The human resources department is one of the most important departments in any business, no matter whether said business is big or small. But they’re far more than just a bunch of people who hire, fire and pay employees. Without a skilled HR department to strategically and proactively work with top management, a company’s human capital could simply crumble – and take the company with it.
Why HR is Important to Managers
Communication of legal requirements
Top management are often too busy with the inner workings of the company to think of the regulations or tends surrounding their workers. This isn’t intentional, but it’s to be expected; their employees are but one part of the organisation. In comparison, the HR department is responsible for updating the company on any current employee regulations it, or its employees, may not be following. Labour laws can feel deceptively simple – but ‘deceptively’ is the key word there. Imagine adjusting all employee salaries, and tax brackets and tiers in response to a change in the minimum salary cap. Would it affect any other structures? That’s what the HR department covers.
Recruiting and hiring
Recruitment and hiring processes have a huge impact on how a business functions. Imagine you’re a coffee-shop owner, who needs to employ a new barista. There’s a whole host of processes you’d need to go through: the advertising of your job, for starts, prior to sifting through a batch of resumes and applications to determine who to interview; and from that, you’d need to decide who was the best fit. But that’s not the end, either. Other qualifications or expectations might apply – board certificates, an understanding of OH&S, a Working with Children Check. Now consider doing that every single time you need a new barista, and that it’s not a barista role for a small company anymore; it’s a highly competitive graduate-level role, for a big firm which expects much of its workers. Would you want to? HR can handle that more efficiently and more effectively than any one manager.
Defining position descriptions, requirements and KPIs
Not only is HR responsible for hiring, but HR specialists and associates also need to hire right. It isn’t just about finding a candidate that seems suitable. It’s also about finding a candidate that can suit company needs and standards. To do this, HR workers need to conduct tests, interviews and panel interviews with higher management authorities, in order to reach a consensus on who best to hire, why they’re needed and when they’re needed. Companies with high turnover rates often have the most active HR department because they’re constantly hiring new recruits.
Training and induction
Once an employee or a set of employees are hired, they need to be inducted and trained so that they’ll match the company’s expectations of them. In smaller businesses, it’s often managers who oversee this extra education and introduction. But larger businesses rely on their HR department to make sure new staff members receive a full induction and acquire the skills necessary to become competent and reliable once they start actually working. During training, they’re taught how to use various systems, as well as the core values of the company. It also falls to HR to ensure that their new recruits are treated as part of the entire team.
Learning and development for leaders
Don’t be mistaken – managers need training too. It’s common knowledge that employees don’t usually leave companies because the company itself is at fault; more often, it’s that they view their boss as inept. A company’s HR department can help remedy this by conducting training and coaching for managers, so that they’ll be better equipped to take care of the employees under their department. This may seem like just an added precaution, but keep this in mind the next time a manager effectively controls a problem, without the need to take it to higher management.
A great HR department will have a rigorous performance management system in place to determine how to address issues and nurture future superstar employees. One example is utilising the 9 Box Matrix to ascertain an employee’s performance, and measure it against their potential in order to determine whether they need to be developed, managed or supported into bigger and better challenges.
Fostering a positive culture
The HR department is partly responsible for determine a company’s identity and personality as an employer – and whether it’ll be perceived as a good employer — for they determine how a company treats or responds to its workers. If a company is known as an awful employer, it’s most likely because the HR in conjunction with higher management hasn’t made enough effort to find out what its employees need. Conversely, if a company has a reputation for being a great employer, then it’s partly due to the HR’s efforts to motivate and ensure that employees are treated fairly within the company.
Why HR is Important to Employees
Legal and regulatory compliance
It goes without saying that every employee’s voice and thoughts can be amplified by the HR department, who in turn, ensure that said request or welfare concern is taken into consideration whenever changes in the business can be made. If new labour laws are enforced, it’s the HR worker’s responsibility to inform higher management and ensure said laws are enforced in a timely fashion.
Employee relationship management
Whenever managers are trained by HR to become better leaders and motivators, their employees can also flourish in the manager’s guidance. The HR department knows that it can be tough working under a lot of pressure, and even more so when the manager doesn’t know how to properly handle employee issues. They intend to smooth over relationship issues between managers and work to safeguard both parties’ interests. Part of this is facilitating productive communication between employees and managers and helping to create positive relationships in the workforce.
HR workers act as overseers whenever an employee is about to be served some disciplinary action. They ensure the action is proportional to the gravity of the offense. For instance, when an employee is going to be terminated for an offense, the HR department’s the one to ascertain that their offense is indeed worthy of termination.
The importance of a skilled HR Department
In essence, the HR department aims to strike a balance between the needs of the company and the needs of its workforce; it is the intermediary. As the company needs its employees to function in their fullest, the HR ensures the employees are treated fairly.
There is an increasing focus on having a current qualification to cement competencies and formalise previous experience in Human Resources. The difference between on-the-job experience and formal, vocational training can be detrimental to performance. Studying an online HR Diploma will show diligence and time management abilities as well as gaining access to benchmarked skills and core concepts applicable to a range of industries. The content covered in a Diploma of Human Resource Management is both comprehensive and evergreen. Experience is what it is – limited, and time-dependent. Ideally, an excellent HR professional will have all the competencies that come with an HR Diploma and the ability and experience to apply it operational and strategic formats.
A professional HR department will encompass many roles and activities with the best HR qualifications and know-how to foster a positive workplace environment. And as a company’s employees need the company’s protection and pay, the HR department makes sure that the organisation is able to flourish.
Your Career in Human Resources
Do you want to learn more about HR skills employees demand, the latest emerging job roles and salaries, and recent industry insights?
Discover your career in human resources.
HUMAN RESOURCES CAREER PAGE