Human Resource Management: Functions & Importance

Everything you need to know about human resource management: its functions and processes, additional tools you can use to perform HR job responsibilities efficiently as well as common challenges in human resource management and how to solve them

reunión de gestión de recursos humanos

What is Human Resource Management?

Human resource management is the process of acquiring, introducing, and keeping employees. The overall goal of HR is to ensure that the company has the best talent available. HR job responsibilities include finding highly qualified candidates, convincing them to work for the company, and helping them adjust once they’re hired.

Human Resource Management Functions

The five main areas or functions of human resource management are talent management, compensation and benefits, training and development, workplace policies, and workplace safety. Talent management is composed of the recruitment of new employees and the retention of current employees. While this aspect can overlap with compensation and benefits, it is focused on issues with the work itself, the people employees work with, and the company’s values, goals, and direction.

Performance Appraisal

A performance appraisal is a monthly, quarterly, or annual review of an employee’s performance and accomplishments. It is usually divided into what the employee succeeded in doing and what the employee failed to do. Regular performance appraisals help identify the skills and training gaps affecting employees’ work as well as what the company can do to close those gaps.

Performance Appraisal Forms

HR managers use performance appraisal forms to measure and benchmark employee achievement and initiative. These forms help evaluate the employee’s contribution to the business as well as identify career development opportunities and areas for improvement.

Employee Performance Appraisal Form

Use this digital form to rate the overall performance of an employee based on a total percentage score as well as include areas of commendation and areas requiring remediation. This employee performance appraisal form can serve as a scorecard to grade attendance, job knowledge, competence, quality of work, productivity, teamwork, team targets, and behavior.

Employee Performance Appraisal Template

Use this digital template to evaluate employees during annual appraisals. Record the employee’s activities during the appraisal period, summarize their performance, and list future objectives. Add the employee’s annual performance appraisal rating and their manager’s signature.

Employee Evaluation

Unlike a performance appraisal, which is a holistic overview of an employee’s actions, an employee evaluation is the formal assessment of an employee’s work against company standards. Additionally, it can serve as the basis for employee termination or advancement.

Employee Evaluation Forms

HR managers, team leaders, and employees themselves can use employee evaluation forms to measure, monitor, and record their progress towards individual, team, or company objectives. Team leaders may also use these forms to realign expectations between employees, other team members, and their employers.

Peer Employee Evaluation Form

Use this digital form to record coworker feedback. Ask peers to evaluate the employee’s collaboration with others and impact on the work environment. Assess if the employee takes responsibility for their mistakes and creates action plans to rectify them. Provide observations and recommendations to assist with the decisions surrounding the evaluation.

Employee Performance Evaluation Form

Use this digital form to assess an employee’s work ethic and attitude. Determine if their work practices meet the set success metrics such as key performance indicators (KPIs). Evaluate their technical, communication, and leadership skills. Indicate if the employee’s performance is unacceptable, needs improvement, meets expectation, or exceeds expectation.

Compensation and Benefits

When it comes to compensation and benefits, there needs to be a clear difference between the monetary amount stated in the employment contract, additional incentives, and components required by law. The monetary amount is the employee’s salary while examples of additional incentives are holiday pay and food allowances. The components required by law, on the other hand, are healthcare, maternity leave, and sick leave.

Workplace Policies

Workplace policies are company standards on employee behavior, the use of company property, and vacation periods. HR managers establish and enforce such rules in order to maintain a professional and respectful atmosphere within the company. 

HR Records

Human resource records are documents containing a list of employee activities and corresponding evidence. HR records help the company support regulatory requirements, create emergency plans, file insurance claims, and justify employee advancement.

HR Record Templates

Human Resource record templates are essential for medium to large-sized companies or even small companies with a robust HR department. HR record templates can make the documentation of HR functions such as onboarding, performance appraisal, and offboarding much easier.

HR Policy Record Template

Use this digital template to assess the HR needs of an organization. Note the existing human resource policies with regards to staffing, organizational structure, and career development. Review HR records of policy implementation. Add additional comments and final recommendations.

HR Employee Record Template

Use this digital template for collecting and organizing new hire information. Input basic details and take a photo for their online profile. Include a brief description of their educational background and previous work experience. Attach medical records and other pre-employment files. Verify the record with your digital signature.

Training and Development

Training and development varies for each company, job type, and job level. However, common aspects of this function are job skills training, which is sometimes included in the onboarding of new employees, and team-building activities conducted throughout the year. 

Competency Assessment

A competency assessment identifies an employee’s suitability for a given role, while performance appraisals and employee evaluations both assess the work of someone who has already been deemed suitable for the role. It helps bridge the gap between organizational strategic plans and existing employee competencies.

Competency Assessment Templates

A competency assessment template systematically measures the skills, knowledge, and training gaps for specific required roles within an organization. It should cover three key competency categories, which are technical, behavioral, and organizational. 

Included in the behavioral category is the employee’s problem-solving abilities and personal values, while the organizational category is composed of the employee’s leadership potential, ambition, and career motivation.

General Competency Assessment Template

Use this digital template to evaluate if candidates have met the expectations for a given role. Assess the candidate based on general factors such as efficiency, quality, and punctuality. Give an overall competency assessment rating and further recommendations.

Customer Representative Competency Assessment Template

Use this digital template to measure a candidate’s suitability for a customer representative role. Check if the candidate meets the criteria set by the company. Determine if the candidate’s personality and background would help or hinder their job performance in this role.

Employee Onboarding

Employee onboarding is the process of preparing recent hires for their new roles working in the company. The goal of employee onboarding is to provide them with everything they need to get started with the job. The materials could include login details to the online tools and platforms that the company uses and documents outlining company, department, or in-team best practices for a particular work task or assignment. 

