What is de facto HR?

De facto HR refers to the scenario where HR support is provided by either:

  • An individual or department whose primary responsibility is not HR.
  • An individual or department without formal training or experience in HR.  

If refers to the person to whom HR responsibilities have been assigned – often off the side of the desk from their 'real' job – but they haven't really been trained to do them.  

Small businesses often do not have the resources to hire a full-time qualified HR specialist and may assign HR administrative or more senior-level responsibilities to:

  • The Business Owner
  • Office or Operations staff
  • Administrators
  • An Executive Assistant
  • The Head of Finance
  • Accounting, or Payroll
  • Line managers – when no formal or informal HR support exists, responsibility for the HR function and processes often falls to individual line managers