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But when you sit down at your chair and start checking through your emails, have you ever given a thought to who it is looking after you?

Think about the various aspects of your job. Aside from your day-to-day tasks you might have to go to training sessions, attend meetings about your work and development, book holidays, discuss health issues, fix your computer if you experience any problems. All these are part of normal working life - but who is it that arranges all of this?  Usually, it'll be the HR team.

We all know HR stands for human resources. But what exactly do they do? Well, all of the things mentioned above and a lot more besides, which makes these people a vital part of a workforce and one that helps to keep things running smoothly. They're the people who take care of all the little bits and bobs - the tasks that need completing around the office to make sure the employees are happy.

What would happen without them?

Think about whenever someone new starts. Who do you think it is that adds them to the payroll, checks all their references and gets them settled in? HR will probably give them a run-through of the way things work around the office and go through some of the health and safety requirements enterprises need to have in place.

Another big part of HR is dealing with employee sickness and absence. Similarly, when people are off for a certain length of time - perhaps due to long-term health problems or maternity leave - it will be HR that processes all the necessary documents and regulation sickness forms.

If your company offers any benefit schemes, it will be the responsibility of HR to ensure these are organised properly to ensure everyone gets what they are entitled to. Similarly, they will arrange promotions and raises - and the relevant changes to salaries that accompany these.

One of the downsides to the job is the employees also have to deal with layoffs and redundancies, or issue warnings when staff members do something wrong. Similarly, HR staff can be a port of call for anyone who feels they have some issues that need to be discussed - perhaps they feel they are not being treated fairly in the workplace or have a problem they need to talk about.

Basically, HR are pretty much responsible for the people in an organisation. You might not realise quite how much they do until you think about it, but you've got a lot to thank them for. Without HR you wouldn't get paid on time for a start!

This is an underappreciated part of the workforce if ever there was one, so why not make the effort to show your HR team how much you value the contribution they make to your organisation?

This post was contributed by Jon Lister, a freelance writer specialising in employee savings plans and great staff rewards.