Functions & Practices of Human Resource Management

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Human resource management refers to the management of human capital–employees who contribute to the achievement of business goals. Several human resource functions and practices help managers attract and retain employees, operate within the boundaries of state and federal laws, and plan for future organizational needs. Some companies have a dedicated human resources department, while other companies rely on one person to carry out these responsibilities.

Compensation Management

The compensation function helps balance the budgetary needs of an organization with the need to use competitive compensation to attract and retain employees. Compensation analysts and managers develop job descriptions, set compensation levels for hourly and salaried positions, communicate with employees regarding compensation issues and determine how much it will cost to compensate employees.

Benefits Administration

Some companies offer health insurance, life insurance, disability coverage, tuition reimbursement, flexible spending accounts and other benefits in order to attract and keep employees. Benefits professionals prepare for the open benefits enrollment period, select benefit providers, pay monthly benefit premiums, answer employee questions related to benefits, conduct presentations to educate employees about benefits, maintain employee benefits files and comply with state and federal laws related to benefits administration.

Recruitment and Selection

The recruitment and selection function ensures that organizations have qualified employees. The hiring process starts when a manager identifies an open position within the organization. The recruiter places a job advertisement that lists the duties and qualifications of the position, screens applications as they arrive and selects candidates to interview. Recruitment professionals also administer pre-employment tests, conduct background checks and make employment offers to selected candidates.


Training helps employees learn new information, reinforce existing knowledge and learn additional skills. The training department coordinates new employee orientation, which helps new hires grow accustomed to the policies and practices of the company. Existing employees also benefit from the training function in the form of seminars, workshops and presentations designed to reinforce existing skills and teach new skills. Training professionals carry out the tasks necessary to design and deliver these training programs.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning allows human resources professionals to align department activities with the overall goals of the organization. This function involves activities that contribute to the growth of a business. Compensation professionals participate in strategic planning by analyzing existing compensation plans, forecasting trends in compensation and determining how changes in the compensation field will affect the organization. Recruitment professionals participate in succession planning, which refers to the process of identifying employment openings and carrying out activities designed to fill those openings. Training professionals participate in strategic planning by offering training programs that prepare employees to fill future staffing needs.

Legal Compliance

Human resources professionals must abide by state and federal employment laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, Family Medical Leave Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, National Labor Relations Act and Fair Labor Standards Act. HR professionals who engage in this function maintain legal files and ensure that company decisions comply with applicable laws. This reduces the risk of lawsuits based on a lack of compliance with employment and labor laws.

Performance Management

The performance management function helps employees and managers improve the effectiveness of an organization. This involves setting work expectations, monitoring employee performance, helping employees improve their performance, appraising performance and rewarding good performance. Performance management professionals develop performance appraisal tools and conduct employee performance reviews.

2016 Salary Information for Human Resources Managers

Human resources managers earned a median annual salary of $106,910 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, human resources managers earned a 25th percentile salary of $80,800, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $145,220, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 136,100 people were employed in the U.S. as human resources managers.



About the Author

Leigh Ann Morgan began working as a writer in 2004. She has extensive experience in the business field having served as the manager of a $34 million rental property portfolio. Morgan also appeared as a guest on an episode of National Public Radio's "Marketplace Money" in 2005.

Photo Credits

  • business colleagues image by Vladimir Melnik from