The Role of the Human Resources
Human Resource Department
The human resource departments of most companies today are responsible for more than just the hiring and firing of staff members. A human resource (HR) department works on every level of a staff member's working life with the company. The goal of the HR department is to provide the best relationship between the employer and the employee. A Relationship that the company can use to meet or surpass its mission goals and the employee can use to achieve their personal work goals.
The HR manager must understand what is happening within each department as well as with each employee. HR should understand what is needed for each department and help identify the people who are achieving as well as the people needing help. The goal is to have each department work smooth and as cost-effective as possible. The HR manager cannot affect change that can help an individual department if the problem is with department lead or if the other department leads to protect the disruptive personnel. "Effective managers spot organizational issues and deal with them before they become major problems” (Gomez-Majia, Balkin, & Cardy, 2010, p. 12). A monthly meeting of the department heads could help define the problems within each department.
The HR departments, in conjunction with the departments requesting the new personnel develop a list of necessities for a new employee. The key for the department is to match the right people with the correct department. A new hire will need to understand the organization, including the company’s mission statement, goals, company rules, and any benefits the company offers new staff members. This is done in the orientation process.
Any training should involve the department as well as the HR. This training process can consist of on-the-job training to classwork for jobs that require specialized training or certification.
There is a new trend in the human resources department toward online hiring. This includes lengthy online questionnaires that are designed to test the applicant to see if he or she would be a good fit. The problem is that “in general,” people lie. When filling out one of these questionnaires, the applicant will provide answers that will place them in the best light, which eliminates the benefit of the questionnaire. To add to this are the people online just looking with no real desire to work for that company. More companies are using this system to “weed” out the applicants that are not desirable. By taking out the human element, a company can take out the possibility of bias (but not really). The social aspect of the HR department is critical in developing a long-term relationship with the employee. The more an HR representative knows about an employee, the better he or she can place that employee in the right position. So face-to-face meetings will (for the most part) always be better than any online application.
In any organization how well, an employee does his or her job is crucial to productivity. This includes regular job performance ratings from the department heads on their personnel. These ratings should consist of any observations that the supervisor may believe is important. “Staff members must have confidence that their good performance is directly related to a higher likelihood of job security” (Staren E. p. 74). This also should include helping the employee keep up with his or her training, especially in such areas as government-regulated training such as Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training. “Unfortunately, many available workers will be too unskilled to fill those jobs. Even now, many companies complain that the supply of skilled labor is dwindling and that they must provide their staff members with basic training to make up for the shortcomings of the public education system” (Gomez-Majia, Balkin, & Cardy, 2010, p. 11).
Interpersonal conflicts also affect the productivity of a company. Whether it is fighting between personnel or disputes between management and personnel, the conflict needs addressing and dealt with in as fair a manner as possible. Staff members are an investment with all the training and experience they bring to the organization.
The primary function of an HR department is to manage the people working for the company effectively. This includes disciplinary problems as well as recognizing when an employee does well. Problems with discipline can come from simple infractions such as tardiness to deeper concerns such as sexual harassment and assault. It should be made clear that any violation is taken seriously, but actions that open the company to legal actions is to be dealt with swiftly and permanently.
A way to deal with poor attitudes is to empower the staff members. This can be done by allowing the employee to be a part of the decision process. “It is also essential for administrators and physicians to express their appreciation to staff members for a job well done” (Terry, 2008, p 43). By making the employee a part of the process, he or she will feel as if he or she is a part of the company rather than just an employee. Another way would be to first look to the current workforce to hire for new openings giving the employee a chance to advance.
The HR department is also responsible for the costs involved in personnel. The right ratio needs to be achieved between the amount of work and staffing levels. Overstaffing cuts into the profits of the company, but understaffing can lead to mistakes and poor-quality work. Part of this is the ability to forecast trends in the business and developing plans. This should include a downsizing plan with a step-by-step process for how and which staff members to cut back on if the needs become apparent. This includes not just terminations but short-term layovers for short-term slowdowns.
Along with a plan for the worst, a manager should also have a plan for increasing the workforce. When planning, it is essential to know what is happening in each department. Monthly department meetings to discuss the current operations can help along with planning by focusing light on the department with significant and sustained growth. When planning, it is vital to balance the desire for more staff members in a department with the need. Some managers may request more help but cannot justify the need.
The HR department needs to work with the other departments in hiring, training, and other employee matters to best use the staff member's work experience. The HR department needs to work with every step of the staff member's work-life from the orientation process, yearly training, and employee empowerment. A good employee is an asset to the company and should be treated as a vital member of the team. By including staff members with decision-making and promoting from within the company can empower the employee, helping retain him or her. This also means dealing with any disciplinary actions needed from demotion to termination.
Monthly meetings with the other departments can help define any problems occurring within the company, as well as any staffing situations. The HR department should also develop plans for the workforce, whether it would entail a reduction or enlargement in staffing.
Gomez-Majia, L., Balkin, D., & Cardy, R. (2010). Managing Human Resources. Retrieved from
Staren, E. (2009). Optimizing Staff Motivations. Physician Executive, 35(), 4. Retrieved from
Terry, K. (2008). The Secrets of successful staffing. MGMA Connexion / Medical Group
Management Association, 8(9), 5. Retrieved from https://ehis.ebscohost.com/eds/detail?sid=117c5e91-94d2-4b82-8514-2a4886ce5401%40sessionmgr110&vid=6&hid=124&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d#db=mnh&AN=18956543
© 2013 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron