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What is Human Resources: role and main responsibilities

By Nicole Comendador | |7 minute read
What Is Human Resources Role And Main Responsibilities

The term human resource has many different meanings. It can be used to refer to all the people who work for an organisation, or it can refer to the people who manage those employees and plan their training and development.

Several disciplines make up the HR department, and in this article, we discuss the things that define human resources, their role and their main responsibilities in the organisation.

What is human resource?

Human resource (HR) is the discipline that deals with the people side of the business. It is an important part of an organisation, as it is the department responsible for supporting its employees. They provide the structure within the organisation by managing the employee’s life cycle, from recruitment to onboarding until the employee leaves or retires.


The primary goal of HR is to maximise the value of employees while meeting the needs of employers. HR professionals ensure that all employees are treated fairly, have access to information and support services required for them to perform their jobs effectively, that they receive adequate training for new job responsibilities and that they have opportunities for professional growth at work.

What is the main role and responsibilities of human resources in a company?

HR professionals develop and implement strategies for attracting, retaining, and developing an organisation’s human capital. They handle recruitment, selection and training, and also provide consultation on people issues related to the organisation.

They are responsible for the documentation and up-to-date records relating to employee information, people policies, etc (although most of this can now be automated through HR tech). They also come up with programs and team-building activities to improve rapport with employees.

The goal of all human resource management activities is to provide a high level of service while meeting your organisation’s goals. There are five main aspects that the HR department focuses on:

Talent management

Recruiters are responsible for building the company’s workforce and managing the hiring process. The role of human resources in talent management is to find qualified candidates for open positions within the organisation.

They source applicants by posting open positions on social media or job boards for example, screening potential candidates, and doing background checks. Part of their role may be performing an initial interview to see if an applicant is qualified for the role and coordinating with the hiring manager or department manager who will make the final decision.

Talent management is also responsible for workforce planning, which refers to the career path of employees, and succession planning should someone leave the organisation. This is done by evaluating employee performance and determining the company’s appropriate reward, promotion, or career movement.

Compensation and benefits

HR practitioners in compensation and benefits are responsible for the payroll of all employees, and the different benefits they are entitled to based on their role/position in the company. Some companies would have these two roles managed by one or two people, while some would have these outsourced.

For compensation, they work with recruiters and department managers to establish a pay structure to ensure that employees are paid according to their job description. They evaluate the current rates and pay practices of other companies to stay competitive in the job market.

For benefits, HR practitioners are responsible for managing the statutory and supplementary benefits that all employees must receive.

  • Statutory benefits are required by law, such as leave entitlements, superannuation or retirement plans, and income taxes (if applicable). These are legal obligations by employers, which, at times, can be seen as the bare minimum.
  • Supplementary benefits are initiatives by the employer to attract and retain employees, such as car plans, child care, and more. These benefits can be based on the kind of work an employee needs to do, or the value they have added to the company throughout the years.
Training and development

Sometimes referred to as learning and development or workforce management, HR practitioners that take on this role are responsible for improving the skills of their employees.

They educate new employees about the company’s policies and practices. They are responsible for properly onboarding a new hire or providing necessary orientations or programs to employees for their personal and professional development.

They provide training for particular skills, tools, and software related to an employee’s job, and organise leadership training programs for individuals that are qualified for a promotion to a managerial role.


Employment and labour laws are complicated and always changing, and a dedicated team to handle all legal and regulatory compliance is helpful.

Aside from the legal aspect, the HR compliance team is also responsible for developing and updating all company policy that is included in the employee handbook, which provides order and structure within the organisation.

Workplace safety

Work health and safety (WHS), which is also called occupational health and safety (OH&S), manages the risks to the health and safety of everyone in the workplace. It also applies to the welfare of a company’s customers, clients and suppliers.

HR practitioners in this role must ensure that everyone complies with company policies and applicable laws. This department, working with the company’s benefits specialists, also manages the compensation of employees for any workplace-related accidents or injuries.

What are the skills and qualifications needed in human resources?

Human resources professionals have several skills and qualifications needed in order to successfully manage an organisation’s human resources.

Interpersonal skills: This is a set of skills that allows you to relate with people based on their characteristics, skills, and needs. It includes the ability to listen well, communicate effectively, and recognise when a person is not communicating effectively.

Organisational skills: These are the skills that enable you to work with others efficiently to achieve organisational goals or objectives. This means being able to manage multiple projects at once while also keeping track of deadlines and budgets so that work gets done on time without interruption or overbudgeting. These include planning, organising, training employees, setting priorities, and delegating tasks so that they can be accomplished within budgeted time frames.

Written communication skills: You need these skills if you are going to communicate with other people or groups such as your boss or colleagues at work as well as your customers or clients through writing letters or emails etc. This means being able to communicate effectively with people from all levels within an organisation so that everyone understands what needs to be done to ensure that everyone succeeds together as a team.


There is more to human resources than meets the eye. It is an essential part of an organisation, regardless of its size. The human resource department heavily determines the company’s culture, which can help create an environment where employees are happy and productive, leading to its growth.


Note from the editor: Please note that this article has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not to be construed as advice.