Of all the functional areas of a business, one of the most underrated is the Human Resources (HR) department. Unlike the finance, marketing, or operations departments, the success of HR cannot easily be measured with predetermined metrics and so many persons are of the impression that the department is not a very useful one.
An organization’s success depends largely on the efforts and competence of its workforce. It is the HR department that must ensure that employees fit the required criteria and that their needs are met so that they are willing and able to provide the skills and expertise needed by the business. The HR department achieves this by carrying out several functions.
Recruiting and Dismissal
This function stands at the proverbial doorway of the business. To ensure that a business has the best possible workforce, the HR department must perform their recruiting and dismissal duties well.
On one end of the spectrum, there is the responsibility of seeking out new talent and assessing their skills and suitability for not only the job description, but also the work environment. A reliable screening process must always be used to determine the best candidates.
At the other end of the spectrum, there is the dismissal function of HR. Many employees must be relieved of their duties as they are either incapable of fulfilling them, or they are in violation of company policies. The HR department must evaluate each situation on an individual basis and make the choice to terminate employees if necessary.
Orientation and Training
Though the screening process usually ensures that new employees possess a certain skillset, these new hires are not usually immediately ready to be integrated within the workforce. This is where the orientation and training functions of HR come into play.
The HR department has the responsibility of defining and executing the orientation process. This is necessary to ensure that new employees gain a basic understanding of the work environment, and of the behavioral expectations of them.
New employees also need to be made aware of the processes they are expected to carry out. The HR department must ensure adequate training is available to get these staff members prepared for these duties. Also, training for existing employees should be provided as needed. This may become necessary as standards change or new technologies emerge.
The HR department is responsible for ensuring that human relations never hamper business productivity, which is achieved through fostering workplace relationships and handling grievances.
By organizing various corporate social events and organizational activities, HR encourages communication that is separate and apart from interactions that are necessary for completion of job tasks. This fosters voluntary human interaction and good employee relationships.
Grievances are disputes between or among employees. These disputes are to be expected as humans have varied viewpoints and personalities. The HR department must ensure that proper grievance procedures are not only in place, but also executed when needed. These procedures are expected to be fair to all involved.
Employee benefits are important to an organization. These are perks for the employees that cater to their human needs. Such perks include vacation allowances, health insurance, and various care programs.
During the recruitment process, the full extent of benefits must be communicated to incoming staff members. In a similar fashion, the HR department must, upon termination, clearly indicate the inaccessibility of benefits going forward.
Labor Law Compliance
A country’s labor laws set out workforce related standards that companies are expected to uphold. These standards are set for aspects of the job such as wage requirements, work hour requirements, work environment requirements, etc.
HR is expected to ensure a company’s compliance with these standards, and they are also expected to adjust as these laws are modified.