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The importance of HR

Published 12 February 2018

Human Resources management is often viewed as a guard dog for bad management and business owners and it is a role that has certainly divided opinion.

An online article (1) published last year listed five reasons why employees hate HR, as it is more commonly known.

They include: HR employees are incompetent, dishonest, has only the company and management’s interests in mind, not objective and fair and too involved in office politics.

While the reasoning for such animosity is certainly contentious, what is not is that good HR management plays an essential role in any organisation.

The Outlook report for winter 2016–17 (2) found that nearly two-thirds (59%) of senior HR professionals quizzed believe they are in a position to have a positive influence and safeguard their organisation against any negative impact on business objectives.

The research highlighted that many HR professionals believe leaders in their organisation lack the required skills to get the best from their people.

Any business is only ever as good as its workforce and HR has an essential role to play in recruiting and training staff. Without good employees – an employer’s most valuable resource – even the best made business plans can fail.

If an organisation can take care of its own people, then it is likely to reap the rewards as they in turn will deliver an excellent service. It is why good HR management is critical to a productive workplace in which employees are engaged.

Five key functions of HR include:

·         Executive role – specialising in the areas that cover Human Resources or people management.

·         Audit role – assess all departments within an organisation to ensure policies such as health and safety, training, staff appraisal etc are being carried.

·         Facilitator role – help departments to achieve the set goals or standards of the organisation. This can include delivering training for issues that arise in the areas relating to people management.

·         Consultancy role – advising and supporting managers on how to tackle specific managing people issues professionally.

·         Service role – information provider to raise awareness and inform departments and functional areas on changes in policy.

In recent months the role of human resources has made headlines in a number of high profile scandals.

A former personal assistant to disgraced Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has filed a lawsuit for ‘severe emotional distress’, which also names the head of human resources (3)

Following the Westminster sexual harassment scandal the Prime Minister Theresa May announced new plans to deal with misconduct allegations that will include face-to-face human resources support (4)

The ramifications for the alleged failings and importance of HR are clear in both cases.

Regardless of the size or profile of an organisation human resources has a significant role to play in dealing with employee-related issues and developing strategy:

Managing Disputes: It is inevitable that from time to time that disputes will arise between employees or with an employer. It is the role of HR to work to sort out any such issues. This will involve listening to, investigating and finding suitable and satisfactory solutions to prevent things from escalating and getting out of hand.

Employee Satisfaction: responsible for establishing the level of employee satisfaction, which does not have a definitive measurement. This will help to identify any unhappiness in order to address those issues.

Recruitment and training: this is one of the main responsibilities. Identifying the best candidates for a role and producing the criteria to do so, conveying the job requirements in order for the employment contract to be drawn up. Training to enable staff to refine existing skills and develop news ones to aid the organisation is also provided.

Performance Improvement: Develop performance management systems to get the best out of employees and to ensure they are meeting expectations.

Corporate Image: balancing recruiting the most qualified applicants, selecting the most suitable candidates and retaining the most talented employees.

It is easy to overlook the importance of HR, but without it working properly and effectively the success of any business can be put at risk.

 

References

1.Heathfield SM. 5 Surprising Reasons Why Employees Hate HR [Internet]. The Balance. [cited 2018 Jan 27]. Available from: https://www.thebalance.com/reasons-why-employees-hate-hr-1917590

2.HR Outlook | Reports [Internet]. CIPD. [cited 2018 Jan 27]. Available from: https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/strategy/hr/outlook-reports

3.Walters J. Ex-Weinstein assistant sues over “sexually hostile” working environment [Internet]. the Guardian. 2018 [cited 2018 Jan 28]. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jan/25/harvey-weinstein-lawsuit-assistant

4.Leaders “agree complaints procedure.” BBC News [Internet]. 2017 Nov 6 [cited 2018 Jan 28]; Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41892271

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