The Role of the Human Resource Department.


At the end of the topic the trainees should be able to: –

  1. Explain the role of the HR department.
  2. Design an organizational structure for the HRM departments.
  3. Develop job descriptions for the positions in the HR function.
  4. Design a career development profile for a HR practitioner

The HR Department

The overall purpose of HRM is to ensure that the organisation is able to achieve success through people.  Specifically it aims to: –

  • Provide a range of services to supp
  • ort achievement of corporate goals
  • Enable the organisation to obtain and retain skilled, committed and well-motivated workforce.
  • Enhance and develop inherent capacities of people-through learning and continuous development opportunities.
  • Create a climate in which a good relationship between management and employees can be maintained.
  • Develop an environment in which teamwork and flexibility can flourish.
  • Help the organisation to balance and adapt to the needs of its stakeholders (owners, management, employees, customers, suppliers, general public)
  • Ensure people are valued and regarded for all they do.
  • Manage a diverse workforce taking into account individual and group differences in employment needs, work styles and aspirations.
  • Ensure that equal opportunities are available to all.
  • Adopt an ethical approach to managing employees, which is based on concern for people, fairness and transparency.
  • Maintain and improve the physical and mental well being of employees.

– HRM is a series of decisions about the employment relationship that influence the effectiveness of employees and organisations.  HR decisions affect organisations efficiency by employing the workforce in the most efficient manner.

– HRM is that part of management dealing directly with people.  It involves the productive use of people in achieving the organisations strategic business objectives and the satisfaction of individual employee needs.


  1. Develop HR strategy
  2. Develop policy
  3. Hr and business planning
  4. Negotiate with Unions
  5. Manage compensation systems arrangements
  6. Design performance management systems
  7. Help managers to manage their own staff
  8. Design and conduct training
  9. Recruit and select staff
  10. Work on project teams
  11. Evaluate HR programmes
  12. Monitor HR benefits and costs
  13. Report on HR indicators
  14. Implement change programmes
  15. Deal with legal issues – harassment, discrimination
  16. Promote a safe work place
  17. Advise on management development
  18. Conduct job analysis and write job descriptions
  19. Advise on industrial relations
  20. Communication sessions for staff

The following are the major functions of the human resources department.

“For companies striving to meet the competitive challenges of today and tomorrow – including globalisation, technology, customer demands, profitability through growth, and capacity for change – the management of human resources holds the key to future success”
  • Overall role. Today, businesses find themselves under great pressure to change as they face up to global competition and rapidly advancing technology. HR functions are being asked to contribute to strategy, to champion change and to make sure that they are delivering their operational processes as efficiently and effectively as possible. The priorities facing HR functions are reducing costs of service delivery and improving service levels and perceived value added.


  • Strategic partner. HRM has evolved over the years to become more strategic and help shape the organisation. HR professionals who want to be considered strategic business partners by top management must demonstrate additional competences: a broad knowledge of the business, the ability to manage change, and the capacity to deliver excellent personal services. Organisations recognise the critical importance that human capital means for competitiveness, and ultimately survival in the modern era. This recognition has meant human resources management has become integral to strategic decision-making at the highest level in many leading organisations.  The management of strategic HR involves partnerships with line managers to help them accomplish their goals and the alignment of HR systems and practices with the organization’s mission and strategy
  • As popular as has been the desire to move to a new strategic orientation, there has also been an equally strong move to a more consultative way of working. Of all the role changes for HR, this has been one of the most marked. The move itself stems from the growing emphasis on meeting the needs of the customer, and the devolution of responsibility to the line. HR could no longer hope to tell the organisation what it could do, but had to find more influential ways of working with the line to promote best practice. The roles of consultant and strategist do not necessarily sit very comfortably together, as many of the line issues can be short term in focus. For HR to safeguard its strategic direction, there needs to be senior level debate and the freedom to operate corporately as well as at departmental support level.
  • Business leader: Profitability Through Cost and Growth Revenue growth is a key component of the profitability equation. The main paths to growth include through leveraging customers, leveraging core competencies and mergers, acquisitions or joint ventures. Each of these has HR implications and requires co-operation between management and HR professionals to design and deliver new organisational practices.
  • As more leadership and entrepreneurial action is demanded of all employees, the more HR must play an enabling role rather than a controlling one.
  • Service: the mundane tasks of writing copy for advertisements, organizing training courses, personnel records, operating wages systems, looking after the firm’s health and safety arrangements all are collectively found under the service function.
  • Advisory: the department offers expert advice on human resource issues, policies and procedures e.g. Employee retirement, promotion, how a grievance procedure operates, interpretation of contracts, health and safety regulations etc.
  • Control: this function comprises; analysis of key operational indices –labour turnover, wage costs, absenteeism etc, monitoring labour performance through appraisals and recommending appropriate remedial action to line managers.
  • This can be seen in the management of change.  The HR department must help the organization manage change effectively. It must also serve as a  “change agent”


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