One of the foundations of a successful business is the ability to attract and retain talent. Human Resources (sometimes referred to as Personnel) plays a vital role in this. HR covers everything from recruitment and training to employee wellbeing and even conflict resolution in the workplace. HR professionals also play a crucial role in fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment. It can be a fascinating and fulfilling career move for someone who is people-orientated, pragmatic and, increasingly, great with technology.
What is HR?
Human Resources is all about dealing with the relationship and functions between a business and its employees. A large organisation may have an entire department dedicated to HR, whilst smaller companies may have just one HR manager. And, of course, many general managers also take on some of the responsibilities encompassed by HR, even if they aren’t dedicated HR professionals.
Best-selling careers and business author Jacob Morgan describes the importance of HR very succinctly:
“HR is the driving force in building a cohesive work environment where employees are happy and growth can happen. Today, human resources employees help shape and lead strategy, especially as organizations realize the impact employee experience can have on growth and revenue. With a great corporate culture, employees show up to work for more than just the paycheck, which means HR also has to work on more than just payroll.”
As Morgan suggests, successful Human Resource management now encompasses a wide range of responsibilities. These will vary depending on the organisation’s size and industry, but some common responsibilities include:
- Talent Acquisition and Recruitment: Identifying staffing needs, creating job descriptions, posting job openings, sourcing candidates, conducting interviews, and making hiring decisions. They also manage the onboarding process for new employees.
- Employee Onboarding: Ensuring that new team members are smoothly integrated into the organisation. This includes providing inductions, explaining company policies and procedures, and assisting with paperwork and training.
- Training and Development: Developing and implementing training programmes to enhance employees’ skills and knowledge.
- Performance Management: Overseeing performance appraisal processes, including setting performance goals, conducting evaluations, and providing feedback.
- Salary and Benefits: Managing salary and benefits programmes, including administering payroll, conducting salary surveys to ensure competitive remuneration, and administering employee benefits such as healthcare, pensions, and bonuses.
- Employee Relations: HR serves as a point of contact for employees who have workplace concerns or conflicts. They work to resolve issues, promote a positive work environment, and ensure compliance with employment law.
- HR Policies and Compliance: Developing and maintaining company policies and procedures, ensuring they align with legal requirements and industry standards.
- Employee Engagement: Fostering a positive workplace culture and high levels of engagement. This could involve organising team-building activities, surveys to gather employee feedback, and initiatives to enhance morale.
- Workforce Planning: Long-term strategic planning to ensure the organisation has the right number and type of employees to meet its future goals, objectives, and budgets.
- Diversity and Inclusion: Inclusive workplaces are a priority, and HR often leads initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion, ensuring that the workforce reflects a broad range of backgrounds and perspectives.
Why work in HR?
As the list above illustrates, HR is enormously varied. It plays a crucial role in supporting and managing an organisation’s most valuable asset – its people – and a career in HR can be a rewarding and fulfilling choice. With its people-centric nature, diverse opportunities, and the chance to contribute to organisational success, HR can offer a dynamic and satisfying career path. What’s more, the ability to make a positive impact on people’s lives and nurture their careers through support, workplace learning and training can make HR an excellent choice for those who value meaningful work.
Looking to the future, the fast pace of change in modern organisations is only likely to continue. Advances in technology are causing businesses to undergo dramatic transformations, and employers are becoming more aware of the importance of employee wellbeing. Skilled Human Resource management is needed to make these changes go smoothly, and therefore, a role that remains in demand across many industries. Put simply, HR provides a career with real longevity – as long as companies are employing people, HR will always be needed.