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From Paperwork to People: The Importance of Human Resources (HR)

March 13, 2023 · 5 min read

Human resources (HR) is an essential part of any organization. It is a department responsible for managing the organization's human capital, including recruitment, training, compensation, benefits, and employee relations. The role of HR has evolved significantly over the years, from simply processing paperwork to a more strategic and people-oriented function.

Functions of HR

Recruitment and hiring: One of the primary functions of HR is to attract and hire qualified candidates for open positions within the organization. This involves posting job listings, screening resumes and applications, conducting interviews, and making job offers.

Onboarding and training: Once new hires are brought on board, HR is responsible for ensuring they receive proper onboarding and training. This includes introducing them to the company culture and policies, providing information about their job duties and expectations, and offering any necessary training to ensure they can perform their job functions successfully.

Benefits administration: HR is often responsible for managing employee benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. This includes ensuring employees are aware of their benefits options, enrolling new employees in the appropriate plans, and managing any changes or updates to employees' benefits.

Performance management: HR plays a key role in managing employee performance, including setting goals, providing regular feedback, and conducting performance reviews. They may also be responsible for developing performance improvement plans for employees who are struggling to meet expectations.

Employee relations: HR is often responsible for handling employee relations issues, such as workplace conflicts, harassment or discrimination complaints, and disciplinary actions. They may also be involved in resolving disputes between employees or between employees and management.

Compliance and legal issues: HR must ensure that the organization complies with all relevant laws and regulations related to employment, such as equal employment opportunity laws, wage and hour laws, and workplace safety regulations. They may also be involved in managing legal issues related to employment, such as discrimination lawsuits or labor disputes.

Employee engagement and retention: HR plays a key role in fostering employee engagement and retention by developing programs and initiatives that support employee well-being, satisfaction, and career development. This may include offering opportunities for professional growth and development, providing recognition and rewards for good performance, and creating a positive workplace culture.


Almost half of HR leaders see the retention of workers as their top challenge. Recruitment meanwhile has emerged as the second-biggest challenge for HR professionals, with just over a third (34%) citing it as a problem. (Globoforce)

Types of HR

  1. Strategic HR: This type of HR is focused on aligning HR policies and practices with the organization's overall strategic goals and objectives.
  2. Administrative HR: This type of HR is focused on managing the day-to-day administrative tasks, such as processing payroll, managing benefits, and maintaining employee records.
  3. Operational HR: This type of HR is focused on implementing HR policies and practices, such as recruitment, training, and performance management.
  4. Tactical HR: This type of HR is focused on executing specific HR initiatives, such as developing new training programs or implementing new compensation plans.

Human Resources (HR) Tools

Human resources (HR) tools are essential software programs and applications that help streamline HR operations and simplify administrative tasks. These tools are designed to automate repetitive tasks, minimize human errors, and improve productivity. Here are some of the most common types of HR tools used in modern organizations:

  1. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS): These systems help automate the recruitment process by tracking and managing job applications, resumes, and candidate data. ATS tools typically include features such as job postings, resume parsing, candidate screening, and interview scheduling.
  2. HR Information Systems (HRIS): HRIS tools are designed to store, manage, and analyze employee data, including personal information, job history, performance, benefits, and payroll information. HRIS tools can also automate various HR processes, such as time tracking, attendance, and benefits enrollment.
  3. Learning Management Systems (LMS): LMS tools are used to manage and deliver employee training programs. They provide online course materials, assessments, and tracking features that help organizations ensure compliance and improve employee skills and performance.
  4. Performance Management Systems (PMS): PMS tools are designed to help managers and employees track, monitor, and evaluate performance. They typically include features such as goal setting, performance reviews, feedback, and recognition programs.
  5. Compensation Management Systems: These tools help organizations manage and analyze employee compensation data, including salaries, bonuses, benefits, and equity. They help ensure fair and competitive pay practices, and support strategic decision-making related to compensation.
  6. Onboarding Software: Onboarding tools automate the employee onboarding process, including paperwork, orientation, and training. They help new employees integrate into the organization more smoothly and reduce the time and resources required for HR staff.
  7. Employee Engagement and Feedback Tools: These tools are used to collect and analyze employee feedback and engagement data, including surveys, pulse polls, and sentiment analysis. They help organizations measure employee satisfaction, identify areas for improvement, and develop retention strategies.
  • Human resources (HR) is a vital function in any organization responsible for managing the organization's human capital, including recruitment, training, compensation, benefits, and employee relations. 
  • The HR function has evolved from a primarily administrative role to a more strategic function focused on people and culture. 
  • The main functions of HR include recruitment and hiring, onboarding and training, benefits administration, performance management, employee relations, compliance and legal issues, and employee engagement and retention.
  • There are different types of HR, including strategic HR, administrative HR, operational HR, and tactical HR, each with a specific focus.
  • HR tools are essential software programs and applications that help streamline HR operations and simplify administrative tasks, including applicant tracking systems.


What is the difference between HR and Personnel?

Personnel refers to administrative functions like hiring and payroll, while HR includes employee relations, training, and strategic planning.

What are some common HR challenges?

Some common HR challenges include attracting and retaining top talent, managing employee engagement and productivity, complying with employment laws and regulations, and developing effective performance management strategies.

What are some emerging trends in HR?

Some emerging trends in HR include the use of artificial intelligence and automation to streamline HR processes, the focus on employee well-being and mental health, the use of data analytics to make more informed HR decisions, and the rise of remote work and flexible work arrangements.

What are some HR certifications?

There are various HR certifications such as PHR, SPHR, SHRM-CP, and SHRM-SCP that showcase expertise in the field of HR.

by Yevheniia Osmakova

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