The operative functions are those tasks or duties which are specifically entrusted to the personnel department under the general supervision of the personnel manager. These are concerned with employment, development, compensation, integration, and maintenance of personnel of the organization. The personnel department performs the following operative functions:
(i) Employment: The first operative function of the personnel department is to employ the right kind and number of persons necessary to achieve the objectives of the organization. This involves recruitment, selection, placement, etc. of the personnel. Before these processes are performed, it is better to determine the manpower requirement, both in terms of number and quality, of the personnel and assess the existing strength to understand the gap and plan accordingly. Recruitment and selection depend on the sources of supply of labor and the devices designed to select the right type of people for various jobs. Induction and placement of personnel for their better performance also come under the employment or procurement function.
(ii) Development: Training and development of personnel is a follow-up of the employment function. It is a duty of management to train each employee properly to develop his technical skills for the job for which he has been employed, and also to groom him for the higher jobs in the organization. Proper development of the personnel is necessary to increase their skills in performing their jobs and in satisfying their growth need. A good training program should include a mixture of both types of methods. It is important to point out that personnel department arranges for training not only of new employees but also of the old employees to update their knowledge in the use of latest advancements.
(iii) Compensation: This function is concerned with the determination of adequate and equitable remuneration of the employees in the organization for their contribution to the organizational goals. The personnel can be compensated both in terms of money as well as by receiving non-monetary rewards. Factors that must be borne in mind while fixing the remuneration of personnel are their basic needs, requirements of jobs, legal provisions regarding minimum wages, the capacity of the organization to pay, wage levels afforded by competitors, etc. For fixing the wage levels, the personnel department can make use of certain techniques, like job evaluation and performance appraisal.
(iv) Maintenance: Merely appointment and training of people is not sufficient; they must be provided with good working conditions so that they like their work and the work-place, and thus maintain their efficiency give their best to the enterprise. Working conditions certainly influence the motivation and morale of the employees. These include measures taken for the health, safety, and comfort of the workforce. The personnel department also provides for various welfare services which relate to the physical and social well-being of the employees. These may include the provision of a cafeteria, restrooms, counseling, group insurance, education for the children of employees, recreational facilities, etc.
(v) Motivation: Employees work in the organization for the satisfaction of their needs. In many of the cases, it is found that they do not contribute towards the organizational goals as much as they can. This happens because employees are not adequately motivated. The personnel manager helps the various departmental managers to design a system of financial and non-financial rewards to motivate the employees.
(vi) Personnel Records: Personnel department maintains the records of the employees working in the enterprise. It keeps full records of their training, achievements, transfer, promotion, etc. It also preserves many other records relating to the behavior of personnel, like absenteeism and labor turnover, and the personnel programs and policies of the organization.