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Which HR function is most important?

Personnel management, or HR management, is an independent branch within the company. Same as marketing, finance, production, or sales. Managers and specialists interact with the HR department when they need to solve personnel-related tasks. For example, find a new employee or train a team. 

So, what can you expect and required from HR professionals? What is the main HR function? Is the HR profession using hiring tools for hiring people? Or is HR responsible for diversity job boards for employers

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, read this article. For those who are planning a career in HR, the text will help to understand the variety of HR specialties.

Functions of personnel management: what do HR specialists do in the company.

To understand the HR functions, it is worth looking at the employee’s journey in the company. This path has six stages, and they will correspond to the six main HR functions.

  • When a prospective employee is looking for a job, this stage corresponds to the recruitment HR function.
  • Then it is formalized – the function of personnel administration is connected.
  • After that, the new employee needs to adapt and get to work – this is a function of staff adaptation.
  • The employee begins to be paid a salary – this is the HR function “compensations and benefits”, also known as C & B – Compensations and Benefits.
  • If a company trains an employee, then this is the HR function “training and development”.
  • After some time, the work of the employee will be evaluated. He can be transferred to new positions or promoted – this is the “assessment and development” function.


The meaning of this function is to find and hire employees who will close the tasks of the company.

The recruiter must know where to look for suitable candidates, must determine their strengths and weaknesses. He calls and writes to applicants, conducts interviews with them, arranges meetings with the hiring manager and, if necessary, with the team. Sometimes applicants take tests to test knowledge and skills.

This function also includes analysis of the labor market: you need to understand the salary expectations of candidates and what competencies they have.

HR administration.

This is the preparation and maintenance of personnel documents. The main part of personnel documents is mandatory. The law establish the requirements for them. They may be requested by regulatory authorities, such as the state labor inspectorate. An example of mandatory documents is employment contracts with employees.

The company develops other documents for itself. For example, job descriptions. Optional documents can also be useful in legal proceedings – during inspections or in court.

Compensation & Benefits.

This feature is related to employee income. Here’s what C&B commands do:

  • Maintain a database of salaries and compensation.
  • Prepare a budget for planned staff costs.
  • Analyze the labor market and wages in the industry. The goal is to find salaries that are attractive to employees, but the company does not overpay.
  • Manage the system of increasing income, bonuses, and bonuses. Income may depend on the length of service in the company, KPI, position, rank, category and many other factors.
  • Administers VHI programs.
  • Participate in projects on the non-material motivation of employees. Intangible motivation is the encouragement of employees without direct cash payments. There are many tools – from free lunches to gamification.

Training & Development, Learning & Development.

As the name suggests, this is employee training. Employees are taught what the company needs from them. For example, a sales manager must know everything about a product and its benefits.

What do the people in charge of this function do:

  • Prepare training plans and curricula. Most often – together with expert teachers.
  • Develop teaching materials.
  • If you need external training providers, find them, hire them and organize training with their help. External performers can be lecturers or industry training centers.
  • If there is a distance learning system, then they prepare content for it, upload it, and assign tests to employees.
  • Summing up, evaluating the effectiveness of training and reporting this to the company’s management.

Assessment and development.

If the recruitment is the search for professionals in the labor market, then “assessment and development” is the “cultivation” of professionals within the company.

A few examples of what experts in this area are doing:

  • Prepare and supervise individual development plans for employees. Such documents describe the professional goals of employees and the actions by which you can achieve them.
  • Evaluate employees. There are many types of research in HR practice – psychological tests, competency analysis, and performance evaluation. With the help of research, you can understand, for example, whether an employee fits the position and whether it is worth promoting him to the head.
  • Create an internal personnel reserve. These are candidates already working in the company who can replace employees who have left or gone to another position. The personnel reserve may include candidates for promotion.

HR branding.

This is work on the image of the company as an attractive employer. HR branding is a function that integrates marketing and HR. To develop an HR brand, the HR department often involves marketing departments.

Here is what is often done to build an employer brand:

  • They develop EVP – Employee Value Proposition, the value proposition of the employer. EVP describes the main reasons why professionals will want to come to the company and stay in it for a long time.
  • Conducting research. They evaluate the satisfaction of the company’s employees, brand recognition of the employer, differences from competitors, and the needs of the target audience. Target audience is understood as specialists who need to be attracted and retained.
  • They talk on social networks and blogs about important events for the company and about the people who work in it.
  • Launching corporate websites for company employees.
  • Adapt other tools that marketers use to develop a brand.


  • Personnel management, or HR management, is the center of expertise in working with employees. But people are still managed by managers, not HR specialists.
  • HR has six main functions: “recruitment”, “adaptation”, “personnel administration”, “compensation and benefits”, “training and development”, “assessment and development”.
  • The structure of the HR service depends on the size and specifics of the company. Large companies have departments for each direction, and small businesses can get by with one HR manager. They often outsource some functions.
  • HR goals depend on the stage of development of the organization. As a company grows, HR departments become more complex and take on more and more functions.
  • The metrics HR management evaluates depend on the company’s focus and HR strategy. Common metrics are staff turnover, cost of closing a vacancy, and staffing percentage.

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