Are you one of those individuals in your company who has asked, “Why must we deal with Human Resources? It would be so much easier if they just stayed out of our business and let us run the company. It seems like every time I talk to them, all they tell me is ‘no.’ ”
Or are you an HR professional, whose first word when asked a question is “no.” If that’s the case, then it is time to rethink your value to the organization.
HR has evolved over the years from Personnel Management to Human Resources. The term implies that employees are human capital or assets to an organization.
The primary role of Human Resources is to be a business partner to the management team, recommending how to best use the human capital in the organization.
The degree of success it achieves in the organization is predicated on the value the management team believes it brings to the table. HR is important to organizations in many ways, ranging from strategic planning to company image. If all it is allowed to become is the “party planners,” then it will add little value.
HR departments, even a department of one, need to add value to organizations in the following areas.
HR can add to the company’s bottom line with its knowledge of how employees can affect organizational success. If allowed to participate in corporate decision-making, it can aid in staffing assessments and projections for future growth based on economic indicators. It can assist management with staff reductions in strategic areas if the need arises.
HR should assist management with developing a compensation structure that makes the company competitive in the marketplace. It may conduct wage and salary surveys to ensure the company maintains its compensation costs in line with the company’s financial status and projected revenue.
HR should be sharing with management what is needed in a benefit structure to most likely attract and retain employees. It should assist management with developing a benefit package that brings the greatest value to the company within the company’s budget and consistent with economic conditions.
HR may manage the employment process from screening applicants to scheduling interviews, to administering pre-employment processes to the onboarding process.
HR should assist hiring managers with the legality of the interview process, ensuring they provide guidance to those managers new to the process. It should guide and assist hiring managers to select the most appropriate candidates for open positions with the understanding that hiring the right person the first time may save the organization hours of time and dollars down the road.
HR should assist management with ensuring the organization complies with all local, state and federal employment laws. This includes mandatory documentation of compliance as well as other documentation if the organization has federal or state contracts.
HR should provide training and development that support the company’s fair employment practices and employee development to prepare its leaders for supervisory and management positions.
This is one of the most valuable roles HR provides to any organization. It should assist management with minimizing the organization’s exposure to and liability related to allegations of unfair employment practices. It may investigate and help resolve workplace issues that can spiral into legal matters that pertain to local, state or federal employment laws. It may conduct employee opinion surveys or focus groups to seek employee input regarding job satisfaction and advise management of the outcome with suggestions to assist management with improving the workplace.
In some organizations, safety is a component of the HR function. Providing a safe work environment is the responsibility of every company. Complying with state and federal safety regulations, record-keeping requirements and developing programs that reduce workplace injuries and fatalities is a must for every organization.
To be successful in HR means the HR professionals must view the management team and the employees of the organization as their internal customers. They must be skilled as business partners and competent in their field of expertise, which should be measured by their internal customers, if they are to be believed by their organization as providing value.
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Barbara Cruz Stallone, SPHR, is the owner of Stallone & Associates LLC. She is a 35-plus-year human resource professional. She was a partner with the Human Resource Umbrella LLC for 16 years before selling that company, and is a member of AGC. Suggestions for future articles or questions may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.