HR Experts Explain the Importance of Human Resources Management
You’ve been in the business world long enough that you’re no stranger to the world of human resources. Your organization’s HR representative is probably the one who welcomed you into the company and made themselves available to talk if any questions or problems came up once you were on the job.
Even though human resources professionals are part of nearly every company across all industries, their job is still something of a mystery to you. You can see that they’re a respected, valuable part of your organization, but how do they spend their time when they’re not welcoming new recruits or updating the team on policies?
We spoke with HR experts to help lay out the importance of human resources management. Keep reading to discover the ins and outs of this vital business career.
Beyond hiring and firing
It’s a common misconception that HR representatives are only concerned with hiring and firing employees. Though these important tasks are part of their job duties, HR employees are involved in far more than that.
“While most people are familiar with the more transactional parts of HR such as hiring, payroll and benefits administration, many are not aware of the more strategic parts of HR,” says Mani Goulding, HR consultant at Career Passion. Entry-level HR employees will often tackle the well-known tasks of payroll and recruiting, leaving HR managers free to focus on these strategic aspects of the job.
These HR management positions “Are critical to the long-term health of an organization” and can include tasks like succession planning, employee branding and employee learning, according to Goulding. HR managers supervise their teams while collaborating with company executives on these big-picture tasks that keep the organization moving in the right direction.
Human Resources: the backbone of the company
You might be surprised to learn the large role HR managers play in executing an organization’s vision for the future. These professionals could be considered the backbone of the company, as they work closely with executives on business planning. Goulding reports that much of her job involves utilizing “Aspects of HR strategy that have impact on the long-term health of an organization (such as employment branding, succession planning, hiring strategies) with our business planning process,” Goulding says.
One way HR managers make this happen is by compiling regular reports with essential information such as “Recruitment, turnover, headcount and money spent on employee engagement initiatives,” says Keyla Kirton, HR leader at Keyla Kirton Consulting. These numbers can give company leaders a snapshot of their organization’s health as well as spotlight which areas of their workforce might need to change if the company wants to reach its goals.
Even the more basic functions of an HR department can become part of a company’s overall business strategy. For example, Goulding says recruitment isn’t just about filling a chair, but about finding a candidate with the right skill set and the right fit for the company’s culture. Employee retention isn’t just about reducing turnover, but rather about investing in employees as people by helping them develop both personally and professionally.
Helping employees do their best work
Companies are nothing without the people who do the work. Every single employee is a valuable asset to an organization. One of a human resource manager’s most important functions is to ensure that their workplace is designed to support employees in doing the best work possible.
This vital job duty takes place in a variety of ways. Kirton notes that providing ongoing professional development and training for employees is a key priority in a healthy HR department. Investing in employees through continuous training and education not only attracts higher-quality job candidates to a company, but it also gives human resources the opportunity to develop essential skills in the organization’s next generation of leaders.
“Providing guidance and coaching for leaders concerning employee relations issues” is another essential daily task that falls to HR managers, according to Kirton. Some organization leaders gain their position thanks to high technical skills, but they lack the ability to successfully manage others in a productive way. That’s where HR managers step in to provide ongoing support to company leaders. Their guidance in leadership can trickle down to make a more comfortable, enjoyable company culture for everyone.
The bright future of HR management
This may be the first you’re hearing about the strategic role of HR managers, but it’s becoming a growing trend in many organizations. “Today’s HR is moving toward a more strategic role, including being a business partner in the organization,” says Dr. Brent Oberholtzer, HR consulting psychologist at Org-Ology.
Oberholtzer notes that technology has come on the scene to handle many traditional aspects of human resources, such as payroll, performance reviews and even sifting through resumes. Thanks to this help, Oberholtzer sees the daily work of HR managers as “Shifting the focus toward people analytics, data analysis and IT usage to solve and identify future trends in all of the traditional functions” of a human resources department.
With HR managers being responsible for both guiding the future of their company and keeping employee satisfaction high, it’s not hard to see why these professionals are such a valued resource in most organizations. And those armed with a Master’s degree are in even more sought after.
Human resources: more important than you think
Now that we’ve uncovered the importance of human resources management, you may be wondering what it takes to join their ranks. Find out if becoming an HR professional could be in your future with our article, “How to Become a Human Resources Manager.”