within the organization. Since current employees are familiar with the business and have many options to develop professionally and further their careers, this is always desired.

HR will, however, strive to hire outside talent for entry-level positions and other roles if the necessary talent is not available internally.

  1. Evaluations of performance

A performance appraisal, sometimes known as a performance review or evaluation, is a formal procedure used to assess how well a worker has performed in their capacity over time. It is meant to offer helpful criticism on how to advance professionally and accomplish organizational objectives. This is a quarterly, biannual, or annual event for the majority of companies.

Usually, HR is in charge of creating a performance review form and detailing the procedure for performance appraisals. Then, using the form, managers can have a structured meeting with their team members to do these appraisals.

Through simulated feedback sessions, the HR department also teaches management how to improve their feedback-giving techniques and designs the process to minimize various forms of bias.

Effective performance reviews reduce skill gaps, strengthen the bond between managers and staff, increase organizational performance, and assist businesses in becoming future-ready. Businesses are choosing increasingly often to pursue ongoing feedback in addition to the regular performance assessments.

  1. Pay 

Paying employees fairly and competitively is a crucial aspect of human resource management. Indirect compensation (tuition reimbursement, life insurance) and direct compensation (base salary, overtime pay) are two types of compensation that are possible. Fair pay attracts top talent, inspires workers to perform at their highest level, and increases retention rates.

Usually, HR will:

Create an approach to compensation that offers guidelines for pay packages and structures.

Establish a compensation plan.

Address any difficulties with pay that exist inside the company (such as internal and external equity).

Participate in the planning of compensation.

  1. Benefits management for employees

Studies have indicated that an increase in salary does not always translate into happier workers. But the appropriate benefits package might. Pay for sick days, a budget for professional growth, additional parental leave, daycare reimbursement, flexible work schedules, limitless paid time off, and other benefits are typical employee perks.

Retaining top staff depends on offering the proper benefits, which is one of HR’s main responsibilities. They are in charge of creating an employee benefits plan that complements the long-term corporate strategy. Such a plan gives the company a competitive edge and aids in attracting and retaining top people. Human resources (HR) may boost motivation, involvement, and performance by catering to their individual requirements. This can lead to improved morale and retention rates.

  1. Education and growth

Learning and development initiatives support organizational objectives, skill gap closure, workforce upskilling and reskilling, and future readiness. Formal training, facilitating on-the-job training, job rotation to give employees a wider range of work experience, and difficult tasks (like those in problem-solving groups) that support both individual and organizational learning are some examples of these activities.

The company’s core competencies and the personal development goals of its personnel are frequently in line with learning and development initiatives.

HR is essential to the implementation of a productive learning and development program for all workers. This entails assessing the workforce’s training needs both now and in the future, setting clear learning objectives, producing training materials and developing the delivery method, and keeping an eye on and assessing L&D projects to make continuous improvements.

  1. Promotions

Promotions are a terrific way to keep high performers who are willing to learn, grow, and progress within the company. They are also an important component of an efficient succession strategy. They are typically awarded based on seniority and/or merit, but they should also take into consideration projected future performance and not just be given based on present performance.

Establishing guidelines for promotions is one of HR’s duties, in keeping with hiring internally. HR implements policies that facilitate talent mobility inside the organization through internal promotions. This is important because it lowers hiring costs and turnover, helps to satisfy employee expectations, and boosts motivation and productivity.

  1. Groups that solve problems

Employee teams actively engaged in problem-solving throughout the organization are called quality circles or problem-solving groups. Volunteer groups are formed and scheduled to meet for a few hours once a week or twice a month to discuss issues related to quality and productivity. There is a unique kind of facilitator or leader for these gatherings.

One of HR’s responsibilities is to assist in the formation of these groups, guarantee the ideal team makeup, and provide support so that these teams may have a significant impact.

  1. Total quality management

The goal of total quality management (TQM) is to foster an environment within the company where employees are constantly able to improve their ability to deliver goods and services that consumers will find useful. Particularly in terms of personnel practices, HR is a co-owner of this process.

They can assist with using tools like process flowcharts. These help in defining roles and responsibilities within teams, employing data to identify existing process bottlenecks, suggesting enhancements, and assessing the effects of procedures.

