What is HR?
Back to basics.
HR, or Human Resources, is an umbrella term used to describe the wide range of essential functions needed for an organisation to make the best of its people. HR Managers have a lot on their plate, as they can be in charge of recruitment, hiring, onboarding, benefits, admin and even company events…so they get to see every aspect of the business in motion!
Larger companies may have a dedicated HR Manager (and/or HR Assistant), while smaller businesses might share this role out between other positions, but having a strong HR system is the foundation of a happy, functioning team. The HR department in your business needs to set rules and boundaries, establish clear processes, stay on top of everyone’s admin, and mediate any internal disputes.
To understand the purpose of HR, it’s worth considering the main role responsibilities of an HR manager:
**Attracting and Hiring Talent **
Although departmental leads and senior leaders will have a sense of the type of person they want to hire into a role, it’s the job of HR to go out and find the perfect candidate. This might sound easy enough, but it’s not as simple as writing a nice job description and posting it on a few online boards! HR needs to ensure that they clearly communicate the best elements of their culture and take initiative to create diversity within the business.
Once a few candidates have presented themselves, the HR manager will typically serve as a gatekeeper: conducting an initial screening interview to ensure that they fit the basic requirements. They’ll then arrange future meetings and track their way through the interview process, ensuring that they’re made to feel welcome every step of the way.
If the company decides to make a job offer, the HR department will arrange onboarding – that is, collecting all of your newest team member’s necessary documents and details – as well as helping to structure their first few days and weeks to give them the best possible introduction to their new team.
Sometimes an HR Manager might be known as a “Head of Talent” or “Head of People”, as even when they’re sorting admin or coordinating annual leave (using CharlieHR!), their primary role is to help individuals to make the best of their time as part of your team.
The journey through your company – from first day to promotion to CEO (we can all dream!) is known as the Employee Lifecycle. It’s the HR department’s job to support each and every team member through their own journey, as well as helping to ease and improve whole-team dynamics.
At its best, HR is about developing each person’s skills, talents and career. However, this journey isn’t always smooth, and HR might also be responsible for acting as an impartial third party or even bearer of bad news in the case of disciplinary action, mediation or ultimately, firing people.
Beyond the individual, it can be the role of the HR department to help set the tone for your company culture; that is, everything outside of the actual work you do every day! From booking away days to organising team lunches, many HR Managers find themselves becoming part-time party planners. Depending on your set up, they may also be responsible for everything from keeping the fridge stocked with milk to setting up meeting rooms.
A truly great HR Manager understands that they might need to roll up their sleeves and muck in wherever they’re needed, while an excellent company knows that it’s everyone’s job to help! Your HR Manager may be a superhero, but they’re also a member of the team. HR is never tangential to a great organisation: it is the bedrock.