7 HR Functions And 5 Must Have Skills

HR functions serve as a link between employees and employers. They touch every aspect of an organization since it would be impossible for an organization to exist without the people who work within it.




    Firstly, the human resource team factors what work to do and how to break down tasks concerning different jobs. It is typically best to start with a workflow analysis to determine the business processes that require attention.


    The HR team does a job analysis to figure out how to construct jobs that can help businesses fill the gaps in the company processes. For example, suppose the task is to do inventory management. In that case, HR must figure out the main and sub-tasks to complete the action of inventory management and put these tasks under suitable job titles.


    Recruitment and selection is also a significant function carried out by HR. HR needs to advertise and publish these jobs to receive suitable applicants and interview the right applicants.
    They have to ensure the applicants have the skills and aptitude for the job to be performed well. HR also considers who would be a good fit for the organization.


    Upon hiring, the following HR function is to do the onboarding and orientation. During this function, HR ensures the smooth integration of the recruits into the team. HR makes sure that the newbies fit into the organization and understand what their tasks are.

    Compensation, training, performance management, hiring, recruitment, job analysis


    Performance management is a crucial HR function. Here, HR evaluates and assesses how much the employees e towards the organization. HR give employees direction and motivation and ensure that they are always upskilling themselves to stay relevant to the job.


    Training and development is another aspect of HR. Employees are constantly training and learning. The training can be formal- classroom-type training or informal- on-the-job training.


    Compensation and rewards are essential HR functions. HR is not just limited to salaries, rewards and benefits. While some of it is a function, such as ensuring every employee receives their paycheck on time. But it is more complex than that. It’s unfair to think HR only deals with monetary benefits. They also look into rewards and recognition programs.



    Communication is essential in human resource management, as HR links the employee and the business. On the one hand, HR is a people’s advocate, while on the other, they represent the business itself. They require excellent communication skills. As an HR, you need to learn to communicate formally and informally and in various ways, for example, verbal, written as well as in-person and offline.
    Three communication skills every HR should work on:
    a)Clear writing: this will help avoid any miscommunication. It is beneficial when dealing with topics that highly impact the employees, such as employment contracts, company policies, etc.
    b) Critical listening: being a people’s advocate means understanding the employee’s perspective and assisting them in overcoming challenges at work.
    c) Conflict resolution: as an HR, you need to be able to handle an uncomfortable situation with sensitivity. These situations include grievances, exit interviews, and salary negotiations.


    HR professionals should understand the technology and actively integrate them into their organization. IT enables HR and the company to run more efficiently—for instance, human resource information systems (HRIS). Information on hiring, performance evaluations, payroll, rewards and benefits etc., are registered in an HRIS. Furthermore, HR professionals need to understand how to navigate these tools and interpret data within these tools.
    There are other tools and systems that HR can leverage, from social media, such as LinkedIn, to ATS. Therefore HR professionals need to be digitally savvy to keep up with the latest developments and understand how to use these to their advantage.


    The work of HR is highly data-driven these days. Most HR generalists are required to be analytically driven. That said, it doesn’t mean HR needs to be a data scientist. However, you should be able to read, apply, create and transform data into valuable information to influence decision-making processes.
    For example, to understand HR metrics. This includes recruitment, engagement and retention, and employee value. Knowledge of data processing tools such as excel or google spreadsheet is an advantage. It is essential to use metrics, KPIs and scorecards or dashboards that let you take an evidence-based approach and help you make better decisions.



    One of the critical HR skills is advising various stakeholders. You need to be able to inform employees, line managers, and senior managers on personnel issues.
    Here are a few examples of the issues you may come across:
    a) operations problems: for instance, preparing a reintegration plan for the staff or assisting a senior manager in formulating a memo for a department.
    b) tactical issues, such as organization and advising in restructuring advice.
    c)Strategic advice that involves aligning HR policies with business strategies.
    To add value to your business, HR needs to understand the business. This is where business acumen comes into play. HR professionals must understand the company, its customers, and its shareholders. It will help better understand the problems the line managers and the executives are trying to solve. Furthermore, it allows you to position your business to win in the marketplace.


    This HR skill depends on the specifics of the larger organizations. When you are in touch with managers and employees in different countries, you must be aware of the intercultural differences.
    For example, practices for managing and retaining people can differ tremendously between cultures. In the middle east, it’s common to get a promotion every year, while in the west, this happens on an average of 3-5 years.
    Be aware also of the communication differences. For instance, in some countries, such as Germany, direct communication is the norm. In contrast, others, such as India, prefer more indirect communication. Using the wrong communication may result in your message not being perceived as offensive.
    Another aspect of communication you should pay attention to is using inclusive language. Your language to communicate with your employees can directly impact how respected and valued they feel. Therefore using inclusive language is a critical step in creating a more inclusive workplace. Several methods facilitate inclusivity, such as offering training and education and creating bias-free language guidelines.

Related readings:

Professional Leadership Institute (PLI) is an educational website providing professionals from all types of businesses with practical education in human resources and leadership. To keep evolving your leadership toolkit, additional PLI resources below will be useful:

Performance Management
Learning and Development and the ADDIE Model
How to Improve Your Company’s Onboarding Process
5 Ways to use Core Values in Onboarding

Recommended Resources:

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