Human Resources sector/Personnel Department/structure/functions

Human resources are the set of people, the human capital of an organization. HR is the sector that manages these people and, increasingly, uses technology for its analysis and decisions. Human Resources sector

The Human Resources sector is one of the best known within a company. Basically, every contractor needs to go through HR.

Despite this, not everyone would be able to explain for sure what Human Resources is or what it does.

Not only for workers, this is an important understanding for any entrepreneur, as the global view of how a company works is crucial to good management.

Check out the details about the Human Resources sector and ask all your questions about it!

What is the Human Resources sector

We can say that human resources are all the people who are part of a company. To avoid confusion, it is common to refer to people as human capital .

Speaking specifically of the sector to answer the question about what is HR, we have that Human Resources is the main area responsible for managing people in a company .

This management, in turn, is carried out through a set of techniques and methods that allow the organization to make the most of its human capital, also adding value to these professionals.

Increasingly, companies have come to understand that people are their most valuable asset. Taking care of them well and strategically is crucial to success.

Have you noticed how we’ve paid more attention to non-technical skills? The so-called soft skills have a strong appeal to the human side and the counterpart must also exist.

The role of HR within the company

With this, it is certain that the Human Resources sector fulfills practical tasks within the company, such as the recruitment and selection process . However, the way HR processes are conducted has changed.

There is a greater focus on adopting measures that create better working conditions for professionals.

Far beyond hiring, human resource management considers building a relationship between the company and its employees in order to obtain the best possible result from this partnership .

This implies that HR looks at the demands of the people who make up the organization’s staff and understands what to do so that the hired professionals can deliver the most of themselves.

Something that, as it should be, involves moving the company’s culture and practices to create a favorable environment for this achievement.

With all this, employers also gain by increasing their chances of attracting and retaining talent, in addition to counting on people who generate better results.

The difference between HR and Personnel Department

To fully understand what Human Resources is, it is necessary to know how to differentiate this sector from the Personnel Department.

In smaller companies, HR and DP are often merged into a single sector; which makes sense given the size of the organization and its staff.

Still, the actions of the sectors are related in some points and, for this reason, confusion is common. We need to undo it, though.

While Human Resources takes care of the recruitment and selection process , it is the DP that officializes a hiring taking care of all the paperwork involved, for example.

Let’s go to a more complete explanation of what each sector is, pointing out more clearly the difference between DP and HR .

Personal department

The Personnel Department is the area responsible for administrative-bureaucratic processes involving the management of employees in a company.

Another way of understanding this is considering that the DP is the sector that takes care of all the documentation from hiring a professional to his dismissal .

With this, the Personnel Department participates in the elaboration of the contract and guarantees its correct fulfillment.

It also participates in monitoring the journey, calculating salaries and benefits, as well as severance pay.

Furthermore, the DP is responsible for ensuring that the employer respects labor legislation with regard to signed contracts.

Human Resources

Chances are, with the DP presentation, you’re already thinking about the differences between industries based on what you already know about HR. Lets help!

The Human Resources sector is the one that “deals more directly with the management of human capital in organizations”.

Something that we can translate as the sector that directly takes care of people, of the human part of the relationship between employer and worker.

Is it clear to you that HR goes beyond bureaucracy and document management? The Human Resources sector is what sees professionals beyond their technical skills and contracts signed.

That’s why HR’s work focuses on professional profile, behavior, relationships, motivation, organizational climate and others.

We are talking about less tangible aspects than those that are under the responsibility of the DP.

Something that can be done by collecting data, analyzing situations and results, adopting methods and tools. All to better direct the performance of the company’s human capital.

The structure of the Human Resources sector

As we introduce more and more about HR, you’re likely to start looking at this industry more strategically.

With that, depending on the possibilities of your company, you may be thinking that it may be necessary to improve your organization’s Human Resources structure .

For that, first of all, you need to understand what this structure is. In other words, knowing what makes up HR.

Professionals involved

First of all, it is important to clarify that a company does not need to have professionals in each of the possible roles for HR.

We’ll present a complete picture, but it’s always important to stick to the possibilities and needs of your organization.

human resources analyst

The human resources analyst is the professional who will manage the sector’s processes, articulating the actions that are part of the HR routine.

