At some point or other, virtually everyone has heard the term human resources. Some are very knowledgeable of the subject while others have only ever heard mention of it. There is also sometimes a stigma attached to the term, for some, ushering in thoughts of corporate controls and spirited terminations.

Workforce Management

Perhaps the best way to view human resources is through mentally envisioning the name of this entity instead to be workforce management. Human resources, simply put, is the management of the workforce. A typical human resources team will hire, lead training, host events, and analyze and react to workforce strengths and weaknesses. Read on as we shine a light on the essential functions of today’s human resources.

Hiring, Firing, and Maintenance

Some of the most important and well-known functions of the human resources department include hiring, firing, and maintenance of the company’s workforce. Many changes take place in companies’ workforces every day. These can include department additions, employee losses, promotions, and position changes. The HR department must foresee developing needs and react to them. This is in turn done through such means as hiring, termination, and other employee changes.

Dispute Resolution

In modern business, attention must be paid at all times to brand standards, legality, and ethics. Subsequently, a key function of the human resources department is to appropriately sort through employee disputes. Disputes can range from employee-to-employee relations, employee-employer issues, and even circumstances regarding interactions with outsiders to the business. In all matters though, a legal, ethical, and brand-abiding resolution is the department’s ultimate responsibility.

Employee Development

Many HR departments today are also seated with the responsibility of administering growth and development in all employees. As summed up by Harvard Business Review “Good managers… play a key role in maximizing employees’ contribution to the firm.” By investing in the overall betterment of employees, the company invests in its own betterment. HR departments specifically engage these areas through the administration of evaluation and continued training programs, custom tailored to the company’s current needs.

Morale Maintenance

Morale is just as important within a workforce as its combined skills and experience. Although some human resource teams do not deal with the maintenance of morale, many others do. In maintaining morale, the human resource team must first analyze and diagnose trends in company morale and what drives them. Using this information they can then act accordingly. Some examples of HR-instituted morale maintenance can include, giveaways, employee appreciation days, casual dress days, the provision of extra job perks, and even performance reward programs. Any such actions are indicative of a HR team that cares for company morale.

Related Resource: 10 Most Affordable Top Ranked Master’s in Human Resources Online 2016

With a deeper look at some of their essential job functions, we can begin to better understand what it is that workers in the human resource industry are focused on from day to day. These are only a few essential functions and are, by no means, representative of the full line of duties faced by the typical human resource department. We hope this has brought some clarity to anyone with questions along the subject of what is human resources.