Frequently asked questions

Your questions answered

What are basic HR functions?

Basic HR functions are the key activities that the human resources (HR) team in an organization needs to carry out in order to acquire and sustain a workforce. Today, the role of HR is changing rapidly and going beyond these tasks to add far more strategic value and insight. HR and People teams have been able to automate and streamline many repetitive tasks, improving efficiency and accuracy and liberating themselves to focus on more valuable activities.

HR teams have historically been responsible for a large amount of data administration – maintaining employee records in a secure and compliant way, keeping policies up to date and dealing with payroll and benefits. Today, digitally empowered People teams use process automation, HR software and self-service systems to run basic processes and store data securely. They are responsible for making sure these processes are effective.

In a typical 21st century organization, HR and People teams spend much more time working on a variety of projects that support business goals:

Workforce experience management

A crucially important function of today’s HR and People team. Using analytics and People Science, HR leaders identify the experiences that their employees want and need. They work to make the everyday experience convenient and motivating, such as empowering employees to work on the go with mobile accessibility, communicating clearly and relevantly to employees and recognizing great work, to motivate and inspire the whole team.

Recruitment and talent acquisition

Finding and hiring the best people in a timely way, to meet business demand. This includes advertising for candidates, screening applications, conducting interviews, giving feedback, making job offers and on-boarding new starters.

Performance and talent management

This means getting the best from the workforce – spotting future leaders, building strong teams and championing a plan to develop and manage skills effectively across the workforce. Enabling peer-to-peer recognition, cascaded objectives and continuous review processes may be part of this.

People analytics

The engine room of modern HR. Teams monitor key metrics with on-demand reports and dashboards. They use data insight to identify workforce trends and discover the underlying reasons for them. They test hypotheses to understand how improvements and changes in workforce experience or company policy could affect key metrics like retention and productivity.

Our research uncovers insights from 500+ HR leaders on how they’re dealing with the HR to People transformation in the digital world of work – and how they’re using technology to get ahead.

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