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What is the exact function and role of an HR department? October 6, 2011

Posted by Darwin in applicant tracking, Applicant Tracking System, EEOC, HR Tips, human resources.

What exactly does your Human Resources Department do? This is a difficult question to answer, even for the owner of the company. Human Resources is one area that tends to evolve on its own, and everyone in that department is responsible for their own individual piece of that evolution. Some are employee oriented and work on programs and solutions that help the worker. Others are numbers crunchers, those who recommend cut-backs on personnel when it appears that a company might be on the verge of taking a loss. In some companies the terminations would be the responsibility of HR, or they could be a task reserved for management or ownership.

Regardless of the unique make-up of individual human resource departments, all of them have a few things in common. They are all responsible for recruiting and hiring and each needs to have their own applicant tracking system. That could be automated recruitment tracking software or manila file folders. If you’re still using the latter you might want to upgrade. Paper filing systems are not only obsolete – they’re inefficient. Once a folder is filed in the wrong spot it’s more often than not never discovered. Quality job applicants fall through the cracks like that all the time.

Most human resource departments also need to keep track of current regulations and required hiring quotas. There are compliance issues when it comes to hiring and employment. Foremost among these are EEOC and OFCCP, the federal guidelines that demand equal opportunity employment and enforce affirmative action. If you’re modernizing and installing a new job applicant tracking system, you might want to look into web based recruiting software that downloads regular updates in these areas when the laws change. Like paper filing systems, keeping track of these things without automation is an obsolete and dangerous practice.

Human Resource departments are also typically responsible for benefits administration. There are statutes in place on federal, state, and county levels that mandate these benefits in certain areas. Health care is one of the big ones, and perhaps the most publicized in the past few years, but there are others. Regulations and liability issues on retirement funds, direct deposit, and stock awards can get pretty complex. It’s up to the HR department to translate all those wordy rules and explain them to the average employee. Some companies even keep a lawyer or paralegal in HR specifically for that purpose. The legal presence is not a requirement, but it does help.

What else do human resources departments do? When new companies open and start to build, they put a lot of responsibility in the hands of human resources. As time goes by, those responsibilities are sometimes removed and passed on to other departments, but more often than not they stay with HR, making it one of the more complex and important departments in your company. Do you know what they do? If you’re a business owner or site manager and you don’t know, you might want to go down there and find out. That knowledge might come in handy at some point.



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