Updated: August 22, 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, or HRM, is the strategic management of an organization’s workforce. This job involves activities like hiring, training, performance evaluation, compensation, and employee relations. HRM ensures compliance with laws, shapes workplace culture, and aligns workforce planning with business goals. The department’s goal is to optimize employee performance, satisfaction, and organizational success.

HRM is also crucial for creating a positive work environment. Professionals address employee concerns, resolve conflicts, and promote diversity and inclusion. By fostering employee engagement and development, HRM enhances overall productivity and innovation within the organization. Through data-driven approaches and the use of technology, HRM also contributes to informed decision-making. This decision-making process ensures that the organization’s human capital remains a strategic asset for long-term success.

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 HR responsibilities.

1. Recruitment and Hiring

HR departments assess the organization’s workforce needs, collaborate with hiring managers to define job roles and responsibilities, and design compelling job descriptions that attract qualified candidates. These professionals manage the entire recruitment process, from posting job openings on various platforms to evaluating resumes, conducting interviews, and administering pre-employment assessments. HR’s goal is to identify candidates who align with the organization’s culture and possess the skills needed to contribute effectively.

Here is a list of recruitment books.

2. Training and Development

HR professionals conduct training needs assessments through surveys and performance evaluations. Based on these assessments, these members design comprehensive training programs that cater to employees’ skill gaps and career aspirations. These programs could encompass workshops, seminars, online courses, and mentorship opportunities. By continuously investing in employee development, HR departments contribute to improved job satisfaction and organizational performance.

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3. Performance Management

HR departments collaborate with managers to set clear performance expectations and measurable goals for each employee. Regular performance reviews provide opportunities for constructive feedback and the identification of strengths and areas for improvement. HR plays a role in fostering ongoing communication between employees and managers. During these talks, HR facilitates professional growth discussions and ensures that performance evaluations contribute to individual and organizational growth.

4. Compensation and Benefits

HR professionals analyze market trends to establish competitive compensation structures that attract and retain top talent. These members also manage employee benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Ensuring compliance with legal requirements and industry standards, HR departments strive to create compensation packages that reflect the value employees bring to the organization.

5. Employee Relations

HR departments promote a positive work environment by addressing conflicts, mediating disputes, and implementing initiatives that foster open communication. These team members handle employee grievances, ensuring fair and consistent resolutions. Additionally, HR professionals work to cultivate a diverse and inclusive workplace culture that values different perspectives and backgrounds.

6. Compliance and Legal Matters

HR departments stay up-to-date with labor laws and regulations to ensure the organization’s practices align with legal requirements. Members establish and communicate policies related to workplace conduct, anti-discrimination, harassment prevention, and safety protocols. By enforcing these policies, HR mitigates legal risks and safeguards both employees and the organization.

7. Organizational Policies

HR departments develop comprehensive workplace policies that outline expectations for behavior, performance, and adherence to company values. These policies guide employees’ actions, ensure consistency in decision-making, and contribute to a professional and respectful work environment.

8. Employee Engagement

HR professionals create initiatives that boost employee morale and foster a sense of belonging. These workers organize team building activities, recognition programs, and events that encourage social interaction. By promoting a positive workplace culture, HR enhances employee satisfaction and loyalty.

9. Talent Management

HR departments identify high-potential employees and offer opportunities for advancement. Hr staff members work with individuals to create personalized development plans that align with their career aspirations and the organization’s needs. Through strategic talent management, HR contributes to building a pipeline of skilled leaders and experts.

10. Data Management and Analysis

HR departments utilize human resources information systems, or HRIS, to manage employee data efficiently. These systems process payroll, track attendance, and generate reports that inform decision-making. Analyzing workforce data allows HR to identify trends, anticipate needs, and make informed recommendations to management.

11. Change Management

HR departments play a crucial role in managing transitions during periods of organizational change, such as mergers, acquisitions, or restructuring. Teammates communicate changes to employees, provide support and resources for adapting to new circumstances, and help minimize disruptions to productivity.

