As your business grows, it’s likely that you’ll want to recruit HR professionals with the expertise to steer your growing workforce in the right direction. But what is a HR department and how do you go about creating one? 

In this guide we’ll look at the roles and responsibilities of the HR department, how to set up an HR department from scratch, and how to build your HR department over time by recruiting the right people to work in the role. 

What are the roles of the HR department?

Whilst the core principle of a HR department involves stringent compliance and implementation of company and governing body policies, there are a wide range of key responsibilities of HR personnel, including: 

  • Compliance with employment regulations 
  • Dealing with employee disputes and complaints 
  • Hiring and termination policies 
  • Implementing performance policies 
  • Managing salaries, bonuses and incentives 
  • Monitoring employee health and welfare 
  • Organising employee training 

‘Human resources’ refers directly to a company’s employees, therefore if any element of the company affects your employees, then your HR department should be involved. This can include planning, setting policies and executing those processes and procedures. 

Do companies have to have a HR department?

It’s not essential to have a HR department, but it becomes more necessary as your company grows. 

There are significant benefits to having a dedicated HR team whose sole purpose is to manage your personnel from a human perspective. 

You gain an independent (but internal) voice to offer a professional opinion on disputes and policy problems, while demonstrating to your employees that you are prepared to deal with issues outside of the usual line management hierarchy. 

How to build a HR department from scratch

Building a HR department is about recruiting the right people and adding to that capability over time, as well as keeping pace with new developments in the profession.

How to set up a HR department

Your HR department can begin from a single individual, even working part-time if your organisation is still in its infancy. Look for a dynamic and capable HR professional with proven experience, who can excel in the role with quite a lot of autonomy. 

How to structure a HR department

As your HR department grows, make sure you give it proper structure. For instance, you might have a dedicated payroll officer and a separate hiring manager, both reporting to the HR director but with very different roles and responsibilities. 

How to improve a HR department

Look for gaps in your HR department, such as a need for more finance expertise, or a demand for benefits like employee counselling. Also stay aware of emerging trends like AI and automation whilst looking to hire tech-savvy HR personnel to keep pace. 

How to recruit leading HR professionals

When you recruit leading HR professionals, you’re hiring people who have worked in the sector for their whole careers – so treat their expertise with respect. You can find our most recent salary survey for more information on HR salary benchmarking.  

Focus on writing a clear job description, with specific roles and responsibilities listed. Avoid nebulous phrases like “other duties as required”. Your HR personnel want to know exactly what is expected of them. 

At the interview, ask about results and past challenges, for example a past dispute that led to a change in policy, and how the individual handled this in their HR role. 

Remember, your HR team will play an important role in hiring your future personnel throughout your business – put the effort into your HR recruitment process, and you’ll reap the rewards across your organisation. For any further information on how we work with our clients or how we can help you with your HR recruitment process, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.