There are a number of different aspects to human resources management; but ultimately, HR professionals are primarily concerned with personnel management. Companies hire HR professionals to oversee employ relations, to handle the hiring and firing of employees and to ensure that the company complies with state and federal labor laws.
HR employees are normally the first people you have contact with when you apply for a job at a new company, or a different job at your current employer. Some companies manage staffing by proactively recruiting, which means new hires are sought out even before job openings arise. Other companies manage staffing by a reactive hiring strategy that involves waiting until employees leave before hiring new recruits. The hiring strategy of a particular firm largely depends on the company's budget, as some firms cannot afford to hire surplus employees, while others cannot afford to have vacant positions. HR managers must find a way to balance the budgetary constraints with the company's staffing needs.
Most companies attempt to foster a professional work environment within which employees are treated fairly. However, even in the most equitable work environments, disputes arise from time to time, and HR managers must develop effective ways to handle such situations. Companies must also have rules in place pertaining to employee pay scales, performance evaluations and disciplinary action. A company with a good HR management structure can ensure that employees are paid appropriately, and that all employees are subject to the same rules and regulations, so that no one can claim to have been mistreated.
Federal and state laws prohibit the discrimination of job applicants on the basis of factors such as race, religion, age and gender. In order to ensure laws are complied with, HR personnel must devise ways of tracking data related to job applicants, and take appropriate action if hiring managers appear to discriminate against certain groups or individuals. HR departments must also maintain personnel files and represent the company when civil suits are brought by disaffected employees.
HR departments have to liaise with other departments of the company to ensure that all eligible employees have access to such benefits as health insurance and pension plans. In order to facilitate communication between the company and employees, many HR departments create internal newsletters or HR websites on which employees can find information relating to all aspects of HR management and employee relations. HR departments are also responsible for developing and enforcing employee codes of conduct which instruct employees on how to act while in the workplace, as well as how to conduct themselves when representing the firm at other locations.