The responsibilities of this professional can range from the recruitment and selection process to the adoption of strategies for the development of employees and teams.

Thus, it may be that the role of analyst is performed by a single professional or by a group of them. In any case, the specifics are described below.

He is responsible for the admission process from the announcement of the vacancy, through recruitment and interviews until the hiring process.

It is the analyst who studies the professional profile of candidates, defines the tools to be used in the selection process and is responsible for promoting cultural fit for each open position.

Among the duties of the Human Resources department is to define and review the existing positions and the salaries practiced by the company.

Thus, this analyst is the one who studies the roles and responsibilities of each position, as well as market practices, especially in relation to remuneration.

The objective is to ensure that the company offers a competitive salary that is adequate to the requirements of the position.

  • human development analyst

Have you ever heard that the Human Resources department is responsible for creating people training and development programs ?

To do so, the analyst needs to monitor the company’s employees and bet on tools such as performance evaluation .

The idea is to discover difficulties and improvement points that need to be worked on.

From there, the analyst can study the possibility of offering courses, lectures, integration events, team dynamics and others.

  • benefits analyst

Still, it is up to the analyst to manage benefits strategically.

Understand that this management is the way to manage the benefits offered to workers. Good benefits attract and retain talent, leading the company to reduce costs, gain productivity and improve the organizational climate.

With this, a company needs to choose well what it offers, considering the real needs of each employee and, of course, the impact that this offer has.

Recruitment and Selection Coordinator

It may also be that the company has a coordinator to take care of the recruitment and selection processes .

In addition to creating vacancies, this HR professional has the task of coordinating the sector team that participates in profile analysis, contact with candidates, application of tests and dynamics, etc.

Also, the coordinator is the one who issues reports about the selection processes so that the company becomes more and more assertive. Sometimes, he is also the one who carries out the dismissal interviews.

HR coordinator

As we will see later, the Personnel Department may be one of the subsystems of the Human Resources sector.

When the situation is defined in this way, a company can count on a coordinator whose function is to coordinate all the administrative bureaucracy that is in charge of the DP .

In other words, we are talking about the professional who will make sure that the rules and labor laws are being properly followed. What goes from hiring to dismissal, through contract renewals and retirement processes.

HR Manager or Manager

While Human Resources as a whole manages the company’s personnel, the HR manager manages the HR personnel .

Have you ever wondered what a Human Resources manager does? Its responsibility is to manage the routine of the sector, define which policies will guide the performance of HR, articulate the activities, manage the costs of the sector and more.

HR Director

In the Human Resources sector, a company may also have a director whose main mission is to look after all the company’s employees .

This means, among other things, that this professional will monitor performance, promote courses, verify the need for motivation or integration actions, and so on.

In addition to ensuring well-being, its objective is to create the best possible conditions for employees to perform well.

Business Partner

Companies that bet on a more strategic HR performance may choose to also count on a professional Business Partner .

The business partner is nothing more than an internal HR consultant who will analyze and guide the policies established by the company .

Its objective is to direct internal practices in favor of better results for the sector and for the company.

work safety technician

In some cases, companies are required to have an occupational safety technician on their staff.

When this obligation does not apply, an HR professional may assume responsibility for implementing programs and ensuring compliance with rules that prevent work-related injuries.

It is also this professional who has the task of keeping the company’s areas properly signposted, alerting to risks and reinforcing safety guidelines.

HR Subsystems

In addition to professionals, the Human Resources sector may have subsystems that may represent divisions in practice or just in the field of ideas.

Thus, it is possible that the HR of a company is formed in the following way. Follow up!

Personal department

Remember we said that DP could be one of the subsystems of HR? So it is.

By now, you already know that the Personnel Department is the one who handles the bureaucracy related to hiring and contracts signed by the company.

Recruitment and selection

The recruitment and selection process is possibly the best known among the Human Resources department’s assignments.

As we have seen, a company can count on a group of professionals just to take care of this task, so it is natural that it exists in the form of a subsystem as well.


Also, if there is a professional who will take care of positions and salaries, there may be a specific subsystem whose focus is the remuneration of workers.

