top of page

What Does HR Do? A Breakdown of HR's Responsibilities and Duties, Explained in Layman's Terms

HR is a huge department in most organizations, and there's a reason for that. After all, there are so many tasks that fall under the HR umbrella. What does HR stand for again? You’ve likely heard this acronym for Human Resources used countless times in job interviews, company presentations, and even casual conversations with friends. But really, what does HR do? It can sound simple or vague, or it can sound like an endless list of responsibilities, but we’ll break it down into simple terms that you can understand.

Cartoon with HR Person showing what does HR do

What does HR Do? A Breakdown of Responsibilities

HR is the first department that new hires interact with, and it’s the last department an employee engages with when they leave the company. Many tasks fall under the HR umbrella, but let’s start with the basics.

Employee relations: These are the internal relationships that HR oversees. This could mean anything from managing employee disputes to organizing employee appreciation events.

Employee hiring and onboarding: This is probably the most crucial part of HR. It’s the department’s job to source and hire the best people for the job. Then, it’s the department’s job to help the new hires settle into their new role.

Employee training and development: The job of a good HR department is never done. As the company grows and evolves, so must its employees. HR is responsible for helping employees grow and develop their skills so they can continue to thrive in their roles.

Company culture and benefits: If you want to keep your best employees and attract the best talent, your company culture has to be strong. It’s HR’s job to make sure that your company is fostering the right work environment. HR also manages all the benefits, like health insurance and retirement savings plans, that come with being an employee at your company.

Hiring and Onboarding

How do you make sure that you’re hiring the best people for the job? First, you create a job description that outlines the responsibilities and qualifications for the role. You then post that job description on job boards or your company website, and you source candidates through referrals, social media, and other hiring methods. Once you have a few promising candidates lined up, it’s time to bring them in for an interview. An interview is a crucial part of the hiring process, but it’s easy to get caught up in the details and completely forget about the human element. For example, when you’re interviewing candidates, is the room temperature just right? Are you giving the candidates your full attention? Are they feeling comfortable and relaxed? If you want to hire the best people for the job, you need to make sure that your candidates feel comfortable and confident. A great way to do this is to follow a structured interview process.

Need some help in conducting a great interview? We suggest Paul Falcone's book "96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire."

Employee Training and Development

Your employees are your greatest assets, so it’s important to help them grow their skills and advance their careers. An easy way to do this is to institute a mentorship program. It’s also a good idea to host regular training sessions, so employees can learn new skills and build their resumes. You can do this in-house or outsource it to an expert, like an online training platform. You can also create learning plans for high-level employees so they can continue to advance in their roles. A learning plan is a contract between an employee and their manager, outlining several goals the employee would like to achieve over the next few months or years. It’s like a roadmap for career progression, and it helps the employee succeed in their role while also keeping their manager happy. The HR team is responsible for creating these learning and development programs.

Comic showing empty desk of HR

Company Culture and Benefits

What does your company stand for? Are you fostering a creative environment or one

that is data-driven? What are the core values of your company? It’s crucial to define these things before hiring anyone. It’s also crucial to communicate these values to your employees. You can do this through company events and social gatherings, but you also need to make sure your employees feel comfortable with their benefits. Does your company offer health insurance? A retirement savings plan? These are standard benefits that every company should offer, but there are a few benefits your company might offer that are a bit more unique. Is your company eco-friendly? Are you a dog-friendly office? These are excellent ways to foster a culture that is unique to your company. Once again, your HR team will be responsible for creating, implementing and maintaining these types of plans and standards.

Company Events and Wellness Programs

Company events are a great way to bring employees together and strengthen the bonds of the company culture. It’s also a great way to celebrate milestones, like the end of a big project or an employee’s birthday. However, you don’t need a special occasion to host a company event. There are many types of events you can host, such as happy hours, sports tournaments, or dance parties. It’s crucial to remember that the most important thing about hosting events is having fun. You can also implement wellness programs to promote good health and wellness among your employees. Many companies now offer gym memberships or on-site exercise classes for employees. These programs are designed to promote health and reduce health insurance costs for the company. Your HR team is your key point of communication for these programs.

Managing Employee Relations

Every company will experience some level of employee tension. It’s inevitable, but it doesn’t mean that it’s unmanageable. There are many ways that HR can manage employee relations. First, you can encourage employees to communicate their issues directly to their manager. It’s easy to get frustrated with co-workers and start complaining to your friends and family. Managers can often solve issues before they become major problems. It’s also crucial to recognize high-performing employees and offer rewards. This can be anything from a bonus to a free lunch once a month. These rewards help boost morale and give excellent employees a sense of belonging. They also send a message to lower-performing employees that being great at the job isn’t expected.

To Sum It All Up

So what does HR do? Hopefully, now you have a better idea! In short, HR is the mechanics behind the people!

If your business doesn't have the bandwidth to have its own internal HR department, you can certainly outsource your HR. Learn more about that here.

Band of Hands logo

Band of Hands is a one-stop shop "HR in a Box" solution that handles everything from hiring, onboarding, payroll, payroll taxes, HR, compliance and more for one flat low fee.

By using Band of Hands as your hiring/staffing partner, you can alleviate the burdens of trying to be an HR expert on top of being a business owner.

Ready to have the upper hand?

Contact us to learn more get started today at


bottom of page