Employee Onboarding Checklists

HR managers can use employee onboarding checklists to verify the collection of pre-employment documents and to confirm the administration of onboarding. Since employee onboarding is not constrained to the HR department and may involve the assistance of relevant personnel such as the recent hire’s direct supervisor and tech support, it is crucial for HR managers to have a method of collaboration with these other participants.

New Employee Onboarding Checklist

Use this digital checklist to observe if the proper onboarding procedures were followed. Coordinate with delivery or logistics to ensure that the employee has received the company-provided work materials. Provide a brief orientation on company policies, including attendance, conduct, and expectations. 

Safety Induction Checklist for Construction

Use this digital checklist to check if safety rules, responsibilities, and worker protection rights have been thoroughly explained and communicated to the construction new hire. Record completion of the worker’s documents and ask them to affix a digital signature to confirm that they have understood all aspects of the company’s safety policy.

Workplace Safety

While the workplace policies for companies operating in high-risk environments may be a part of their overall workplace safety programs, the key difference between the two is that workplace safety focuses on worker protection rather than worker regulation. Additionally, while workplace policies are set by the company, workplace safety is a legal requirement in most countries with a specific set of regulations to follow for each industry and region.

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Return to Work Forms

A return to work form is used to document information about employees coming from a prolonged period of absence (e.g. due to injury or sickness) and their ability to return to work and fulfill their job duties. During return to work interviews, HR managers complete a return to work form together with employees, so that they may outline how the employee could be reintegrated back into the workforce as seamlessly as possible.

Return to Work Interview Template

Use this digital template as a guide to help structure return to work interviews better. Document responses with open-ended questions. With this digital template, HR managers can take note of the following details pertaining to the employee’s absence:

  • the duration of absence including first day of absence, expected date of return, and actual date the employee returned to work;
  • the method used by the employee to notify of their absence; and 
  • the reason for absence, if related to accident/incident at work.
Return to Work Form Template

Use this digital template to help assess how the employee can be safely reintegrated back into the workforce as offices/work sites reopen or resume operations. With this digital template, HR managers can do the following:

  • customize the template according to best practices;
  • enable collaboration between key involved personnel and work on the return to work form together to discuss the best way to get an employee back to work;
  • easily send automated notifications to assigned personnel for an assigned task; and
  • allow digital sign-off with the employee on the agreed return to work plan.

Employee Offboarding

Employee offboarding is the process of helping employees transition out of working for the company. Whether the reason for their departure is resignation, termination, or retirement, a seamless separation is beneficial to both the former employee and the company.

Employee Offboarding Checklists

Using an employee offboarding checklist minimizes administrative errors and compliance violations, mitigates legal risks associated with employee termination, manages potential information leaks, facilitates the transfer of knowledge and responsibilities, and builds up the company’s reputation.

Employee Offboarding Checklist

Use this digital checklist to oversee compliance of offboarding procedures. HR professionals can use this as a guide to conduct a step-by-step check on all offboarding procedures from required paperwork to knowledge transfer and recovering assets.

Exit Interview Survey Template

Use this digital template to conduct an exit interview survey and gain valuable insights on organizational strengths and weaknesses. Gather feedback from former employees on their motivations for leaving and how these losses could have been prevented.

Challenges HR Professionals Face

Effective human resource management is essential in any business. However, at times it can be a struggle for human resource managers to function at their best. Here are some of the challenges HR professionals face and how to solve them:


HR professionals have to keep up to date with the latest government regulations on labor, corporate finance, and business management. They also have to know how to navigate the different government agencies and processes. These tasks are especially difficult due to the changing nature of government administration and lawmaking. 

How to Comply with Regulations: Create a checklist or reference document containing all the important government regulations. You can also create templates for standard processes such as onboarding and evaluations.


While leadership and employee engagement seem simple enough, the reality is that it can be difficult to get an actual measure of what leaders and employees are feeling. While numerical data is easier to analyze, solely relying on it for an accurate assessment of morale may not be effective. This is because quantitative-only surveys do not encourage employees and leaders to truly reflect on their experiences and describe them in detail.

How to Measure Engagement: Use a combination of quantitative and qualitative questions and response types when forming an employee/leadership engagement survey. Ensure that questions are easy to understand, thought-provoking, and sufficiently prompt the employee or leader to give meaningful answers.


Despite its importance in the workplace, communication remains to be a tricky issue, not only for HR professionals, but for non-HR workers as well. However, aside from one-on-one, team, and intrateam communication, HR professionals also have the responsibility of being in charge of company-wide (or regional) internal communication.

How to Manage Communication: First, create a database of relevant company information and organize by department or level of access. Next, plan out how you intend to deliver this information to the people who need to know. Finally, decide on the format and tone of the internal communication material. 

Using Human Resource Management Software

While there are five main areas or functions of human resource management, as stated earlier in this article, HR roles and responsibilities are ever-evolving. Though most HR departments are already using a digitized documentation system, it still pays to take a step back and reevaluate whether the current processes and platforms are as effective as they once were.

To help HR professionals, teams, and departments become more efficient, using a human resource management software like SafetyCulture can aid them in performing routine tasks and procedures as well as comply with laws and regulations. Aside from workflow automation, SafetyCulture can be used for team management and collaboration. 

Another human resource management software that HR practitioners can use to their advantage is SafetyCulture’s Training, an online learning platform that helps make it easier for HR to onboard, train, and reinforce best practices for new and tenured staff.

SafetyCulture Content Team
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SafetyCulture Content Team
The SafetyCulture content team is dedicated to providing high-quality, easy-to-understand information to help readers understand complex topics and improve workplace safety and quality. Our team of writers have extensive experience at producing articles for different fields such as safety, quality, health, and compliance.