HR Done Right: Understanding Your Business’s HR Functions

Employees are always a company’s biggest assets. The growth of your business depends on the effectiveness of your employees, as well as your company’s human resource management. Many Israeli companies, especially the more successful corporations, have relied on this approach for years. Small and medium-sized businesses are now following suit.

Thanks to third-party solutions and cloud-based systems, gaining access to the best HR resources and tools is now easier than ever. Before you start browsing through the available solutions in search for a suitable one for your business, however, it is important that you understand the HR functions that must be fulfilled.



At the top of the list of HR functions, we have recruitment. This is the most basic HR function that every business must utilize in order to construct a strong team. Before you can start growing your business with the support of employees and team members, you must first find suitable team members to recruit.

The recruitment process is further divided into two stages: talent acquisition and onboarding. The latter is a crucial process that must not be skipped, especially if you want team members to understand the internal cultures and be a part of the business from day one.

Learning, Performance, and Benefit Management


The next part of the process is tracking employees as they work for the business. Since employees are your biggest assets, you need to take a more active role in helping them grow with the business. This means providing employees with suitable training that will help them expand their skills and perform better in real life.

Next, employees must be kept in check. There are systems designed to help establish the most suitable performance management for your business. Every type of business is different, so you want to have a performance management solution that works well based on the employees you have, the operations you’re dealing with, and other specific challenges.

For the performance monitoring system to work, an extra layer is also needed. That layer is benefited management. All systems, from basic benefits to promotions and bonuses, are all great instruments that can be used to help employees stay motivated and effective in their roles.

You have systems such as SAP SuccessFactors HR and Dayforce HCM with all the instruments you need to manage these HR functions. Visit to find out more about the available HR solutions for the job.

General HR Functions


Aside from the specific functions, it is also necessary to put general HR management functions in place. This type of functions tracks your employees from hire to termination. It provides a more detailed look at the employee’s journey in the company and helps you keep a comprehensive record of every part of that journey.

A supporting system with general HR functions is useful for tasks such as evaluating your company’s HR management as a whole. You can’t expect to recruit better team members and improve your business’s HR management without learning from past mistakes. Now that you have the instruments to help you, it is time to start looking at the available options and review the best HR management solutions for your business.

Financial mistakes can haunt estate executors

Two chores that most people will gladly put off are writing a will and keeping it up to date to reflect changed circumstances. However, when you do get around to writing and revising your will, consider carefully when you select or replace an executor—the legal term for the person who is the key figure in the settlement of your estate.

The executor’s job is a potentially time-consuming and demanding position that requires a lot more work than many people realize. An executor has to perform four major functions.

The first chore is to assemble and value assets. It can be a formidable task to put together records of such assets as bank accounts and automobiles; loans to family members or others; traditional and Roth IRAs, 401(k)s and other retirement plans at work; brokerage accounts; mutual funds; insurance policies; and other property like real estate, jewelry or artworks. Add to that list gathering information about mortgages and other debts, tax returns and the location of safe-deposit boxes.

The next responsibility for executors is to pay all bills and charges, a task that often requires professional help, as it includes the timely filing of returns for federal estate taxes and state inheritance taxes, final income taxes for the deceased and current income taxes for the estate, as well as payment of those levies.

After executors have valued assets and paid bills, they are able to distribute what is left of the property in accordance with the will.

Their final responsibility is to submit an accounting to the court (usually designated probate and sometimes called orphan’s or surrogate’s) for everything that they have done.

Many executors have learned the hard way that they are not off the hook for mistakes just because they rely on the counsel of attorneys, accountants or other professional advisers. When something goes wrong with, say, federal taxes, the IRS bills the executors, because they are personally responsible when assets are distributed and taxes remain unpaid or forms are filed late.

The need to obtain proper tax advice was made expensively clear to the son and daughter-in-law of Henry Lammerts, who had designated them as his executors. On Lammerts’  death, his son took over leadership in settling the estate. Although under the impression that a tax return had to be filed for his father, the son was unaware that it was also necessary to file an income-tax return for the estate. This is where matters stood until his accountant discovered that no return had been filed reporting income received by the estate. The filing was eventually made seven months after the due date.