12. Strategic Planning

HR professionals collaborate with senior management to align HR strategies with the organization’s long-term goals. Workers assess future workforce needs, plan for expansions or contractions, and anticipate talent shortages or surpluses. This proactive approach ensures that the organization has the right people in the right roles to achieve its objectives.

Types of human resources jobs

Human resources professionals are important in all sorts of organizations. This importance is why folks who want to work in human resources can choose from many different jobs. Each of these jobs needs its own special knowledge and skills. However, all these jobs have one main goal, which is taking care of the employees who work in the organization. This role helps make sure the whole team works well and the organization succeeds. Here are some types of human resources jobs and what they do.

1. HR Analytics Specialist

HR analytics specialists focus on data-driven insights to inform HR strategies and decision-making. These workers collect, analyze, and interpret workforce data to identify trends, predict future needs, and address challenges. Additionally, these specialists use advanced tools and techniques to measure employee performance, engagement, turnover rates, and other key metrics. By translating data into actionable recommendations, analysts help organizations optimize their human resources strategies and enhance overall performance.

2. Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator

Diversity and inclusion coordinators work to create an inclusive workplace that values diversity and promotes equity. These teams design and implement initiatives to attract and retain a diverse workforce. Also, these coordinators develop training programs that raise awareness about bias, cultural sensitivity, and inclusive practices. Coordinators ensure fair hiring practices, address diversity-related concerns, and foster a respectful work environment.

3. Training and Development Specialist

Training and development specialists create programs to enhance employees’ skills and knowledge. These workers identify training needs, design relevant content, and conduct training sessions. Programs span interpersonal skills, leadership, and technical training. These specialists also facilitate professional growth through development initiatives. Reviewing training materials, assessing employee needs, and supervising instructors are part of these professionals’ responsibilities.

4. Compensation and Benefits Specialist

These specialists oversee the organization’s compensation and benefits program, ensuring its effectiveness. Teams manage benefits policies, salary structures, and pay practices. This process involves comparing the company’s offerings to those of competitors and negotiating with benefit providers. These workers also handle retirement plans, healthcare, and paid time off. Benefits specialists recommend options that align with the company’s objectives after careful assessment.

5. Recruiter

Recruiters play a crucial role in finding qualified candidates to fill open positions within a company. Duties include posting job listings, reviewing resumes and portfolios, conducting interviews, and making final hiring decisions. Working closely with hiring managers, recruiters craft job descriptions and establish role requirements. Strong communication skills are vital as recruiters interact with candidates and managers to ensure the best fit. These workers may also attend job fairs, visit schools, and engage with professional organizations to identify potential hires.

6. Chief Human Resource Officer

As leaders of HR divisions, chief human resource officers drive strategy execution. These individuals manage employee development, training, performance, and organizational changes. Communication of HR goals to stakeholders and executives is pivotal. Additionally, chief officers provide strategic leadership by outlining and executing plans.

7. Vice President of Human Resources

The vice president of human resources oversees the HR department’s operations, aligning with top-level executives’ strategies. Collaborating closely with HR directors, workers emphasize organizational structure, employee retention, and business goals. Additionally, duties focus on enhancing company performance, ensuring compliance, managing employee relations, and shaping organizational policies.

8. Employee Relations Specialist

Employee relations specialists manage relationships between the organization and its employees. These employees enforce policies, handle disciplinary actions, and resolve conflicts. Investigating misconduct allegations and ensuring fairness in employee complaints are top concerns. Proficiency in communication and conflict resolution is vital for success in this role.

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. Here is a list of some HR topics that your team might discuss.

1. Career Development

Effective training and development programs enable employees to acquire new skills and elevate performance. These programs must align with organizational goals and cater to employee needs. Offerings encompass interpersonal skills, technical proficiency, and leadership capabilities. In a rapidly evolving technological landscape, continual upskilling maintains competitiveness, accelerates growth, and nurtures innovation.