In order to guarantee that workers are dedicated to total quality management, HR offers appropriate instruction, promotes self-assessment, cultivates a culture of appreciation and incentives, and establishes an open and honest work environment where workers feel comfortable discussing problems and potential solutions.

  1. Information exchange

Sharing important information with employees is one of HR’s roles and obligations. A monthly corporate newsletter, for instance, would be a good way to inform everyone about events, news, and changes. Additionally, HR is in charge of disseminating up-to-date information about work safety protocols, layoff notices, mergers, acquisitions, and any other significant event that affects employees.

Building and sustaining support and successfully implementing organizational change depend on fast, clear, and transparent information exchange.

Internal knowledge sharing is another important component of information exchange. HR may help with this by setting up areas for staff to gather and converse, promoting information sharing throughout the onboarding process, and holding regular meetings with subject matter experts to share knowledge.

  1. Organizational growth

Increasing an organization’s effectiveness and, consequently, its competitiveness is the main objective of organizational development.

Job analysis is one of the HRM activities with which many OD interventions overlap. Identifying the abilities, skills, expertise, and behaviors of the ideal candidate is the first step in selecting the right individual for any new job (or a position that becomes available). That’s what the job analysis does.

The process of designing and arranging job duties and responsibilities to improve output, worker happiness, and overall organizational efficiency is known as job design, and it is the second intervention that is frequently utilized. Every profession has to involve a range of duties and abilities. A job should also be important and provide some liberty to the person holding it.

Job rotation, job enlargement (offering the employee more duties), and job enrichment (providing the employee greater control over their work) are all connected to job design.

HR also contributes to other organizational development activities, such as talent and performance management strategies.

The entire organization will be impacted by macro-level interventions such as organizational design and change. Once more, the organizational effectiveness division, or OD, will offer crucial advice and create HR interventions that support the transition and create a more productive company.

  1. Survey administration

HR is also responsible for overseeing survey management. This entails developing questionnaires for employees to respond to, such as engagement and feedback surveys. This allows HR to better understand the state of the company, employee attitudes, and ways to boost productivity through enhanced personnel management.

Prior to surveys being sent and gathered into a central database, HR is also in charge of making sure all data points are in sync. This lessens survey fatigue and gives people professionals the ability to manage worker opinions and attitudes more precisely.

  1. Management of compliance

In human resources, compliance means making sure that a company complies with all applicable laws, rules, and internal guidelines in order to reduce legal risks and encourage moral behavior at work.

Compliance management also includes resolving disputes and grievance procedures. HR plays a critical part in this, taking difficult choices and finding quick solutions to problems. HR takes the lead in resolving issues related to known or suspected abuse, theft, misuse of business resources or time, and other unethical activity.

An additional component of compliance management is conflict resolution. One of HR’s main responsibilities is to identify disputes early on and provide effective solutions for them. Establishing predetermined procedures, communicating in writing, and, if at all feasible, using mediation to settle disputes amicably are all considered best practices.

  1. Collaborative business ventures

Business partnering is yet another crucial function of HR in a company. HR supports the company as a partner by offering tactical and strategic guidance.

A strategic mentality, comprehension of the internal and external business contexts, and the ability to serve as a dependable advisor to senior management and line managers are all necessary for being a successful business partner. HR managers put a lot of effort into cultivating cooperative relationships with stakeholders and presenting data to show how HR policies and practices are closely related to the objectives of the company.

  1. Management of data and analytics

As we move into a new era of work and technology continues to improve, one of the more modern HR roles is data management. HR is able to make decisions based on facts when they has the skills to read, comprehend, generate, and share data and information.

Working with measurements and KPIs, conducting data analysis (sometimes called people analytics), building dashboards, and turning these insights into concrete actions are all part of this function. HR is able to know what is and is not working properly by continuously monitoring important metrics. This allows HR to make improvements to procedures that ultimately help the organization succeed as a whole.

  1. Technology management for HR

HR technology management is the use of hardware and software to automate tedious human tasks, gather crucial data, and establish a single source of truth. Technology management—also referred to as digital HR—allows more effective HR procedures and an improved employee experience.

For instance, the company’s learning management system (LMS) and application tracking system (ATS) can now communicate. The LMS suggests courses for the new hire to take in order to help them perform better in their new role as soon as they start working there. This significantly increases the impact of HR.

