Updated: March 26, 2023

Human Resources: Ultimate Guide

You have found our human resources guide.

Human resources refer to the department within an organization responsible for managing employees. Examples of human resources duties include recruitment and hiring, onboarding and training, performance management, and employee relations. The purpose of human resources management is to create and promote a positive work environment for employees to thrive in and contribute to the organization’s success.

This ultimate guide on human resources offers information on HR skills and competencies. You can learn more about HR tips from resources such as HR books, HR blogs, HR podcasts, and HR newsletters.


This list includes:

  • what is human resources management?
  • what do human resource departments do?
  • types of human resources jobs
  • HR responsibilities
  • HR topics
  • HR best practices
  • remote human resources

Let’s begin!

What is human resources management?

Human resources management manages, allocates, and coordinates human capital to drive an organization’s success. The department is responsible for all aspects of staffing, from interviewing to onboarding and ensuring employee safety, development, and compensation. As a result, all organizations rely on the human resources departments to ensure efficient and smooth operations.

The human resources department is essential in implementing and developing HR procedures and policies. These policies ensure an organization’s transparency, fairness, and compliance.

What do human resource departments do?

The goal of every business should be to treat its employees fairly. Organizations can only achieve this goal with the human resources department. The HR department has advanced beyond only taking responsibility for employee relations and payroll. The HRM department now specializes in more technical and advanced roles within the organization.

Here are some of the key roles of human resources professionals.

1. Recruitment and Hiring

The human resources department is responsible for recruiting top talents for the organization. This role involves creating appropriate job descriptions, sending out job ads, and screening resumes upon submission. The HR manager is also responsible for interviewing prospective applicants and sending out job offers to successful candidates.

Here is a list of recruitment books.

2. Onboarding and Training

Upon hiring new staff members, the human resources department carries out proper onboarding and training. This duty is essential to ensure new hires can work effectively. Some of the activities that take place during onboarding and training include orientation programs, mentoring and coaching, and training programs.

Read about onboarding best practices.

3. Talent Management

The job of the HRM team continues even when new talents come on board. The human resources management team ensures these talents remain in the organization for as long as possible. This team might set up various employee motivation and retention programs to achieve this goal.

4. Workplace Policies

Workplace policies refer to guidelines and rules that govern employee behavior within an organization. These policies also provide a framework for decision-making. In consultation with senior management, the HR team designs workplace policies to ensure employees can function at their best. Some policies are related to sexual harassment, social media usage, codes of conduct, and attendance.

5. Legal Compliance

HRM develops and implements company policies in compliance with laws and regulations, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Human resources management also ensures that all employees, including supervisors and managers, have proper training in compliance with these laws and regulations.

6. Employer-to-Employee Relationship

One of the HR responsibilities is facilitating relationships between the management and employees. This role allows employees to provide feedback and suggestions that can result in organizational growth. Also, HR is responsible for addressing employees’ concerns and resolving conflicts promptly, fairly, and effectively.

7. Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The HR department is responsible for developing recruitment strategies that attract candidates of all ages, sexual orientations, or religions to create a diverse work environment. In addition to these strategies, HR collaborates with leaders in developing inclusive policies that will promote diversity in the organization.

Read about the benefits of DEI.

8. Process Payroll

Processing payroll is one of the most common HR topics, as organizations must pay employees for their services. The HR department ensures employees’ pay comes in on time and accurately. HR uses the organization’s attendance and time system to carry out this task effectively. This system contains the hours worked, time off, and every key employee’s information. After reviewing the system, HR calculates employees’ pay and carries out deductions like retirement contributions, taxes, and insurance.

9. Conduct Disciplinary Actions

When employees violate company expectations or policies, the result is disciplinary action. The HR management team is responsible for investigating and recording such behavior and determining the appropriate disciplinary action. These actions might include suspension, written warnings, verbal warnings, and in some cases, employment termination.

10. Update Policies

Organizations must review and update policies at least once a year to keep up with changes. HR monitors regulation changes, employee feedback, and industry trends in updating company policies. Afterward, HR conducts analysis and research based on this feedback before drafting and revising the policies. Once there is a policy update, HR communicates these updates to the employees and ensures staff members adhere to the new guidelines.

Types of human resources jobs

Human resource professionals are crucial in all organizations. As a result, individuals interested in working within the human resources industry can choose from diverse roles. Each of these human resources jobs requires specific knowledge and skills. However, all roles share a common goal of managing the staff members in an organization. As a result, these professionals create an engaging and productive workforce, thereby driving organizational success. Here are some types of human resources jobs and their responsibilities.

