HR plays an integral part of any organization. The roles of these professionals include much more than recruiting new employees; they also develop strategies geared towards productivity, training, and employee engagement. For the most part, a company’s human resource department oversees and helps facilitate a large portion of business operations.
HR responsibilities are often comprised of behind-the-scenes work and are not always viewed as playing such a key role in the success of a business. Yet it’s this department that is dedicated to finding people with the right talents, skills, values, and attitudes to get the day-to-day responsibilities taken care of. They’re responsible for ensuring that once you find the right people, they get to work in an environment that’s welcoming, inspiring, and productive.
Without HR doing this necessary legwork, how would a business exist?Following are four critical HR functions that contribute to business’s success.
Recruiting and hiring
Finding the right people to fulfill job responsibilities is not an easy task and companies that fail to see the complexity of the process often end up losing money. Hiring is a big project for just one new or replacement position. When you have ongoing hiring needs, it can be a full time job itself.
Of course, when there’s an open position, hiring managers want it filled ASAP. It makes sense, but it puts tremendous pressure on HR to not only get it done, but get it done well. It’s difficult and time consuming to sort through the applications, looking for the most talented people who will be competent in the job role.
And when you find the people with the right skills, you have to continue sorting through during the interviews to find people who will be a good fit with the company culture. A good skill fit does not equate to a good culture fit. And a poor match between employee and company culture can spell disaster. Not only will the employee not be happy, everyone around them will feel it as well. One employee who doesn’t fit the culture well can disrupt the whole company.
Poor hiring choices can result in lost revenue from lost productivity due to unnecessary distractions, the potential loss of other employees who are negatively impacted, and the expense of having to search again and replace the ill-fitting employee. And these are just the revenue issues, not even mentioning the other HR nightmares (social, emotional, reputational, legal) that come from a bad hire!
All in all, there’s a lot to gain and a lot to lose with hiring and it’s in HR’s hands to make sure the process is done successfully. Whew!
Training and development
HR has the responsibility to ensure that employees are skilled and working as efficiently as possible. This starts from the very beginning of the new relationship with the onboarding process and continues throughout their lifecycle with the company.
Conducting ongoing job performance assessments and identifying skill gaps for their teams is a critical role that hiring managers play. This information then gets rolled up to HR to help find the training resources to raise the skill level of the team.
Company productivity, quality standards, and employee safety are all dependent on keeping staff trained with the knowledge and skills needed to perform their roles at the highest level.
One of the most common reasons for employee turnover is dissatisfaction in a job. So, once again, we turn to HR to help identify the issues and provide the solutions.
Employees who feel connected to the company, their supervisor, and their teammates are much happier and engaged in the work they do. The culture fit is back as a critical element, and so is the fit for the job. Doing work they enjoy with people they enjoy makes for a happy work day.
Most people want to excel at their job, and when they receive the necessary direction and feedback about the work they’re doing, they’re much more likely to feel engaged. It’s really hard to do a job without feedback and without coaching help along the way.
Supervisors may not feel comfortable giving this constructive feedback. But on the flip side, employees are not likely comfortable doing a job blindly and having to wait for an annual performance review to get some nuggets of retrospective advice. While HR may participate in some of these conversations with employees, most importantly, their role is to train supervisors to have these ongoing, constructive coaching/feedback conversations themselves.
As important as the constructive feedback is, recognition plays an important part of the employee engagement equation! Employees who receive recognition for hard work and accomplishments feel valued and are more productive as a result. So HR to the rescue again, finding ways to keep a pulse on the organization, acknowledge achievements, and encourage and nurture a positive rapport with employees.
Building a positive environment
The work environment is critical! Not only does HR need to ensure they’re hiring for the right cultural fit from the beginning, but they need to ensure the environment stays positive and productive all year round.
This starts from the very beginning with candidates and new hires alike, conveying the importance of contributing to a positive environment. The goal should be to create a pleasant work environment where everyone feels appreciated and works together as a team.
Through documentation, ongoing discussion, and even training sessions for company values, ethics, and policies, HR emphasizes the importance of having a positive, respectful environment. Not only does this create a safe environment for the employees on the team, but it protects and enhances the company reputation, as well.
The HR department is always developing new strategies to increase performance, find and retain great employees, keep everyone happy, and ensure the budget is met. HR professionals could say this is only a fraction of what they do, and they certainly wouldn’t be wrong!
HR is incredibly valuable to your company strategy and they could probably use a little extra recognition and appreciation for the difficult work they’re responsible for managing. You never know, they might just be what’s standing in between your company and a compliance disaster, or hiring debacle, or budgeting nightmare. Support your HR team. Celebrate them. It’s well deserved!
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