What is “HR”?

The Human Resources department is the (often unseen) hand that keeps business processes running. While the role of an HR department does vary from company-to-company, there are tasks commonly assigned to the HR Department. They monitor business areas like: employment law compliance, payroll, benefits, work leave, hiring and on-boarding, training, disciplinary actions, policy and procedure writing, and personnel development.

Ideally, HR is the part of the company that is available to employees when they need assistance with their career. This can include career development and career conflicts. HR is the department that should be responsible for enforcing workplace safety and helping employees excel at that workplace. Additionally, HR is the go-to for many sexual harassment and discrimination complaints. It is the HR department’s job to mitigate the risk of these issues occurring, and to investigate and report circumstances if something does occur.

By the time that a company begins hiring even 20 people, it is helpful to have an HR professional on staff to protect the business and employees simultaneously. This role needs to be handled by an individual—or a team of individuals—to truly be done well. While almost anyone can run payroll, fill out forms, and collect gallons of paperwork: a true HR professional develops and improves strategic processes, manages administrative tasks, and aligns employees goals with the company’s objectives. Having the ability to take on this tall order and should be handled by professionals that have dedicated themselves to human resources skills and honed their abilities. Think of it this way: you don’t want an electrician to manage your IT department and you don’t want a secretary to fulfill the role of an HR department.

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