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Human resources

Human resources is a key department for many companies. Bankrate explains.

What is human resources?

The human resources department of an organization or business recruits, evaluates and hires new employees. Human resources also provides services related to  employee compensation, benefits and training.

Deeper definition

The human resources department, commonly referred to as HR, handles everything related to a company’s employees, including monitoring for potential legal issues pertaining to employee management or behavior. HR also stays current on employment laws that affect how the company should treat its workers and how employee behavior might affect the company from a legal standpoint.

Human resources also handles payroll and makes sure a company follows state and federal tax laws in paying and taxing its employees.

In some organizations, the human resources department solicits employees’ feedback in an effort to create a work environment conducive to productivity and high morale. Human resources addresses employee complaints, and implements employee development programs to help workers improve their skills and employee assistance programs to help them deal with difficulties that may arise in their personal lives.

Human resources departments also handle long-term duties such as succession planning and measuring and evaluating the cost and efficiency of employee-related programs.

Many organizations have their own in-house human resources department; other companies outsource HR duties. There are several different types of HR outsourcing companies, each of which provides a broader or narrower scope of services. Some handle every aspect of human resources while others may offer only administration of health care benefits, for example. Other HR providers also handle a wide range of other business and administrative duties for which companies hire them.

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Human resources example

When Jack applied for a job at a large supermarket chain, he submitted his application and resume to the company’s human resources department. The HR department screened all applicants for the job for experience and several other criteria. Jack met the requirements, so HR called him in for an initial interview. HR then set him up for an interview with his prospective boss at the grocery chain, which went well. HR then conducted a background check on Jack and called his references. After Jack accepted a job offer from the company, he spent most of his first day in human resources, filling out tax forms, signing up for the company’s 401(k) plan, signing up for direct deposit of his paycheck, and undergoing orientation on company policies before he reported to his actual job site.

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