1. Recruiter

A recruiter is responsible for attracting and finding qualified candidates to fill open positions within an organization. Recruiters post job listings, conduct interviews, screen resumes and portfolios, and make the final hiring decision. Sometimes, recruiters work with the hiring manager to develop job descriptions and determine the requirements for the role. Good communication skills are essential for recruiters, as they can interact with hiring managers and candidates to ensure the best selection for each position. Recruiters may visit job fairs, professional organizations, and schools to search for potential candidates.

2. Compensation and Benefits Specialist

The compensation and benefits specialist sees that the organization’s compensation and benefits program runs smoothly. Individuals in this role administer and develop the benefits policies and pay of the organization. The job is to ensure that the various packages are competitive when compared with other companies within the industry. Compensation and benefits specialists also oversee the administration of company perks, such as retirement plans, healthcare, and paid time off. Benefits specialists are responsible for negotiating with insurance providers and retirement plans. Then, specialists recommend the best choice based on the company’s goals.

3. Vice President of Human Resources

A vice president of human resources sees to the effective operations of a company’s HR department. These specialists support the planning of the CEO, COO, and others within the department. By working closely with the HR directors, the vice president prioritizes effective organizational structure, employee retention, and achieving business goals. The vice president of human resources often focuses on driving the company’s performance and benefits, compliance, employee relations, and organization policy.

4. Training and Development Specialist

The training and development specialist designs and implements training programs to enhance employees’ knowledge and skills. This personnel identifies employees’ training needs and develops programs to meet the requirements. Afterward, the specialist delivers this training to employees. These programs include interpersonal skills training, leadership training, and technical training. Also, these specialists provide opportunities for employees to further their careers by participating in professional development programs. These specialists may also review vendor training materials, assess employees’ training needs, and supervise instructors.

5. Information Systems Specialist

In HR, the information systems specialist manages the organization’s HR information systems. This team member keeps the organization’s HR system accurate and up to date, provides support and training to users, and troubleshoots any arising issues. The HR information systems specialist develops and implements new techniques to improve efficiency.

6. Chief Human Resource Officer

In addition to leading the managers of a company’s division and managing its employees, the chief human resource officer develops and executes the company’s human resource strategy. These plans include change management, organizational and performance management, development, and training. The chief human resource manager also communicates essential HR needs and goals to the shareholders, executive management team, and board of directors. This specialist articulates plans by providing strategic leadership.

7. Employee Relations Specialist

This role deals with relationship management between an organization and its employees. An employee relations specialist develops and enforces procedures and policies, such as the employee handbook and code of conduct in the workplace. Also, this specialist ensures disciplinary actions are fair and consistent, handles employee complaints, and investigates misconduct allegations. To thrive in the role, an employee relations specialist must be proficient in conflict resolution and communication.

HR best practices

HR best practices are procedures, policies, and strategies to help organizations manage employees effectively. These practices’ goals include ensuring employees’ treatment with equity, fairness, and respect. In addition, these procedures provide employees with all the support and resources employees need to carry out their jobs efficiently.

1. Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion practices encourage recognizing and valuing employees’ differences. Diversity in recruitment, selection, employee training, and development effectively promotes a diverse and inclusive workplace. An efficient DEI policy can also make a company attractive to potential employees.

Check out these DEI tips.

2. Employment Security

Employment security is one of the best HR practices, as life is unpredictable. A secured job makes most employees willing to resume and stay committed to their roles. A high employee retention rate reduces the organization’s need to recruit and train new employees. Furthermore, employment security allows employees to focus more on their jobs and perform better.

3. Recruitment and Talent Acquisition

Recruiting and acquiring top talent is vital to any organization’s success. Companies can attract the best candidates with an effective recruitment and talent acquisition strategy. This strategy will also give organizations a competitive edge in the job market and position these organizations for success. Furthermore, a positive recruitment experience encourages referrals and positive reviews, which can help build an organization’s brand.

4. Fair and Performance-Based Compensation

Fair and performance-based compensation helps organizations attract and retain talent while rewarding them fairly for their performance. With performance-based compensation, companies reward employees based on individual contributions, skills, and organizational performance. This approach encourages employees to improve their skills and work harder continuously. In addition, companies can identify and reward high-performing employees, thereby boosting business success and productivity. With fair compensation, firms pay employees a wage proportional to individual performance, skills, and experience.

5. Training and Development

Employees can acquire new skills and improve performance by implementing training and development programs. These training programs should align with organizational goals and objectives while meeting the needs of employees. Programs can include interpersonal skills training, technical training, and leadership training. Technology advances daily, and so should employees. Upskilling is a great way to sustain a competitive advantage, grow faster, and stay innovative.

