Key Elements of HR

Whether you’re creating a job description for an existing human resources person, or considering hiring your first HR manager, it’s a good idea to start with the basics. The duties performed by an HR manager or HR department may vary according to the size of the organization, but the key elements of human resources are often found in HR departments large and small.


Payroll is usually an essential element of any HR department, regardless of the organization’s size. HR duties related to payroll may include gathering of employee information for payment and tax purposes, adjusting employee pay for taxes and other withholding, and creating and issuing paychecks or direct deposits. Even when issuing checks or creating direct deposits for employment payment is outsourced or contracted, HR personnel are often responsible for gathering this information and delivering it to the business contracted to deliver employee payment.


Administration of benefits is another key element of HR in most organizations. Duties related to administration of benefits may include tracking vacation and sick time, processing paperwork related to leave requests, and gathering and processing employee information in relation to health insurance and retirement benefits.

For many employers, an invaluable element of human resources is the responsibility of HR departments to keep the organization in compliance with legislation that affects the workplace. HR departments are often responsible for informing employees of the federal and state rights as related to employment, such as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) regulations, Equal Opportunity Employment legislation and other legislation that affects employees. HR departments are also tasked with documentation related to employment legislation, including processing employee claims.


Many duties related to personnel, including hiring, firing and performance evaluation actions, are among the key elements of HR departments. HR managers and/or employees are often involved in every step of an employee’s tenure with an organization, from processing and tracking documents related to new hires, to employee performance evaluations, to employee disciplinary procedures, and to the firing of employees. In many cases, HR is responsible for keeping personnel files that document these employment actions.