You already know the objective: to ensure that the company has a remuneration system that is adequate to the functions performed, to the hierarchical levels and to the market.


Benefits management goes beyond choosing a fuel voucher for those who have a car and, therefore, do not use transportation vouchers .

What a company needs is for the Human Resources sector to act continuously to always ensure that the chosen benefits are really adequate.

With different job profiles within the organization, different benefits may be required and therefore there may be a subsystem that has this role in HR.

Union relations

With changes in labor legislation in recent years, Collective Agreements and Collective Bargaining Agreements prevail over the CLT .

Thus, the Human Resources of a company needs to establish and maintain good relations with the unions, considering that there are other instruments that regulate the relationship between employers and workers.

The idea is not just to ensure that the labor union reaches agreements with the company. It is also to ensure that the employers’ union defends the real interests of the organization in negotiations.

Workplace safety

Finally, we saw that HR can be responsible for safety measures at work . When this is the case, a specific subsystem can be created.

It is worth bearing in mind that it is not just accidents that need to be on the Human Resources sector’s radar.

The development of occupational diseases , including psychosomatic illnesses such as anxiety and depression, must also be prevented.

The main functions of the HR sector

HR is responsible for internal relationships. After all, it deals with people and the way they behave individually and in interpersonal relationships.

Thinking about this leads us to talk about the main functions or main routines of the sector. Something that will help you better understand the importance of Human Resources in a company.

Recruitment and selection

You already know that the recruitment and selection process is HR’s job. More than filling vacancies, the sector’s mission is to form a team of highly qualified employees aligned with the company’s culture .

This means that, to fulfill this task well, the Human Resources sector needs to be prepared to go beyond the raw analysis of resumes.

The professionals involved in this mission need to know the organization well, its values ​​and its objectives. Only then are they able to select candidates who identify with the company .

The inappropriate choice of new employees can increase turnover, in addition to harming the organizational climate and generating other setbacks that can be costly.

In turn, the right choice allows the company to hire talent, retain them and, even more importantly, extract the best performance from them.

With this, all the work that Human Resources has to do on a day-to-day basis becomes simpler if the sector is assertive in the recruitment and selection process.

Integration of new employees

Onboarding new hires, also called onboarding , is on the list of HR roles. We can define onboarding as:

“The process of welcoming, training and monitoring new employees in the company, aiming at their adaptation and the achievement of expected results . All this keeping in mind the company’s culture and ideals”.

The idea is that, no matter how qualified and aligned with the organizational culture new employees are, a strategic “push” for their adaptation is welcome.

To do this, HR interacts with other agents within the company, mainly because the leaders of each team have closer contact with the employees.

Thus, when working on onboarding , the Human Resources sector develops strategies considering not only newcomers, but the profile of their leaders, the dynamics of their teams, and so on.

Performance evaluation

HR deals with people and people are impacted, positively and negatively, by factors both internal and external to their work all the time. This means that your behavior and performance may vary.

From a top management perspective, employee productivity is a top concern, and performance appraisal can be like an X-ray for that issue.

Evaluation is a tool that Human Resources has to measure employee productivity and, from there, make decisions.

If everything is going very well, the performance evaluation can serve to indicate that it is possible to bet on bolder goals. If something is not going well, the assessment may indicate that it is necessary to take a reading of the situation at the moment.

The idea is that HR can identify if there is an individual problem and what can be done to solve it, or if there is a collective problem and how it should be addressed.

Therefore, it is necessary to know the different types of performance evaluation and use them strategically.

development and training

Imagine the following scenario: your company hired a high-quality professional and, for a long time, was quite happy with their performance.

It turns out that, as is common in life, this professional’s area of ​​activity has undergone changes and evolutions and the company began to notice a certain lag.

What to do? There are two options that we want to highlight:

  1. dismiss the employee and lose a good professional who knows the company’s routine and culture well;
  2. understand how valuable such an employee is and invest in development programs for their professional improvement.

One of the functions of HR is to create or seek people development and training programs , knowing that their application is not only in onboarding .

Strategies that focus on professional development help the company to have more qualified professionals and retain great talent .

