What is the role of HR?
It’s very far-reaching indeed.
HR sometime gets a bit of a bad reputation: for being dull, dry or unnecessarily bureaucratic. However, their role may be one of the broadest in the entire company, but at it’s heart it comes down to strengthening and supporting strategic decisions around how the business actually runs. HR managers may be specialists or generalists, but their role is always to make sure that the infrastructure of everyone else’s working lives runs like clockwork.
Here are the six main areas that most HR managers deal with every day:
HR managers refine and post job adverts, hold phone screenings and first stage interviews and keep track of each applicant’s journey through the recruitment process. Once you’ve been offered a job, they’ll usually send you your contract, manage your onboarding, arrange welcome meetings across the business and schedule your first day.
Part of the role of the HR department is to ensure that the business is following regulations and protecting employee rights. This can be legal obligation, but also have a moral element. If your company has extra goals and policies around diversity or lifestyle, it is up to the HR department to make sure they’re actually being actioned.
Offices can hazardous, and not just because someone has left an unwrapped chicken sandwich in the fridge for 6 months. HR will likely be in conversation with the office or building manager, and may be responsible for alerting the team to fire alarm tests and running first aid training.
Increasingly, HR may also be involved in cyber security measures, particularly if they use or manage any automated systems; from protecting your data and documents, to ensuring that the team is implementing best practices on their own devices.
Salary and benefits
Although HR don’t set your salary and can’t give you a raise (so don’t go complaining to them…!), they will liaise with your company accountants to make sure everyone is paid correctly and on time. It’s also up to them to advise senior management on benefits and payment policies. Some of these may be legal requirements – such as auto-enrollment for pensions and maternity leave – but your company may also have it’s own policies on paternity leave, overtime and holiday pay that they need to approve and/or manage.
Professional development and training
Although HR don’t make the big decisions around promotions or responsibilities, it is their job to understand how the company sits together structurally. To strengthen and support every member of the organisation they should be offering both essential and additional training. Training may be categorized as a benefit in your company, so even if you’re seeking your own opportunities make sure to check in with HR to see how they can support you.
Once all the strategy is discussed and the admin is filed, your HR department can get onto the good stuff. Your company culture is what sets you apart, and HR play a huge rule in making sure you practice what you preach. From sending daily or weekly communications, to arranging introductions and inter-company networking, planning events, running recruitment drives and aligning policies, your HR department sits at the heart of your business culture.
This also goes the other way – if you are a company that respects, supports and shows an interest in your HR team, what does that say about you?