The functions of HRM can be broadly classified into three broad categories.

1)    Managerial Functions

2)    Operative Functions

3)    Advisory Functions

Let us learn them in detail.


Managerial Functions

HR Managers perform the essential functions of managing the people.  In line with the other managers, a human resource manager performs the function of planning, organising, directing and controlling. The primary functions of management are planning, organising, staffing, leading, and controlling. These functions are discussed below.


Planning: Planning involves deciding human resource goals, formulating human resource policies and  preparing the human resource budget.


Organising: It involves developing the organisation structure, establishing the relationship among jobs and allocating resources to perform the organisation objectives.


Directing: Directing helps in building sound individual and human relations in the Organisation.


Controlling: Controlling the management of human resources involves: auditing, training, analysing labour turnover records, directing surveys, conducting separation interviews, and such other means.

These four areas and their related functions have the common objective. The skills, abilities, knowledge, and experience are required for the achievement of further organisational goals. Each managerial human resource function may be assigned to one of the four areas of HR responsibility. There may be some specialised or operative HR functions which may serve many purposes. For example, performance appraisal measures serve to stimulate and guide employee development as well as salary administration purposes. The compensation function facilitates retention of existing talented employees and attraction of potential employees to the organisation. A brief description of operative human resource functions are given below:


Operative Functions

Operative functions of human resource management are concerned with specific activities of procuring, developing, compensating, and maintaining an efficient workforce. Let us learn them.


1)    The Procurement Functions

It is concerned with the acquisition of a proper kind and number of personnel necessary to accomplish organisational goals. It deals specifically with following activities :


Human Resource Planning: Human resource planning refers to forecasting human resource needs for the Organisation. It involves planning the required mechanism to meet the objectives of the Organisation. Human resource planning is essential to timely and properly manage the human resource. Proper planning facilitates the managers in achieving the organisational goal.


Job analysis: It is the process of determining the tasks that constitute a job. It is related to identification of nature of the job and skills, abilities, and responsibilities that an individual require to perform that job.


Job design: Job design is a written record of overall summary about the kind of work to be done. How the job should be performed and where it should be performed ? It describes the contents of the job and methods of performing the job. It clearly defines the position of employee performing the job.


Recruitment: It is the process of identifying the vacant posts and taking steps to get candidates for such positions. It is a positive function of getting sufficient number of candidates for the vacant or new positions. The process of recruitment ends where selection process starts.


Interviewing: It is a formal interaction between the employers and the candidates. It provides an opportunity  to extract as much information as possible from the candidates.


Selection: It is the process of picking up the best candidate from the pool of applicants. It involves selecting the perfect match with adequate qualification and skills for the respective post. It is a negative function for rejecting or filtering the candidates.


Hiring and Socialising: Hiring is the act of finding the most suitable candidate in the company and handing over the concerned duty to him /her. The selected candidate is hired and made familiar with the environment and people working in the Organisation. This process is commonly known as socialisation.  The socialisation is important to attain quality output from the employees.


2)    Development Functions

Another basic function of human resource management is development of people working for the organisation for better performance. The development function of HRM involves : training and development, performance management, and career development functions.


Training and Development: Training is designed to help employees in acquiring better skills for their current job. Development is designed to help the organisation ensure that it has the necessary talent internally for meeting future human resource needs. The employee training focuses on skill development to cope with the changes.


Career Development: It is concerned with overall development of individuals. It is the lifelong process of managing employee’s work experience within or between organisations. It is also the responsibility of the individual to develop his/her career. Career development Programmes are designed to help employees in improving their work lives in an Organisation. Career development involves understanding career path of the employee to match long-term individual and organisational needs.


Management Development: It is a systematic process of training and growth of the employees. This process facilitates individuals in gaining and applying knowledge, skills, insights, and attitudes to manage work in the Organisation. It involves developing in a systematic manner the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of managers.


Performance Appraisal and Performance Management: HRM appraises employees’ performance. It evaluates the individual with respect to performance on the job and potential for further development. In performance management process, managers and employees work plan, monitor, and evaluate employee’s work objectives and overall contribution to the Organisation.


3)    Compensating Functions

It is the activity by which human resource management evaluates the contribution of the employee in order to distribute direct and indirect monetary and non-monetary reward within the organisational ability to pay. It involves financial as well as non-financial reward to employees for services rendered to the organisation. It consists of following activities:


Job Evaluation: It is the process of determining the relative worth of a job.


Wage and Salary Administration: It implies developing and operating a suitable wage and salary programme.


Bonus and Incentives: It involves payment of bonus as well as other incentives to the employees.


4)    Integration Functions

It is a process of reconciling the goals of the organisation with its members. Integration function concerns with activities for managing human relations in integrating employees in work environment. The integration motivates them to work together productively, co-operatively and with economic, psychological, and social satisfaction. This function involves:


i)       Motivating the employees

ii)      Boosting employee morale

iii)     Collective bargaining

iv)     Workers’ participation in management

v)      Redressing employee grievances properly

vi)     Developing  well formulated grievance redressal procedures

vii)    Handling disciplinary cases by means of an established disciplinary procedure.

viii)   Counselling the employees in solving their personal, family, and work problems.

ix)     Improving quality of work life of employees through participation and other means.


5)    Maintenance Functions

It is concerned with protecting and promoting the physical and mental health of the employees. Competent and committed employees are invaluable assets for any company. Under this function, HRM focuses on various functions which are briefly described below.


Good Working Climate: It is essential for physical and mental well-being of employees. It may be difficult to make good input in lack of healthy work space.


Employee welfare activities: It involves facilitating employees with various fringe benefits.  These benefits may be conveyance, health insurance, retirement benefits along with other incentives to retain employees.


6)    Separation Functions

An employee may be separated from an organisation as a consequence of resignation, retirement, retrenchment, downsizing, layoff, voluntary retirement, death or any other cause. It involves great deal of empathy and planning to deal with such separation. Organisations must have a comprehensive separation policies and procedures to deal with the leaving employee.  They should be treated equitably for smooth transition for him/her. Some of these are:


i)     Out Processing: The separating employee must return organisation’s property at the time of separation. It may include uniforms, phone, keys, laptops, identification cards etc. If they fail to return some items of the organisation,  it may result in deductions from the employee’s final payment.


ii)    Exit Interviews: Such employees can provide significant information at the time of separation. Exit interviews can be conducted by the HR department to ascertain the views of the leaving employees about different aspects of the organisation, including the efficacy of its HR policies.


iii)   Retirement Benefits: The HR manager has to ensure the release of retirement benefits to the retiring personnel in time. In other cases of separation,  all other dues need to be cleared.


iv)   Rehire: Employees who have left the company may be considered for hiring in future by the organisation. This is done when the employee has good performance record. In such cases, the former employee must submit an application to the HR department. He must meet all minimum qualifications and requirements of the position.


Advisory Functions

Human resource manager has specialised education and training in managing human resources. He is an expert in his area. He/she advises on matters relating to human resources of the organisation to :


Top Management: HR manager advises the top management in formulation and evaluation of personnel policies, and procedures. He/she also advises on issues related to human relations, employee motivation, and morale.


Departmental Heads: HR manager offers advice to the heads of various departments. The advice may involve :  manpower planning, job analysis, job design, recruitment, selection, placement, training, performance appraisal, etc.

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