This idea is valid not only when someone seems to be falling behind, but also when thinking about the career path of workers and the demands of the organization.

benefits management

Some benefits that companies offer their employees are provided for in labor legislation, some are not. In any case, it is up to HR to manage it.

A company can offer different types of benefits , choosing them based on the profile of its employees and in order to have them as a competitive differential.

In order for you to better understand this role of the Human Resources department, consider that, for some employees, a culture voucher may be more interesting than a discount at the gym close to work.

Understanding needs and making appropriate choices, as well as reviewing them from time to time, is HR’s job.

Strengthening organizational culture

Organizational culture is the set of values ​​and internal practices of a company that is reflected in its employees, uniting daily processes and the way they are presented.

It is this culture that forms the work environment and that, almost inevitably, directs the behavior of those who are part of the company’s routine.

If you think your company doesn’t have a well-defined organizational culture, pay attention! Cases like this open a gap for even the best professionals to feel lost and have their motivation impaired.

A company needs to know what kind of culture defines it so that it can count on professionals aligned with its mission, vision and values .

In addition to this definition, HR has the role of adopting strategies for the dissemination and strengthening of the organizational culture.

Something important for the alignment to be greater and produce better and better results, in a more natural way.

Strategies monitoring

From recruiting to cultural empowerment — and even the firing process, which we’ll talk about later — HR needs to be critical of its strategies.

The Human Resources sector is dynamic and that means that the way you do each of your functions may need significant adjustments or changes.

A company that adjusts its selection process can spend a lot of time being successful in hiring until it starts to have problems.

This may be an indication that new adjustments need to be made to keep up with the evolution of the universe of work and, of course, of people.

Remember when we talked about what a Human Resources manager does? This professional plays an important role in identifying failures in the team itself and in its routines.

Employee dismissal

Finally, we need to talk about contract termination processes.

Yes, the care with the documentation is in charge of the Personnel Department, but that does not mean that the Human Resources sector does not have responsibilities.

If there is a recruitment and selection coordinator, he may be tasked with conducting an exit interview . Something that allows HR to collect feedback that can be valuable for promoting internal improvements.

The evolution of HR over time

With all these descriptions of the main functions, you should be more clear about what human resource management is than when you started reading.

You may have better understood the whole focus on relationships and the human side that we highlighted. But know that it wasn’t always that way.

Over the years, HR has gone through evolutions that place it as one of the most decisive sectors for a company’s success. Let’s look at this timeline!

RH 1.0 and the start of it all

The Industrial Revolution transformed labor relations once and for all and it did not take long for this to demand some kind of attention.

With an increasing number of people working on the production lines , it proved necessary to have an internal organization to broker labor relations.

HR 1.0 emerged with the character of Industrial Relations and was focused on avoiding problems in the relationship between employers and workers .

Thus, he took care of the admission and dismissal processes and the correction in the way these processes were carried out, as well as the signed contract.

In addition, the concern was to ensure that the employer’s interests were met, with little attention being paid to the needs of workers.

RH 2.0 and the first changes

The situation began to change when the market realized that not paying attention to the two agents in the labor relationship – employers and employees – had bad consequences.

The lack of concern for workers, their professional growth and their well-being resulted in low productivity and high turnover.

The need for change led us to HR 2.0. We started to have a slightly more strategic sector within the company , with greater attention to employees.

HR 2.0, among other things, paid more attention to recruiting, training employees, taking care of the career path, inserting benefits and taking care of employee health.

Do you see how we already have an interesting evolution? For it becomes even more remarkable and relevant in the following phases of the evolution of the Human Resources sector.

HR 3.0 and technology

If you noticed correctly, HR 2.0 presented issues that look a lot like those that make up the Human Resources universe to this day.

With that, we can say that RH 3.0 did not come to turn everything upside down, but to show how the insertion of technological solutions can be positive for the sector.

By definition, we can say that HR 3.0 is the revolution in people management that, through technology and integration between the company’s sectors, results in greater productivity and the ability to collect and analyze data.

The moment of emergence of this HR coincides with the development of information technology. Thus, it provides for the replacement of spreadsheets by software, promoting a “modernization” of the sector.

Evolution also makes issues such as motivation and professional fulfillment stronger within organizations. An indication that HR is better divided between bureaucracy and people management .

