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Human Resource Duties and Skills: Best Practices for HR

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Human resource departments are crucial elements of all successful companies. An HR department works to help the company grow by caring for its employees. Human resources departments have many responsibilities and a successful HR staff is highly skilled and trained. Read on to learn more about human resources best practices and techniques:

Related: How to Hire a Human Resources Manager

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An introduction to the common responsibilities of human resources

A Human Resources department is responsible for managing all employee-related activities within an organization. HR professionals typically handle hiring, firing and training employees. They also manage matters related to salary, benefits and employee discipline. The Human Resources department works to keep all employees informed in regards to the company’s policies and protocols. A human resources team usually consists of an HR manager who supervises a team of trained HR staff members.

The primary duties of an HR manager include:

  • Recruiting, interviewing and hiring new employees
  • Overseeing the signing, editing and termination of employee contracts
  • Approving PTO requests and sick absences
  • Protecting employee’s rights in regards to federal regulations
  • Enforcing company policies
  • Investigating reports of misbehavior in the workplace
  • Mediating employee disputes and administering employee discipline

Related: Human Resources Manager Job Description Examples

Human resources skills

When hiring HR professionals, there are many relevant skills that employers can look for. These include:

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Teamwork
  • Organization
  • Management
  • Technical expertise

Interpersonal communication

All human resources professionals should be skilled in communicating with employees from a variety of backgrounds and with a range of personalities. They should be able to share information clearly and efficiently even in high-pressure situations. They should be tactful, polite and respectful in every conversation. They should be able to skillfully diffuse conflict and put others at ease. HR professionals must show no bias and should treat everyone equally.


The Human Resources department is a critical part of every successful company. It is important that all HR professionals be able to cooperate with others and work as a team. As hiring managers, they should always consider how new employees will fit into the company’s culture and how hiring them might benefit the team as a whole. One of the purposes of a Human Resources department is to facilitate the growth and development of the organization. All HR professionals should keep the company’s mission, values and goals in mind as they carry out their duties.


The ability to schedule assignments, adhere to deadlines and multi-task are all valuable skills for an HR professional. In a Human Resources department, being organized means setting achievable goals and consistently meeting expectations. Skilled HR professionals can balance multiple assignments and manage numerous tasks without falling behind or neglecting other duties. Being organized also allows human resources staff to formulate plans of action and solve problems quickly and efficiently.


Fundamentally, HR professionals are managers. They are often responsible for overseeing important projects like writing employee handbooks, implementing performance reviews or conducting surveys. Human resources staff should be reliable, competent and capable of producing quality results. Most employers prefer to hire HR professionals who already have practical experience as managers or supervisors.

Technical expertise

Part of a human resources staff member’s job is being familiar with federal laws and regulations regarding employment. This means all HR professionals should be able to read, understand and implement rules related to government programs like workman’s compensation and disability benefits. They may also be required to use specialized software or computer programs that help them to carry out their daily duties.

Related: 5 Human Resources Interview Questions and Answers

Best practices for HR departments

Here are some tips that can help HR departments to be more effective:

    • Uphold the company’s vision: Everything the HR department does should be in line with the company’s mission. This includes how they treat employees, how they pitch the company to new recruits and how they respond to feedback. The HR department’s goals and objectives should always coexist with the company’s vision for future growth.
    • Communicate with empathy: Human resources staff often see the best and worst of other employees. It is important for them to show compassion and empathy whenever possible. An HR department that speaks to employees as fellow human beings is likely to be more successful when handling conflict or discipline.
  • Continue learning: Techniques and practices for HR departments should evolve at the same rate as the surrounding culture. Human resources staff members should be willing to adapt their methods if the industry discovers a more effective technique. HR staff can attend lectureships and conferences to stay up to date on the latest developments in their field.


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions concerning human resource departments:

How does the HR department benefit other employees?

Human resources staff members help the company by:

    • Helping with career advancement: HR is often responsible for facilitating internal promotions and assisting employees in reaching their career goals.
    • Responding to complaints: HR professionals are responsible for addressing reports of misbehavior and keeping all employees accountable for their actions.
    • Offering continuing education: HR usually handles continuing education opportunities like tuition reimbursement and on-site training courses. Educating employees often leads to higher retention rates and increased job satisfaction.
    • Keeping employees safe: HR works to protect employees’ rights and keep them safe in the workplace. They do this by enforcing federal regulations and helping employees to access any professional help they might need.
  • Explaining legal jargon: HR can help employees by deciphering complex legal documents and directing them to employment law offices.

How many HR professionals should I hire?

The size of a company’s HR department depends primarily on the size of the company. On average, employers hire between two and three HR staff members per 100 employees. For companies with few employees, an office manager or general supervisor might carry out the duties of an HR manager. For larger organizations, the HR department might have its own executive team, featuring a director, manager and assistant manager.

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