Functional Areas of Human Resources Management
The human resource management field encompasses five functional areas. Some companies hire specialists who work only in one particular area under the guidance of a director of manager, while others utilize HR professionals who work as generalists. People who have generalist roles perform tasks across several -- or even all -- of the different functional areas.
Staffing involves determining personnel needs, recruiting candidates and screening applicants. Duties may include creating job postings, determining where to advertise open positions, tracking applicant flow data, conducting interviews, and administering and interpreting skill assessments. In some cases, HR personnel make final decisions about which applicant to hire, while in others they narrow down the field to qualified applicants so that supervisors can make the final selection.
HR professionals who work in staffing must be knowledgeable about equal employment opportunity requirements so they can ensure that the company’s recruitment process is free from all forms of discrimination.
The total rewards area of human resource management is sometimes referred to as compensation and benefits. This aspect of the field focuses on both direct compensation, which refers to wages and bonuses paid to employees, and indirect compensation, which refers to benefits made available to members of the workforce.
Payroll processing falls under this function, as does benefits administration. It involves making sure that employees are paid in a manner that is compliant with the Fair Labor Standards Act, that payroll taxes are withheld and filed properly, and that benefits enrollment procedures are handled properly.
The employee development aspect of human resource management is sometimes referred to as the training or workforce development function. It involves identifying areas where skill development is needed, either in terms of specific skills or knowledge that a particular individual needs to master or organization-wide training needs.
Training needs may be soft skills, like customer service, communication and leadership development, as well as technical skills such as computer skills and equipment operation capabilities. In some cases, HR professionals responsible for employee development provide instruction themselves, while in others they bring in trainers, send employees out to classes or source online or computer-based training programs that can be used.
The employee relations function of human resource management is focused on maintaining positive relations between the organization and members of its workforce. Duties that typically fall under the scope of this function involve morale management, rewards and recognition programs, performance appraisal procedures, verifying compliance with policies and procedures, complaint investigation and labor relations. Employee relations professionals typically work closely with members of the management team, lending support and assistance as needed.
Every company must provide a safe working environment for employees. The safety function ensures that the organization is compliant with Occupational Safety and Health Act requirements, as well as any other important safety-related tasks. It includes important functions like developing and enforcing safety policies and procedures, conducting safety audits, overseeing safety meetings and training, dealing with occupational injuries and illnesses, and handling accident reporting requirements.