With this, the Human Resources sector starts to act so that employees, as well as employers, see beyond money.

The definitions of purposes and other motivational techniques become present so that the worker “wears the shirt” of the company.

HR 4.0 and technological advancement

Next, we arrive at HR 4.0, the one that has intelligent software and automation technologies to enhance the performance of HR .

With this, the Human Resources sector can abandon part of the bureaucracy that consumes its time and effort, leaving it in charge of technology. Meanwhile, he dedicates himself more decisively to people management.

With the intensification of data collection, for example, HR has a better chance of performing accurate analyzes and determining appropriate strategies to achieve the company’s objectives.

The behavioral management of HR 4.0 employees leads to the improvement of positive indicators in a very broad way. That’s because, by taking good care of people, a company takes care of its success.

When the Human Resources sector embraces new technologies and introduces them into their routines, they rely on the intelligence of increasingly advanced solutions.

With that, you have what you need to become a truly strategic HR.

strategic HR

Having a strategy is having a plan and adopting methods and tools to achieve a certain objective.

When we talk about a company, its goal is to be successful, although the concept of success can vary based on the established mission and vision.

In any case, it may be that strategy sounds like a concept of exact, rational thinking. Something that moves away from the idea of ​​HR, an increasingly human sector. The truth, however, is different.

The use of increasingly advanced technologies allows the Human Resources sector to rely on data, numbers, indicators and metrics that serve as a basis for action and decisions.

This means that the sector can act in an increasingly planned and solid way, even dealing with people and all their volatility, to achieve results.

Based on this, we can say that a strategic HR is one that has innovative solutions to better direct its efforts in people management .

In other words, we are talking about a Human Resources sector that makes good use of the technologies available to it to spend less energy on bureaucracy and contribute more directly to the company’s success.

Something that involves getting even closer to people, doing analysis and using data to better direct actions and results.

Traditional HR versus Strategic HR

For you to understand better about this strategic HR, let’s compare what is considered traditional and this “new” HR.

traditional HR
  • It is mainly involved with administrative, legal and operational matters;
  • It focuses on managing the relationship between employer and employees, and on its bureaucracy;
  • Follows technical routines, such as admission and dismissal processes and payroll management;
  • It is carried out by professionals with a broad understanding of company processes and labor legislation.
strategic HR
  • It focuses on people and defines actions that favor the performance of the company as a whole;
  • It seeks to ensure the best use of the company’s talents through motivation, engagement and efficiency;
  • It works in attracting and retaining talent, developing professionals and ensuring their satisfaction;
  • It is carried out by professionals with a holistic view and focus on medium and long-term results.

Technology in people management

As you have seen, in order to have a strategic HR, a company needs to bet on technology to allow a change in the way the sector operates.

It’s been a while since we talked about HR 4.0, but there are still companies that are struggling with the changes that would take them away from more traditional HR and towards a more modern HR, 3.0.

Introducing new solutions and changing the way processes are done can be a challenge, but evolution is often part of the path to success.

The Human Resources sector itself needs to be prepared to make adaptations, just as the top management of an organization needs to be willing to support all this.

The key issue is perhaps to understand that the idea is not simply to rely on new technologies because the “old” needs to be replaced.

Different from that, it is understanding that HR deals with people who live in an increasingly digital world, based on data and intelligent technologies . This even has an impact on human behavior.

Thus, if the role of Human Resources is to manage employees in order to create the best scenario for them and the best results for the organization, running away from technology is not the way to go.

In short, taking advantage of new technologies goes beyond having a better equipped sector. It has to do with having HR more prepared to meet the new demands of people, companies and the market as a whole.

The list of technologies that will impact people management in the coming years only grows. In general, they are solutions “that can help in the automation of some of the main processes and, thus, create a healthier internal relationship”.

We speak, for example, of:

  • recruitment software;
  • virtual assistants;
  • cloud computing;
  • behavioral profiling software;
  • time tracking applications

It’s not that, to have a more strategic HR, your company needs to adopt all possible technologies in people management. Adaptation to the possibilities and needs of the organization is always important.

With study and a gradual change, HR and top management can define what type of solution should be adopted to make Human Resources a more decisive sector for the success of the organization.

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