The IRS assessed a sizable late-filing penalty and the usual interest charges. The executors argued that they were new at this sort of thing and had relied on their accountant and the estate’s lawyer to do whatever was necessary.

But the accountant, in his own defense, testified that there was nothing in his past services to the family to suggest that, on his own initiative, he would have to file an income-tax return for the estate. Similarly, the estate’s lawyer pointed out that neither of the executors had asked him for a rundown of the responsibilities attached to being an executor. Consequently, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld imposition of the penalty.

Julian Block is a syndicated columnist, attorney and former IRS investigator. He is on the Web at

Think Green Tips

Ten ways to begin greening your synagogue from Barbara Lerman-Golomb, associate executive director of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life:

  • Switch to cost-effective and energy-efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
  • Buy recycled paper products. Use both sides of the paper, then recycle it again.
  • Precycle. Buy products that are in recycled packaging or that can be recycled, such as cans, glass, plastic, paper and cardboard.
  • Minimize use of disposable plates, cups, paper towels, napkins, plastic and silverware for synagogue functions. Avoid using Styrofoam products.
  • Turn thermostat down a few degrees in the winter and up a few degrees in the summer.
  • Encourage congregants to carpool to religious school and to turn off engines while waiting to pick up children.
  • Buy Energy Star (energy-efficient) appliances. Turn off lights and office equipment, such as copy machines, when not in use.
  • Buy flow restrictors for sinks and water-saving toilet tank dams.
  • Use nontoxic cleansers.
  • Don’t use pesticide on the lawn and use a nontoxic integrated pest management system.


A Drink from the Same Cup

If the pursuit of peace in the Middle East will not unite the parties concerned, then one life-sustaining element may. Israeli, Arab and American researchers and engineers have come together to find ways to produce more potable water for agricultural use, as demands for supplies of Middle Eastern and Californian freshwater continue to increase.

“Urban demands [for water] are increasing with the increase in population and standard of living,” said Uri Shamir, head of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology’s Water Research Institute, a multidisciplinary research center that focuses on the science, technology, engineering and management of water. Fresh water that has been used for agriculture, said Shamir, must be shifted to the cities.

“If we want to maintain agriculture the way we have at the moment, we need water and more water,” said Raphael Semiat, head of the Rabin Desalination Laboratory at the Technion, a laboratory funded by Los Angeles businessman Rob Davidow, who’s a world leader in waste-water and sea-water desalination R & D.

With water resources limited throughout the Middle East, the Palestinian-Jordanian-Israeli Water Project has been launched to research new, safe, cost-efficient methods to irrigate crops. One of the more popular methods researched and employed by the project’s committee, which is composed of scientists from the Technion, Ben-Gurion University, Jordan’s Royal Scientific Society and the Palestinian A-Najjah University, is waste-water recycling, a method that purifies waste-water with minimal harm to the environment.

Soon, even this process will not suffice, and the more expensive sea-water desalination process will supplant it — especially in California and Israel, where sea water is abundant.

“It’s a solution that is not free of difficulties, but it is basically on your own territory, using an infinite source — the ocean,” said Shamir, who is currently conducting research in management of disputed international waters at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Sea-water desalination works in one of two ways: a thermal process, which evaporates and then condenses clean water vapor, and water membranes, which filter water through tiny pores about 0.1 micrometers small.

Researchers from the Rabin Desalination Laboratory have worked with I.D.E. Technologies (formerly Israel Desalination Engineering) of Ra’ananna, Israel and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California who have joined with Parsons Corporation of Pasadena and Reynolds Metals Co., to design a state-of-the-art, generic desalination facility that could purify up to 80 million gallons a day using the thermal process. After two years of R & D, the design of the 540-foot tower is now complete, and the partners are looking for investors to implement the design and construct a plant. The most viable locations for the plant are along California’s coast, since Israel’s coast is more populated.

The Jordanians and Palestinians are less likely to employ sea-water desalination because they have little or no access to the sea. Nevertheless, efforts are still underway to conduct joint research on desalination with Palestinian and Jordanian scientists. The Joint Palestinian-Jordanian Water Project, however, needs more funds as well as a more peaceful political environment to resume this research with full force.

“We are trying to continue unhampered,” said Shamir, who believes that cooperation for knowledge for society’s benefit will eventually override any disharmony caused by nationalistic strife.