How HR helps employees
Published 29 July 2019
HR working with employees
Ask an employee what can Hunan Resources (HR) do for you, and what do they actually do for you? The chances are you will get a range of answers, not all positive.
HR (1) has a wide ranging role, which is much more than just the hiring and firing department as it was once viewed.
It plays a key role in handling employee relations, recruiting, screening, interviewing and placing workers, payroll and benefits.
HR managers also play an important part in planning directing and coordinating the administrative functions of an employer.
Helping workers with training and development is another responsibility of human resource managers. It can involve setting up training and helping to deliver it effectively in order to meet the needs of staff. It means HR is a crucial business asset, because well trained staff can be productive.
Providing information to employees is another essential part of the role. This can include giving details of employee benefits, assistance programs and information on any changes that will impact on them.
If an employee is absent for any reason that may affect their work when they return to the workplace, HR can be involved in implementing any changes that may help. For an employee with a disability this may include putting reasonable adjustments in place (2)
When things go wrong, as they inevitably do from time to time in working relationships, it is usually when an employee will turn to HR for much needed assistance.
If an employee feels as if a manager or colleague is treating them unfairly then this is likely to be the one of the few times that they make direct contact with a HR advisor.
HR workers will also be involved in arranging and taking part in disciplinary investigations, in cases where an employer suspects the employee of wrongdoing. And formal grievance hearings, which is when an employee feels so aggrieved they submit a formal complaint. It is in these types of situations where the HR role has perhaps acquired a somewhat dubious reputation.
Many employees believe that HR is not really on their side and will side with the employer.
This viewpoint was reflected in an old twitter poll in which the question was asked: Which side do you feel your HR department is on? More than half (55 per cent) responded employer and just 15 per cent said the employee, with 30 per cent saying neither. (3)
There is probably not much that HR advisors can do about this perception. In situations where emotions are running high, it can be difficult to alter the established perspective.
Smaller employers are unlikely to have a dedicated HR team, but in businesses with more than 50 employees they can play a key role in helping and supporting staff. Conflict resolution and a vital part of that, as there is a growing need for it.
With the scrapping of employment tribunal fees in July, 2017, a key barrier that may have prevented an employee taking legal action against an employer has been removed (4)
An employment law claim cannot move forward until ACAS has been informed and early conciliation has ended. Early conciliation can be requested by either the employee or the employer.
Figures for 2018 show that demand for the early conciliation service has increased by nearly 20 per cent and there has been an almost 40 per cent jump in ACAS cases that involve tribunal claims compared to the same period the previous year (5)
Good HR workers should know that protecting employees will also protect an employer, and that acting as a fair and effective mediator and responding quickly can diffuse many situations before they get out of hand.
- HR [Internet] https://www.cipd.co.uk [Accessed on 22.7.19] https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/strategy/hr
- Employee with a disability [Internet] httpa://www.gov.uk [Accessed on 22.7.19] https://www.gov.uk/reasonable-adjustments-for-disabled-workers.
- Twitter stats [Internet ] https://twitter.com [Accessed on 22.7.19] https://twitter.com/peoplehrms/status/861596088968650752
- Scrapping employment tribunal fees [Internet] https://www.unison.org.uk [Accessed on 22.7.19] https://www.unison.org.uk/news/article/2017/07/tribunal-fees-victory/
- Acas [Internet] https://www.acas.org.uk [Accessed on 22.7.19] https://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=6563.
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