2. Recruitment and Onboarding

Effectively recruiting and onboarding top talent is pivotal for organizational success. A well-crafted recruitment and talent acquisition strategy attracts exceptional candidates and confers a competitive edge. This approach positions companies favorably in the job market and also cultivates a positive recruitment experience, resulting in referrals and positive reviews that bolster the company’s brand.

3. Job Security

Employment security stands as a key HR practice, acknowledging life’s uncertainties. Providing job security encourages employees to dedicate themselves to their roles, leading to higher retention rates. A stable workforce minimizes the need for constant hiring and training, enabling employees to focus on their responsibilities and perform at their best.

4. Transparency

Transparency nurtures trust and enhances communication between employers and employees. A transparent workplace fosters engagement and better decision-making. Clear communication of performance metrics and expectations empowers employees to understand their roles fully. As a result, transparency fosters a deeper alignment between employees and organizational goals.

5. Equitable and Performance-Based Compensation

Equitable compensation systems attract and retain talent while fairly rewarding performance. Performance-based compensation recognizes individual contributions, skills, and organizational achievements. This benefit motivates employees to enhance their skills and consistently excel. Additionally, recognizing and rewarding high-performing employees boosts business success and productivity. Fair compensation aligns wages with individual performance, skills, and experience.

6. Diversity and Inclusion

Embracing diversity and inclusion involves recognizing and valuing the unique attributes of employees. By integrating diversity into recruitment, selection, training, and development, organizations create an inclusive workplace. A robust DEI policy can enhance a company’s appeal to potential employees.

Check out these DEI tips.

7. 360-Degree Feedback

360-degree feedback involves collecting evaluations from multiple perspectives, like managers, peers, stakeholders, direct reports, and self-assessment. This comprehensive assessment offers a holistic view of performance, revealing strengths, areas for improvement, and growth opportunities. By implementing 360-degree feedback, employees gain insights into their performance and identify ways to enhance their capabilities.

8. Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible work arrangements, such as remote work and flexible hours, enhance work-life balance, boost job satisfaction, and improve retention. They empower employees to tailor their schedules, fostering autonomy and trust. This practice attracts diverse talent and cultivates an adaptable workforce, contributing to long-term success.

Remote human resources in a digital age

Remote HR management involves conducting all HR tasks, including managing employee relationships, recruitment, onboarding, and ensuring compliance, from a location outside the traditional office setting. With the rise of remote work, the demand for efficient workforce management has grown. Succeeding in remote HR management requires HR experts to have robust teamwork and communication abilities. Furthermore, adaptability to the changing demands of remote workspaces is crucial for these professionals to excel.

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

1. Recruitee

Recruitee transforms the remote hiring process into a comprehensive team effort. Equipped with the right tools, remote HR management thrives. These tools foster secure communication, central data management, and effective workflows. Recruitee streamlines job posting, application tracking, and scheduling, enhancing recruiter and job seeker interactions.

2. BambooHR

BambooHR, a cloud-based HR management software, streamlines various aspects, from time tracking to benefits administration. Managing remote employee workflows and data regardless of location, BambooHR automates daily tasks for operational efficiency.

3. Asana

Asana facilitates efficient tracking of HR tasks, employee management, and recruitment. Collaboration on HR projects with team members is seamless. Asana aids project oversight, task management, sprint organization, application integration, and successful product launches.

4. Slack

A pivotal tool for remote HR teams, Slack provides a versatile space for collaboration and group messaging. With added tools like polls and Donut integrations, Slack transforms into an organization’s digital hub.

5. LinkedIn

Professionals in remote HR can leverage LinkedIn’s platform to advertise job openings, secure top talent, and engage in industry conversations. Active participation in groups and discussions enhances connection and industry insights, contributing to brand visibility.

6. Zoom

Familiar to many, Zoom stands as a widely used video conferencing tool. The site seamlessly substitutes in-person office meetings, aiding remote HR professionals in tasks like interviewing, onboarding, and essential meetings.

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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