The Internal Structure of an HR Department

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: External Factors Impacting HRM

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 1:50 Recruiting
  • 2:21 Training & Development
  • 2:51 Compensation &…
  • 3:22 Health & Safety
  • 4:00 Employee & Labor Relations
  • 4:50 Other Considerations
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

Human resource management serves a vitally important function in most organizations. In this lesson, you'll learn how an organization may structure its human resource management functions within the organization.

Function and Structure

Tanya has recently been hired as the new Vice President of Human Resources for a tech company that is going through some growing pains. The company's growth is outpacing its ability to adapt and operate effectively. Tanya was brought in to redesign and run the company's human resources department to make it more efficient in light of the company's growing size and needs.

One of the most important decisions that Tanya must make is to determine the new structure of the human resource department. Organizational structure is the manner in which the activities of the organization are organized, controlled and coordinated in order to achieve an organization's goals. Currently, the human resource department is run by a small group of people that pretty much serve as a jack-of-all-trades with no areas of specialization. The current structure is very flat with no clear lines of authority.

Given the growth of the company and growing demands placed on human resources, Tanya decides it's time for specialization by function. She's going to divide the human resource department into separate units that specialize on key human resource management functions. In other words, function will govern the structure. This will allow generalists to become specialists and should increase productivity and quality.

She also plans to use a hierarchical structure where power is centralized at the top. Information flows up to her, and instructions will flow down to each unit. Of course, Tanya will be at the top of the HR structure, overseeing and coordinating all of its separate parts. She'll appoint a supervisor to head up each unit that reports directly to her. She'll also delegate a certain amount of power to each unit supervisor to avoid micromanagement.


Tanya will create a unit that specializes in recruitment, which is a function of staffing. Staffing is making sure the company has the right number of employees with the right knowledge and skills in the right place in the organization. The recruitment department will seek to fill the vacancies within the organization. It will advertise vacancies, screen applicants, perform initial interviews, undertake necessary background checks, extend offers of employment and assist in the onboarding of new employees.

Training and Development

Tanya wants to have a separate training and development unit in her HR department. These HR specialists will focus on running new employee orientation. It will develop and implement a program of continuous training and education for employees to keep their skills sharp and up to date. The unit will also coordinate with the compensation and benefits administration unit regarding any reimbursements offered to eligible employees for outside education and training.

Compensation and Benefits Administration

Tanya also wants to create a unit that specializes in compensation and benefits administration. This unit will be responsible for researching and recommending a comprehensive compensation and benefit system. It will also handle payroll, payroll tax administration and benefit administration. It will be responsible for benefit education and managing the company's open enrollment period of benefit elections, such as health plans and participation in the company's 401(k) plan.

Health and Safety

The health and safety of employees are within the purview of human resource management. A health and safety unit's responsibilities may include researching and developing health and safety policies for the company that are in compliance with state and federal laws and regulation. The unit may also assist in the training of employees in appropriate health and safety procedures and make recommendations regarding health and safety equipment and clothing, such as hardhats and respirators. Of course, some companies have greater health and safety concerns than others depending on the nature of their business. A chemical plant has different health and safety concerns than an accounting firm.

Employee and Labor Relations

Tanya also plans on forming an employee relations unit. This is the unit employees will go to with problems or concerns. The unit will hear and address employee grievances and take any appropriate action. For example, if an employee believes she has suffered an adverse employment action from her manager or is being subjected to a hostile workplace environment that violates employment laws, the employee can lodge her grievance with this unit.

While Tanya's company doesn't have to contend with a union, many companies do have unions acting as the sole representative of employees regarding the conditions of their employment. The labor relations unit of a company is usually responsible for representing the company in dealings with the union and in the administration of the collective bargaining agreement between the company and the unionized employees.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account