Human Resource Management Function and Role

What is Human Resource Management?

Human resource (HR) management is an important function of organisational planning. Key tasks, within this discipline, include the recruitment and management of workers. Therefore, the HR discipline often provides direction for employee performance in an organisation. Heathfield (2014) supports the above assertion by saying that “HRM is the organisational function that manages people issues, such as compensation, hiring, performance management, organisational development, safety, wellness, benefits, employee motivation, communication, administration, and training.” (p. 2). Based on this statement, correctly, one could say that HR is a strategic organisational function that manages the workplace culture and environment.

Effective HR practices help workers to contribute to organisational processes. Similarly, they help companies to meet their strategic goals through increased employee output. HR trends show that the practice is moving away from conventional human resource management issues, such as administration and transactional roles, to newer HR functions, such as value-added services (Kosnik, Wong-MingJi, & Hoover, 2006). These new practices focus on devising new measures for influencing business practices in measurable ways. Based on the above dynamics, current HR practices strive to provide direction for companies by formulating new human resource metrics for measuring and improving organisational performance.

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What is the Primary Function of Human Resource Management?

DeCenzo, Robbins, & Verhulst (2012) say that human resource management is a broad discipline that focuses on planning, developing, and administering policies for improving employee performance. Broadly, it is a strategic management function, which focuses on the working practices of an organisation (DeCenzo et al., 2012). Within this continuum of analysis, this section of the paper shows that HR has only five main functions.

Recruitment: DeCenzo et al. (2012) say a basic function of HRM is attracting and retaining skilled workers. Some of its processes include “developing a job description, interviewing potential candidates, and negotiating salaries” (DeCenzo et al., 2012, p. 4). Organisations that appreciate their employees always make sure they have an effective recruitment function. The main motivation for doing so is to appreciate the role of employees in improving a company’s profile. Indeed, as Theriou & Chatzoglou (2014) say, a vibrant recruitment function would easily help to improve an organisation’s profitability and performance.

Training: Although organisations attract skilled and competent employees, the human resource department should train recruits to help them fit into their new jobs. This role is vital to a company’s operations because different companies have different working procedures, which employees need to learn.

Professional Development: Professional development roles closely related to the training function of HR departments. However, there is a difference in the focus of HR roles. While training focuses on organisational goals, professional development focuses on individual needs. In other words, a key function of HR is to provide its employees with opportunities for growth. This process may include providing education and career growth opportunities (DeCenzo et al., 2012).

Benefits and Compensation: Traditional human resource functions mainly focused on varying employee pay to motivate workers. However, current human resource functions include unconventional practices, such as providing flexible working hours, providing paternity leave for employees, and telecommunicating (among other privileges), as new benefits and compensation components for motivating workers. However, balancing these benefits across a group of diverse employees require skilled human resource managers because they must address everyone’s needs.

Legal Compliance: Different countries have different sets of legal requirements for their employees. Mainly, they include tax and labour laws. The HR department should make sure an organisation complies with these legal requirements. Nonetheless, DeCenzo et al. (2012) believe this is the least glamorous human resource function.

What is the Role of Human Resource Management in a Company’s Strategic Plan?

As mentioned in this paper, human resource management is an important part of a company’s strategic plan. It helps to nurture productive employees who, in turn, help companies to achieve their goals. Specifically, human resource is an important function for service-oriented companies because employees nurture relationships between customers and organisations. Manufacturing companies also see human resource management as part of their strategic plans because they can only produce quality products when they have a vibrant human resource department (that provides them with skilled employees) (Theriou & Chatzoglou, 2014). Organisations that have a democratic leadership style also see the human resource function as a key component of its strategic management process because they get quality employees who help them improve the quality of their decision-making processes. This way, they improve the quality of their strategic planning processes. Based on these dynamics, HR is an important component of strategic planning.


DeCenzo, D., Robbins, S., & Verhulst, S. (2012). Fundamentals of Human Resource Management. London, UK: Wiley Global Education.

Drexl, A., & Mundschenk, M. (2008). Long-term staffing based on qualification profiles. Mathematical Methods of Operations Research, 68(1), 21.

Greenberg, A. (2014). Innovative Recruiting Strategies for 2014. Web.

Heathfield, S. (2014). What Is Human Resource Management? Web. 

Jenkins, A. (2014). Different Employee Development Methods & Their Benefits. Web.

Kelly, J. (2001). Human Resource Strategy. Employee Relations, 23(1), 94 – 104.

Kosnik, T., Wong-MingJi, D. J., & Hoover, K. (2006). Outsourcing vs in sourcing in the human resource supply chain: a comparison of five generic models. Personnel Review, 35(6), 671.

Lenaghan, J. A., & Seirup, H. J. (2007). Transition and transparency in the employment contract. Journal of Management Development, 26(5), 459.

Theriou , G., & Chatzoglou , P. (2014). The impact of best HRM practices on performance – identifying enabling factors. Employee Relations, 36(5), 535 – 561.

Van-Deursen, A., & Van-Dijk, J. (2014). Loss of labor time due to malfunctioning ICTs and ICT skill insufficiencies. International Journal of Manpower, 35(5), 703 – 719.

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