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What are the Main Functions of an HR Department?

Want to be an integral part of the success of an organization? Working in the HR department allows you to help hire the right employees and nurture those employees with training and benefits to maximize their output.

So, how do you find an opportunity to work in a human resources department? An easy way to obtain an entry-level position as an HR Assistant or possibly an HR Clerk is to attend a vocational school’s HR management program. The more you know about how HR department’s function, the easier it will be for you to land your dream job.

What Are The Main Functions of an HR Department?

Human Resources (HR) Managers have a great deal of responsibility. They’re at the heart of the organization, making sure each department has enough trained employees available on any given day, keeping tabs on worker development and morale, overseeing payroll, and tracking employee benefits. So, what are some of the main functions of an HR department?


The recruitment of new employees is a vital function in the HR department. There’s more to the job than just posting job listings and hoping the right people fill out applications. To be a successful recruiter, you’ll need to understand the level of talent required for each position, articulate job descriptions in an engaging manner, possess strong computer and communication skills, and most importantly recognize a strong candidate when you see one.


In addition to vetting job applications, you may be responsible for conducting assessment tests or employee interviews. Alerting candidates to job offers (or letting them down easily) is another common task for HR assistants. Until you reach the management level, it probably won’t be your responsibility to select the candidates for each position. However, the tasks you do perform should groom you for this eventuality.


The onboarding process doesn’t end once the candidate has filled out their tax forms and punched the time clock for the first time. Training is another essential element, and one in which the HR department should take a strong interest. To run successfully, a business needs skilled workers. During training you’ll teach new hires the skills they need to succeed in their jobs. In fact, it’s a good idea to have training programs in place for existing employees as well.

Performance Management

Employees need incentives as well as regular feedback to stay engaged and focused. When you set clear goals and lead by example, you can ensure that your workers will continue to perform at a high level. Annual reviews are a critical performance management tool. While managers can provide employees with feedback, it’s a good idea to have team members put in their two cents as well. This will give your HR department a better idea of how much the employee is giving back to the company.

Career Planning

You can take things a step further by guiding employees along their chosen career path. What do they hope to get out of their tenure with the company, and how can the company benefit in return? When you implement a career guidance program, you can cut down on employee turnover rates and improve the company’s bottom line.


One of the lesser talked about roles of the HR department involves function evaluations. The goal of a function evaluation is to reward similar jobs in an equivalent fashion. By tracking employee availability, scheduling, location, and the overall quality of work they provide, you should gain a better understanding of how much each employee is worth.


All workers deserve to be paid for their efforts, but top companies should go a step further. Learning opportunities such as on-site seminars, regular promotions, recognition, and occasional bonuses will encourage your employees to give 110 percent while they’re on the clock.


Many HR managers are responsible for handling the company’s payroll. This may involve some or all of the following duties:

  • Calculating hours worked
  • Processing new hire and termination paperwork
  • Tracking changes in salaries and hourly rates
  • Preparing manual checks (if applicable)
  • Keeping track of current state, federal, and municipal minimum wage laws
  • Reconciling any payroll disputes
  • Processing payroll by weekly or biweekly deadline
  • Ensuring compliance with federal law and union practices

General Ledger Reports – records used to store, organize, and summarize transactions. If payroll administration is one of your tasks, you may find yourself relying on general ledger reports when entering the payroll data into the company’s database.

Accounts Receivable – refers to the money that’s owed to the company for goods or services rendered. When an employee receives a perk that needs to be repaid, such as a company loan or health insurance premium, the amount that’s owed to the company will fall under the accounts receivable umbrella.

Accounts Payable – similar to accounts receivable, except that instead of money owed to the company, it’s money that the company owes to another party. Most businesses will receive goods or services on credit, meaning they’ll need to repay the vendor or individual within a prescribed time frame.

Benefits Administration

Salaries, incentives, and production bonuses can all be considered employee benefits. However, those are just the basics. As the member of an HR department, you should be familiar with the rules regarding any other benefits that the company offers. In some cases, you might even provide feedback on which benefits should be offered to which employees, how long the standard waiting period should be, and other practical considerations.

Insurance – Most large corporations are legally required to offer health insurance to their full-time employees. The waiting period may vary depending on location, but workers are usually eligible after 30 to 60 days of full-time employment.

It’s up to the company to decide whether to pay the entire premium for full-time workers or charge them for a portion. The amount owed can be deducted from the employee’s paycheck, which is another task for which you’ll probably be responsible. The company should also offer coverage for employees’ spouses or dependents. Most of the time, the worker will be charged for most of the monthly premium for dependents, even if the company is willing to pay for their individual coverage.

Dental, vision, and life insurance may also be offered. Again, all members of the HR department will need to know how long a person must work for the company before these benefits become available to them, as well as any information about cost.

Vacation, Sick Leave, and Personal Time – how much vacation time does the company offer to new hires (if any)? What about after an individual has been with the business for two, five, ten, or twenty years? These are all questions that candidates are likely to ask, and you’ll need to be familiar with the answers.

Sick days and personal time are often accrued based on the number of hours an individual has worked. However, some businesses may choose to front-load any personal time or sick leave. That is, offer a set number of hours at the start of the year or beginning on the anniversary of the employee’s date of hire. Whatever the company policies are regarding paid time off, all members of the HR department should be aware of them.

Flexible Work Schedules – more companies are making the shift to a remote-hybrid work model. Whether you allow employees to work from home 100% of the time or just one day per week, this strategy can boost morale and production while keeping the company’s costs lower.

How Do You Become an HR Assistant, Clerk, or Generalist?

An easier way to land a job as an HR assistant or other entry-level HR professional is to take a vocational school course in human resources management. In addition to obtaining the knowledge and tools you’ll need for the job; this course will familiarize you with an HR department’s functions on every level. While everyone must start somewhere, you’ll already be one step ahead of applicants who are guided solely by on-the-job training.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know more about the main functions of an HR department, you’re ready to take the next step in your exciting new career, and Interactive College of Technology will be with you every step of the way.

Want to Learn More?

At the Interactive College of Technology, we offer Human Resources Management training that can help you get started in a new career or advance your current one. You’ll get hands-on training, industry recognized certifications, and real-world experience prior to graduation! We also offer continuing education courses to refresh and build on your current skills.

Let’s take the first step together! Contact us now to learn more.

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