  1. Handling of change

In the current globalized setting, corporations are constantly changing. In today’s environment, adapting to this rapid change and being ready for the future are essential for competitiveness. HR is frequently involved in change management tasks, such as organizing change agendas and timetables, offering advice on new work practices, supplying tools to inform workers about various changes, and developing organizational structures that support change.

The goal of change management is to motivate staff members to accept and participate in new procedures and work methods that will enable them to succeed in their positions.

This is especially interesting in terms of organizational culture change. It is more crucial than ever to create a desirable culture that helps the firm achieve its objectives. Once more, HR is essential in establishing the culture, empowering leaders to set a positive example, enhancing the culture through personnel policies like performance reviews, and highlighting and recognizing exceptional conduct.

HR’s evolving roles

HR jobs change along with the business environment. These are a few of the prominent new HR positions that you should know about.

  1. Work experience

According to 87% of experts in employee experience, providing a positive work environment aids in luring and keeping talent. Employee experience (EX) is becoming a corporate requirement. It refers to how workers feel about their experiences from the time they apply for a job until the time they leave. Their impression of the company and their time there is shaped by each encounter they have with the company during this period.

Similar to how a customer service or sales staff contributes to the customer experience, HR also plays a part in the employee experience. Creating an experience that meets their wants and expectations and demonstrates your concern for them is the ultimate goal.

For instance, making sure that job applicants are contacted by your recruitment team after applying for a position, following up with each of them whether or not they receive an offer, and giving new hires a welcoming onboarding experience that equips them with the resources and assistance they require to excel in their position.

An improved work environment fosters employee engagement and motivation. In turn, this helps workers perform at their peak and improves the company as a whole.

  1. DEIB

A company’s involvement, efficiency, and retention rates can all be increased, employer branding can be strengthened, bias awareness raised, and the talent pool can be expanded with the support of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. A growing number of workers, especially younger ones, are seeking employment with companies that clearly promote DEIB.

HR is frequently in charge of DEIB initiatives and activities. Some corporations, on the other hand, assign this duty to the CEO or other top executives, hire a special diversity officer, or organize an advisory council composed of staff members who volunteer (a typical practice in smaller businesses).

  1. Public Relations

The employee experience is becoming more and more visible in the public eye, therefore HR needs to be proactive in keeping an eye on employer brand perceptions and planning solutions for any PR crises that may arise. This may include situations such as when an employee shares something improper on social media.

Including real employee quotes on your careers page, showcasing creative HR initiatives on your website, and posting snippets of your corporate culture on social media all contribute to building your employer brand. In order to resonate with employees and prospects and foster a sense of connection across all media platforms, messaging needs to be consistent and in line with the organization’s basic values.

It is important to foster an environment in the workplace where workers feel free to voice their dissatisfaction or disagreement and find a solution together. HR regulations need to be clear, equitable, open to the public, and well-communicated. To prepare HR personnel for future crises and to proactively manage the company’s image, it is imperative that they receive PR training.

One last thing

Keep in mind that your HR jobs are interconnected. For instance, it can be challenging to select the best candidates if you underpay them or have a bad reputation as an employer. On the other hand, it’s challenging to advance someone inside your organization if they don’t have the necessary knowledge or abilities.

These high-performing HR positions and duties, when properly handled, will raise corporate performance, improve employee motivation, engagement, and productivity. The goal of effective human resource management is to use engaged workers to create value for the firm.

Have a quick question? We answered nearly 2000 FAQs.

See all blogs: Business | Corporate | Employment Law

Most recent blogs:

HR Career Pathway

HR Career Pathway

Discover how to shape your HR career pathway effectively, utilizing insights on skills, gaps, and tools available for your professional growth. Learn strategies for navigating various HR career routes to enhance your development and impact.
Certifications For HR

Certifications For HR

Explore nine HR certifications to enhance your career prospects and demonstrate your knowledge of best HR practices. Discover how certifications can increase your earning potential and make you more competitive in the HR field.
HR Roles

HR Roles: Key duties and responsibilities in today’s workplace

Explore how HR roles have evolved from basic administrative functions to strategic tasks that enhance organizational performance and employee engagement. Learn about the crucial roles in HR that drive company success and adapt to technological and workplace changes.
Succession Planning

Succession Planning: Why is it essential for your business

Understand why effective succession planning is crucial for organizational continuity and competitiveness, and how a lack of planning can impact businesses. Discover how structured succession plans can benefit organizations by preparing future leaders and ensuring role continuity.
Combined Assurance

