Human Resources: Definitions and Functions

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Human Resources: Definitions and Functions

Contrary to popular belief, the Human Resources department does not only deal with recruitment, payroll and dismissals. Human Resources management actually covers many other aspects, so much so that we can literally speak of “resources for humans”. Human Resources is responsible for managing the many needs of the company’s employees, from financial matters to legal issues.

Are you interested in a career in “HR”? Let’s take a look at what you need to know.

What is Human Resources?

The Human Resources department of a company manages all aspects of the personnel organization: recruitment, training, career follow-up, compensation programs and the management of employee benefit plans. Human Resources places human capital at the heart of the organization: it ensures that the best employees are selected, that they are given the opportunity to develop in order to increase their skills, and that they are encouraged to stay in order to ensure the company’s long-term survival.

Human Resources works closely with the company’s management because they share the same objectives and must respond to the same challenges: attracting the best talent but also stimulating collective innovation so that the work environment is both more pleasant and more efficient.


What are the areas of human resources

Human Resource Management (HRM) involves a range of practices aimed at developing, integrating and supporting employees within the organization, based on the premise that their development and well-being can lead to improved organizational performance. There are three essential pillars of human resources: personnel management, personnel integration and social relations.

Staff management

Fascinated by strategy, Risk Managers carry out crucial analyses for the strategic organization of companies. The positions usually involve insurance companies, banks, or R&D consultancies and require a thorough understanding of financial risk factors. Innovative and requiring multi-talented profiles, this business requires extensive knowledge of regulations.

Staff integration

Contrary to what this term might suggest, theintegration of personnel does not only concern the “onboarding” phase, but all the elements that contribute to involving and motivating the employee throughout his or her career in the company: training, career management, profit-sharing and participation.

The social relations

The quality of social relations has an impact on the social climate and therefore plays a major role in the company’s performance. The social relations concern both the professional elections (Social and Economic Committee), collective negotiations (concerning employees’ social rights), management of individual relations (disciplinary procedures, litigation, etc.) and crisis management (strike, social plan, etc.).

Human Resources tasks and functions

The management of an HR department includes multiple tasks essential to the smooth running of the company on a daily basis:

  • Payroll management:pay slips, incentives, social declarations, calculation of social charges…
  • Administrative management: drafting of employment contracts, termination of employment contracts, updating of personnel files, retirements…
  • Human resources development : recruitment, training plans, career management, mobility, skills assessment.
  • Litigation management : disciplinary procedures, arbitrations, negotiations…

      Why choose the Human Resources profession?

      All Human Resources professions have in common that they have a positive impact on the lives of employees. HR professionals help employees be the best they can be, build their careers and thrive in the workplace. Working in HR also gives you the opportunity to improve employee well-being and productivity, creating a more positive work culture.

      Working in Human Resources offers you the unique opportunity to act for the company and influence its organization, particularly through your recruitment strategies and training choices.

      The digitalization of certain HR functions is leading the profession to evolve (video-conferencing interviews, online training, etc.), but technology will never replace the human element. The new tools even allow HR professionals to focus more on high value-added missions. The emergence of teleworking also makes the role of HR even more vital, more than ever at the heart of company policy. The need for new skills is driving the market and offering a wide range of opportunities for future recruits.

      Human Resources jobs

      Human Resources management is a cross-functional function that calls on many skills and profiles. There are more than 30 different professions, in technical, administrative and strategic categories. These include:

      • The Human Resources Manager which defines the overall recruitment strategy and manages the evolution of skill requirements.
      • The CSR Manager (Social ResponsibilityThe company’s sustainable development policy (environmental, social, economic and ethical issues) is implemented by the company.
      • The training manager which defines the collective and individual training plans for employees, taking into account the company’s strategic orientations.
      • The recruiting officer who oversees internal or external hiring depending on the skills required.
      • The head of social relations who represents the management in salary negotiations and all social and legal matters.

              What are the salaries in Human Resources?

              The salaries offered are of course very variable depending on the functions performed and the size of the company, which can be a large international group as well as a small SME. The lowest salaries are for support functions, and they rise as responsibility increases.

              Some examples of compensation at the beginning of a career (gross annual salary) :

              Payroll assistant: 26 K€

              Training assistant: 30 K€.

              Recruitment officer: 31 K€.

              Career and Development Officer: 32 K€.

              HR Communication Manager: 45 K€.

              Payroll manager: 48 K€.

              CSR Manager: 50 K€.

              Personnel administration manager: 52 K€.

              Head of social relations: 55 K€.

              HRD: 86 K€.

              (source : glassdoor)

              What education is required for a career in Human Resources?

              It is quite possible to work in Human Resources after a diploma of Bac+2 to exercise functions of assistance in management and administration. Some specialized Masters can also allow you to work in social law, career management or training.

              Our Master of Science in Human Resources and Change Management on the other hand, will allow you to access more qualified jobs (HRD, HR Manager, HR Development Officer, etc.). The ideal way to acquire specific knowledge and aim for positions of responsibility.

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