6. Easy and Accessible Information

Employees need easy and accessible information to make informed decisions and stay current. One way to facilitate this accessibility is by implementing communication channels such as employee mobile apps and portals. With these structures in place, employees can access crucial information about jobs, procedures, policies, and benefits. Through accessible information, organizations foster a positive employee experience and build employee work engagement.

7. 360-Degree Feedback

360-degree feedback is an evaluation technique where HR collects feedback through the employee’s manager, stakeholders, peers, direct reports, and self-evaluation. This assessment aims to generate a well-rounded view of performance to identify employees’ strengths, weaknesses, and development opportunities. By conducting 360-degree feedback, employees can reflect on individual performance and identify critical areas for improvement.

8. Transparency

Transparency fosters trust and improves communication between employers and employees. When employees sense honesty and openness in the workplace, employees become more engaged in individual roles and make better decisions. Also, transparency means clarifying performance evaluation metrics and employees’ expectations. As a result, employees have a better understanding of their roles.

Remote human resources in a digital age

Remote human resources management is the practice of carrying out all HR functions, such as employee relations, recruitment and onboarding, and compliance, from an off-site location. Remote work is increasing daily, and so is the need for organizations to manage the workforce effectively. To thrive in remote human resources management, HR professionals must possess strong collaboration and communication skills. In addition, these professionals must be able to adapt to the evolving needs of the remote workspace.

Various tools exist to drive success in remote HR management, such as the following.

1. Zoom

Zoom is a popular video conferencing tool, and many users are familiar with it. This tool is an excellent replacement for face-to-face office meetings. Remote HR professionals will find Zoom helpful in interviewing and onboarding new staff and conducting meetings when necessary.

2. Slack

One of the most effective tools for remote HR teams is Slack. This tool provides a platform for all forms of collaboration and group messaging. Slack also offers other tools and integrations that might be helpful for HR professionals, like polls or Donut. You can call Slack an organization’s digital headquarters.

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional platform that can assist remote HR professionals in advertising job openings and hiring the best candidates. Also, HR professionals can join and participate in industry groups and discussions, staying connected and informed. Conversations on LinkedIn can help improve your brand awareness and reputation.

4. BambooHR

BambooHR is a cloud-based HR management software that helps with time tracking, performance management, employee management, and benefits administration. With BambooHR, professionals can manage remote employee workflow and data regardless of location. The software allows HR managers to automate daily tasks to ensure operational efficiency.

5. Asana

With Asana, HR professionals can keep track of various tasks concerning employee management and recruitment. Asana also allows collaboration with team members on HR-related projects. With Asana, you can see the status of your project, monitor your individual tasks, organize your sprints, connect with other applications, and successfully launch your products. When your team completes tasks, you can check the Asana board update to see your progress.

6. Recruitee

With Recruitee, all HR remote teams can participate in the hiring process from start to finish. With the right tools in place, remote HR management becomes effective. These tools help HR teams communicate effectively and manage employee workflow and data securely and centrally. Recruitee allows the HR team to publish job descriptions, receive applications, and track application status on one platform. With a built-in scheduler, recruiters and job seekers alike can work within the same time frame and share questions and formats for evaluating potential employees.

Check out more helpful HR tools, apps, and software.


Human resources management is a crucial function in an organization. To keep up with the evolving trend within the workplace, HR professionals must stay up to date with the best practices, latest trends, and technologies. Understanding these factors fosters a positive work environment and drives organizational success.

Managing employees is crucial to advancing an organization’s goals and creating its culture. When doing their jobs successfully, human resource managers may assist with recruiting new professionals with the abilities required to advance the company’s goals. HR managers can also aid in developing and training existing workers to achieve those goals.

For more information on human resources development, check out these articles on HR training programs, HR communities, and HR automation.

FAQ: Human resources

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about human resources.

What does a human resources manager do?

A human resources manager manages, allocates, and coordinates employees to drive an organization’s success. This role includes employee investments, staffing process management, and employee safety. An effective and efficient HRM team helps organizations attract and retain the best talents, which drives the organization’s success.

What are the primary functions of HR?

Some major HR functions include:

  • Recruitment
  • Training and development
  • Employee relations
  • Performance management
  • Compliance

Although there are different HR functions, each focuses on promoting an organization’s smooth running by adopting different strategies.

What are the different types of human resources jobs?

Different types of human resource jobs include compensation and benefits specialist, HR generalist, employee relations specialists, and HR information systems specialists.

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People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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