Why Human Resources Is Important HR is typically thought of as a cost center that does not contribute to the bottom line even though they are responsible for hiring and protecting your company’s most important asset-people. Without strong, satisfied and motivated people in place your business will not grow to its potential. The Management Team often view HR as a team of paper pushers who take care of benefits and policies, or are a necessary evil-here to protect the company and limit issues like harassment, lawsuits and push compliance in terms of treatment and policies.
The most significant reason this reality exists is because overall industry continues to see HR as a compliance issue. It is a discipline that “asks” to be at the table rather demanding it. It is a discipline that should not spend the time with benefits, payroll and benefits but rather with strategic opportunities. Human Resources has grown as an industry to include experts in the field of Organizational Development, Change Management, Continuous Process Improvement, as well as those who gain impressive training and enjoy significant tenure in Benefits Administration, Recruiting, Policy Analysis, and Training.
Yet more often than not we look for managers with degrees in business administration or MBA’s with a sub specialty in HR or promote people with no experience or background in management at all. The subtle thinking here is that HR continues to be a small subset of core competencies needed to run a company. Our business and the people who drive them are too complex to continue to rely on managers who have simply been promoted within non-management disciplines with employee management tacked on.
As industry, all industries, continue to compete for talent, the skills HR professionals bring to the table will represent strategic core competencies, historically known as skills. We have evolved and the language associated with our skills has evolved along with us. HR is the partner in your business that is the expert on people and human behavior. If they are not, they are the wrong people. Talking about strategy without Human Resources core skills represented at the table is like trying to plan for next year’s budget without this year’s numbers.
Metric’s are powerful tools but, as with any kind of measurement, a lack of understanding about their application renders data worthless. Good HR is about observation and analysis behind the scenes, compiling complex data about individual workers as they progress through the workforce. In a recent study done by the Hay Group “just 40% of employees commended their company on retaining high quality workers. 41% agreed that performance evaluations were fair. 58% rated their job training as favorable.
Most said they have few opportunities for advancement-and they didn’t know in any case, what was required to move up. Most telling, only half the workers below the manager level believed their companies took a genuine interest in their well-being” (Fast Company, August 2005). What does this really mean? As a manager why do I care about this statistic? Do I think it even applies to me? The numbers are often scary and the management books talk about solutions that worked really well in the authors companies or consulting projects but what about your company?
You have a manager that just doesn’t care. The President knows that turnover is bad but doesn’t ever seem to do anything. Your boss is the Owner’s uncle. Change would be great but it never seems to happen. Where is HR? Are they at the table? HR professionals are confronted with these questions and problems everyday and can build measurable strategies to address turnover, low morale and underperforming employees. I know it is difficult to measure the tangible results of HR when so much is intangible. The truth is, it is hard because we are not in the habit of evaluating leadership.
We are not in the habit of seeing ourselves as a potential barrier to success in our business. Often times HR is marginalized because it’s easier to replace the employee who quits than believe we are getting in our own way. As HR professionals, we enjoy the luxury of constant process evaluation. Our only product in fact is the process’ we bring to workers. We use this process to inform the group, influence the group and define the culture of the group. Gone are the days where you can roll out a policy or make changes to compensation plans and concern yourselves with simply informing people.
The luxury of thinking “workforce” instead of about Bill in operations is gone, yet companies from the very large to the very small continue to believe that people work for the company. People work to meet their own personal goals or because they’ve developed collegial relationships that are meaningful. We long for loyalty yet don’t completely understand why we don’t have it. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of management techniques to keep the people in our companies productive and happy yet a defining characteristic of the younger workforces is that they expect to have many different jobs.
How is it that we find ourselves so dependant on stabilizing our workforce yet see no clear way to meet that objective? The hit we take to the bottom line is significant when we think about the cost associated with recruiting and training new staff. In my own business, if turnover is high, I can’t expect to see my revenue drop by two digit percentages. As your business is growing and you are evaluating the competencies needed to ensure your business can succeed think twice about who you assign the measurement of employee aproductivity.
Regardless of where you decided those tasks should land be assured that your competition is putting the financial resources towards getting the right person with the right experience in the doors of their company. Why Is HR Important for Managers? 1. Management development and training One way to be a company resource multiplier is to help managers be better managers, which in turn will help prevent or eliminate distractions for your employees. Employees don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad bosses, according to Beverly Kaye, co-author of Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay.
Good managers are crucial to an effective organization but most have to learn how to be effective. The role of HR in a company is to help develop and coach managers to do the best job possible. HR professionals have a lot of experience working with employees in all sorts of situations. HR’s role is to advise and assist management on how to manage employees and deal with difficult situations. The reason why HR is important in helping managers is if they are able to manage effectively, problems that arise won’t escalate to the point of distraction for employees. 2.
Keeping management focused on their job HR is important for managers so that they can stay focused on their job. There are a lot of new regulations that came out year to year that affects businesses. One role of HR in a company is to unravel the byzantine employment regulations using their expertise and to advise management about how they affect the business. HR then updates business practices so the company is compliant. This is no easy feat. Already in 2009 there are many new employment laws, acts and regulations that have gone into effect. I’ve listed only four here, however there are many more. . President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARA) into law in February. This affected HR professionals greatly. There is now a subsidy to pay for health insurance under COBRA and with it there are steps HR must take to comply with the act. 2. President Obama also signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. This law lengthens the amount of time employees have to make a compensation discrimination charge. While I view this as a good thing, it forces HR and management to be more diligent on documenting how they make compensation decisions. 3.
Effective January 16th, 2009, extensive changes were made to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). These changes require HR to overhaul their policies and processes and required notification to employees. 4. Effective January 1st, 2009, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) redefines who is considered “disabled” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and thus will potentially lead to a larger population of “disabled” employees seeking accommodations and a larger number of employees who claim they were “regarded as” disabled in disparate treatment claims. . Hire strategically, hire right Another way HR is important for managers is that it can assist with strategic hires; by this I mean hiring right. I believe recruiting is the number one way for HR to make an impact on the organization. Hiring right means reduced turnover and increased retention. It means finding the high potential candidate who can do ten times as much as the average employee and then being able to convince them to work for you. It also means not hiring problem employees to start with.
Most of us have heard of the Pareto Principle (The 80/20 Rule), which suggests that 20% of the employees take 80% of your time. Again, going back to the notion that HR is a human resource multiplier, by hiring right you can focus on growing the business not dealing with problem employees. To do this there should be a systematic interview process that probes for work ethic, attitude, aptitude and motivation, in addition to determining if they have the right skills for the job. HR can be an instrumental in the process. Why Is HR Important for Employees? HR is an advocate for employees.
The functions of an HR Professional are to make sure that all employees are treated fairly and equitably and that the needs of the business are balanced against the needs of the employees. For the same reasons listed above, employees also make gains. Employees benefit when managers are trained well and know how to be good managers. Employees need their managers focused on getting work done instead of trying to figure out what new HR laws just came out this year. Employees also benefit when the company hires right because that means they have less co-worker issues to deal with themselves.
They don’t have to take on extra work when poor performers are let go. They don’t have to train the new person. They can stay focused on their job. I have presented only the most essential reasons why HR is important. There are many more when you look at the day-to-day operations of a smooth-running, successful company. HR is more than someone who takes your new hire paperwork or files the benefit forms. The role of HR in a company affects all aspects of the organization. Why? Because HR supports employees and employees are your most important resource. http://blogs. payscale. com/compensation/2009/04/why-is-hr-important. html
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