Combined Assurance: Enhancing internal auditing practices

Combined assurance enhances internal auditing by fostering collaboration across departments, improving efficiency, and reducing overlap. It boosts risk mitigation and confidence in governance, crucial for organizational success.
How To Start LLC

How To Start LLC

Navigate the process of creating an LLC in California, from naming your entity to fulfilling state tax obligations. Highlighting key steps including selecting a registered agent and drafting an operating agreement.
What is an S corporation

What is an S Corporation

Explore the benefits and considerations of electing S corporation status for your business, focusing on tax advantages and eligibility criteria. Determine if an S Corp is the right choice for you with insights on structure and taxation.
Sole proprietor vs S Corp

Sole Proprietor vs S Corp

Compare Sole Proprietorship and S Corp to find the best fit for your small business. Understand the advantages and challenges of each to make an informed decision.
What Is Recruiting- Definition, Process, and Types

What is recruiting? Definition, process, and types

Explore the intricate world of recruiting, from sourcing to hiring, and learn about its vital role in aligning candidates with a company's culture and needs. Understand the process, types, and the significance of recruiting in building a successful team.

How to Start a Corporation

How to form a corporation in 12 steps. This guide simplifies the process of starting a corporation in California, highlighting the benefits such as legal protection and tax savings for business owners. It covers key steps like selecting a business name, filing legal documents, and appointing directors.

How to transfer LLC ownership?

Two common ways to transfer LLC ownership are to conduct a partial sale to a third party or sell your entire LLC to a third party.

Why Do Companies Incorporate in Delaware?

The State of Delaware offers companies lenient tax benefits and liability protection. Also, companies that incorporate in Delaware do not have to do business in the state.

Inc vs. LLC

Incs. is short for incorporated, and LLC is short for Limited Liability Company. For Inc., where the owner elected to be an S corporation, the profit and loss are passed to its shareholders, whereas income and loss in an LLC flow through to the members.

What is an LLC and how does it work

An LLC is a business entity that protects the owners with limited liability protection. An LLC also offers pass-through taxation, which means the company’s profits and losses pass through to the owner’s personal tax level.

What Is a Disregarded Entity?

A “disregarded entity” refers to an entity with one owner and not organized as an entity such as a corporation, LLC, or partnership. For federal tax purposes, the disregarded entity and the owner, who is a natural person, are not treated separate.

5 Easy Steps: How to Dissolve a Corporation in California

When a business owner wishes to close, or dissolve, their business, he or she must file a certificate of dissolution with the Secretary of State. This certificate of dissolution lets the Secretary of State know that the business owner is terminating his or her California corporation, effectively closing it for good. Dissolution is a process that involves a number of steps.

15 Steps: Starting an Inc in California

For the business owner, there are many benefits to creating a corporation in California. Assuming it is properly run, a corporation has the ability to shield its shareholders from debts and liabilities on the business side of matters.

11 Steps on How to Start a Corporation

A corporation is a separate legal entity which can protect its owners from business liabilities and risks. There are many benefits to starting a corporation. A business owner can save money on taxes, protect his or her own assets, attract the interest of investors, or simply enhance one’s credibility among consumers and vendors.

5 Benefits: What Does it Mean to Incorporate a Business

For background, in order to incorporate a business, a founder must file paperwork with the state in which their business is located. There can either be a single shareholder or multiple involved in the incorporation process. Importantly, an incorporated business is legally a separate entity from its shareholders.

10 Must Know: Corporation vs. Incorporation

Inc. and Corp. are abbreviations that mean the same thing. Inc. means incorporated, while Corp. means corporation. When a corporation chooses its name, it can decide between adding either one of these suffixes to its name.

7 Differences Between Inc and Corp

Inc. is the abbreviation for incorporation, while Corp. is the abbreviation for corporation. Both of these abbreviations are used by entities that have been incorporated.

13 Steps Incorporation Process

Incorporation is the process a business owner must follow to turn his or her company into a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC). Incorporating a business turns it into its own legal entity with similar rights and duties as a person.

How to form a corporation in California.

Forming a corporation in California requires you to file an Article of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. However, there are other things you must do to comply with corporate law when forming a corporation in California.

Contact our attorney.

Please tell us your story:

1 + 0 = ?