When you think of the term “Human Resources”, I would bet many of you immediately conjure up something that sounds like this:
“HR is for hiring and firing.”
“HR does my payroll and looks after benefits.”
“HR is the “fun police” and we can’t do anything when they are around.”
“HR is all about policy and saying “no” to everything we ask.”
And my personal favourite:
“We don’t need HR.”
It should not surprise you that I have heard all of that (and more) throughout my HR career. It may surprise you however, that I have worked with many HR folks who fit into those statements very well and rather comfortably.
Human Resources is so much more than the shallow statements above. The value the right HR person can bring to any organization is priceless……if you are willing to hear me out.
At it’s basic function, the HR department is busy doing many of the below tasks on a daily basis:
- Recruiting, selection and hiring
- Orientation of new hires
- Payroll actions including time and attendance reconciliation
- Maintenance of employee records
- Participating in (or even managing) employee misconduct issues
- Benefit administration
- Maintaining training records for regulatory training
- Answering routine employee inquiries
- Supporting (and even managing) health, safety and wellness needs
- And just about anything and everything else other departments don’t want to do when it comes to employee administrative functions
- Oh! And maybe even planning the next employee function as well.
This may be what you have in your current job description for any HR role. Or, as many of the small and medium sized organizations I work with, you have the tendency to plop these responsibilities on an existing administrative person or persons. While the tasks – or as I like to call them, transactions – will be completed, the value of the HR function is being under-utilized.
And here’s why.
A true HR support system will do much more behind the scenes than you realize. Without a strong HR presence acting with purpose and direction, businesses will struggle with attracting and retaining dedicated and talented people. And without people……you have no business.
For me, working in HR for the past 20 plus, plus years, I know that HR can bring at a minimum the following two critical components:
Hiring for today’s needs but thinking about tomorrow as well. The goal is not to hire as fast, and as cheaply, as possible just to get a warm body into a position. We need to be looking at best people for the job while focusing on the hiring process and post-hire metrics. Hiring is one of the most important things HR and an organization does. When an organization engages with HR to invest in the hiring process as well as the retention strategy, people stay. And when people stay, organizations keep moving forward in a positive manner……..and that actually saves money!
Staying focused and entrenched in the employee experience. A solid HR presence will be engaged in leading the way in developing the best employee experience for the organization it serves. Why does this matter? Employees who disengage, or unplug, from their company, costs organizations significant amounts of money in lost production and quality issues which ultimately lead to customer dissatisfaction. Your HR focus should be on the holistic view of the employee journey from hire to exit while always looking for strategies to enhance and better systems, policies, and practices from both the operational and human side of the business.
If the person, or persons heading the HR function are transactional in nature and only overseeing compliance, chances are you aren’t thinking long term. What you should want is a blend of both transactional and transformational HR in your corner.
If you, or your employees, view your HR function in ways similar to the shallow statements I noted earlier, you aren’t getting the value you require to bring your people needs and the business needs together. Underestimating the HR function in your business will show in poor hiring, poor retention and everything in between.
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