What is an Efficient and Effective Human Resource Management Function?


What Does it Take to Create an Efficient and Effective Human Resource Management Function?

Let’s take a look at each area in turn.

Creating An Effective Function

The best Human Resource Management Functions use the digital age to efficiently manage human resources on a day to day basis. They do this by using state of the art software to plan, implement and improve the key functions of HR including:

  • Recruitment
  • Performance Management
  • Salaries and Compensation
  • Attendance and Absentee Management
  • Health and Safety
  • Learning and Development Management
  • Career and Succession Planning
  • Employee Surveys
  • Retirement of Employees

The best systems these days can be integrated with other online systems including Payroll, an LMS ( Learning Management System ), and an open API (Application Planning Interface).

Once you have transferred existing records on to the one system you can create a snapshot across the entire employee lifecycle and automatically prioritize key drivers of employee engagement to build strong teams, drive productivity and reduce attrition.

You can also choose certain elements of the system which can be available to specified people outside of the HR Function to encourage the use of Self Service Portals by Managers and even Employees.


The benefits of these systems is that they:

  • Reduce costs.
  • Save time.
  • Integrate HR activities with the rest of the organisation.
  • Align HR management with the management of the rest of the organization.
  • Provide an up to the minute, transparent view of all the key HR related information to the organization.

Systems vary and my advice would be to Google ‘ Top Ten HR Administration Systems ‘ as a starting point to choosing the most suitable for your organization.

One thing is for certain and that is, to be a really efficient Human Resource Management Function the use of such a system is a must!

Creating An Effective Function

The most effective Human Resource Management Functions understand that organizations these days have to be committed to Capability Management for their long term success.This means that to perform at their best they must focus on the key organizational capabilities they need to develop. Amongst these capabilities are the capabilities of its people.

Organizations therefore increasingly look to their HR Functions to help them to sustain and develop their human resource capabilities. They also look to their HR professionals to closely link the learning and development of its people to organizational performance. They recognise also that they need to use a wide variety of methods to do this. As a result they can develop employee knowledge and skills in ways which are flexible, powerful and cost effective.

Importantly they also make human resource capability building the joint responsibility of  the Human Resource Managrement Function and their Business Managers.This is vital to link capability building to organizational performance.

When prioritising the importance of human resource capabilities world class organizations cite customer demand and strategic importance as the two most important drivers. These of course result in long term competitive advantage.

Nowadays it is a top three priority for these world class organizations. Therefore it has to be a top three priority for the Head of an effective Human Resource Management Function in their organization!

So what does human resource capability development entail?

Firstly you need to identify the most important human resource development capabilities. A recent survey conducted by McKinsey and Company identified the following as the most important capabilities for world class organizations.

  • Leadership Skills
  • Strategic Thinking and Planning
  • Operations Management
  • Marketing
  • Sales

Interestingly these organizations ranked their front line employees above senior executives as their spending priority.

In my experience the best organizations use a blend of learning and skill development methods including the following:

  • On the job tutoring
  • Instructor Led Training ( ILT ) Courses
  • Coaching and Mentoring
  • Online Courses ( Individual and Group based )
  • Whole Training Programs
  • Mobile Learning ( Videos, Blogs, Podcasts, Webinars, Virtual Classrooms, Articles, On The Job Aids etc. )
  • Experiential Learning ( Job Shadowing, Secondments, External Training Events and Workshops )
  • Communities of Learning ( e.g. Internal Academies ).

As I previously said the key to sustainability and development of human resource capabilities is the co-ownership of the above interventions between HR and the organization’s managers.

So as the Head of an effective Human Resource Management Function what do you need to do to support human resource capability development. Here are some suggestions:

  • Create, together with line managers, a learning environment in which employees are truly engaged in their work and are looking to continuously develop their knowledge and skills.
  • Together with line managers develop resources, practices and processes for capability building.
  • Working with line managers imbed best practice sharing in the business ( e.g. through individual and group sharing )
  • Include the achievement of learning objectives into performance management systems.
  • Create and manage a knowledge sharing platform to facilitate continuous learning and development across the organization.
  • Ensure that competency frameworks and learning journeys/pathways are aligned to the human resource capability development priorities of the organization.
  • Offer certification programs as an extra incentive for employees.
  • Ensure the availability of world class learning and development resources easily accessed by managers and employees.
  • Reward managers explicitly for coaching, training and developing their people.
  • Reward employees for completion of their personal development plans.


In summary, being efficient as a Human Resource Management Function is about ensuring that the day to day HR Management needs of the organization are met.

Being effective is about developing the organization’s human resource capabilities in line with organizational priorities.

The closer the HR Function works with the organization’s directors and managers and partners with them the better.