Q: WHAT IS HR?
Human Resources (HR), or sometimes called Human Capital, is the department within an organisation that deals with all things people related. HR ensures that a business has all of the right employees that it needs to operate successfully and at an affordable cost. Up until the 1920s HR was instead referred to as ‘personnel administration’ and focused on the key aspects of hiring =, evaluating, and compensating the organisations employees. They did not focus on any aspects of employment relations as they do now. The key concept behind human resources is that employees who are well managed and taken care of are more likely to perform well, and therefor contribute effectively to the organisation’s overall direction.
Q: WHAT ARE THE HR’S RESPONSIBILITIES?
Human Resources departments oversee every aspect of the employee lifecycle within an organisation. Typically, HR departments are involved in key aspects that are needed to keep an organisation functioning such as being involved in the recruitment and selection process. The recruitment and selection process are usually done by the HR department and contain key duties such as organising interviews, posting job advertisement, evaluating the performance of employees, and ensuring that background checks are done. Human Resources is also responsible for the compensation and benefits aspect of the company, the training of its employees, dealing with employee and labour relations, and is involved in the overall organisational development strategy.
Q: IS HR INVOLVED IN THE EMPLOYEE SEPARATION PROCESS?
HR is responsible for many key aspects of the employee separation process. If the employee quits, is fired, or laid off, the HR department must complete a series of checks to make sure that the process was done completely legally. This is where severance pay may be offered or negotiated, benefits are settled, and access to employee property, equipment, or sensitive data is removed.
Q: WHAT DO HR DO FOR EMPLOYEE MORALE?
As time has gone on, HR teams have become increasingly aware as to the importance of morale amongst the workforce. It is for this reason that HR departments are now responsible for encouraging their organisation’s employees to work at their best. This is most often accomplished with reward and incentive programs that reward employees for their good performance, thereby creating a positive and more ambitious working environment.
When an organisation has a poor HR department, employees don’t feel supported in these key areas, and so their motivation to perform a good job is understandably affected. For this reason, a poorly functioning HR department can have serious negative consequences for the organisation as a whole.
Q: DOES HR INFLUENCE COMPANY CULTURE?
Having a positive company culture is no longer considered to be just a bonus to working in an organisation but is quickly becoming one the key aspects that motivate people to join the company. It drives employee engagement, increases onboarding, has positive effects on staff retention, and increases job satisfaction amongst staff. Key aspects of company culture, such as pay, reward and incentive policies, and training and development all play a large role in the overall culture of a company. For this reason, HR is vitally important in setting the right tone across the organisation for their employees.
Q: IS HR INVOLVED IN LEGAL ISSUES?
It is vital for a HR professional to have a good understanding of employment law and all the people-centric regulatory requirements that organisations are required to adhere to. This is a very large area and as such larger organisations often employee HR professionals who specialise in employment law who can oversee and advise on key employee related legal matters.
Q: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HR AND RECRUITMENT?
Recruiters focus exclusively on recruiting and selecting candidates for a specific job for a company. HR can perform recruitment duties, but are responsible for other functions like, benefits administration, training, employee relations and strategic strategy planning. Often, larger organisations will employ recruiters to work in the HR department.
Q: IS TALENT ACQUISITION PART OF HR?
Talent acquisition is the process of finding and acquiring skilled human labour for organizational needs and to meet any labour requirement. When used in the context of the recruiting and HR profession, talent acquisition usually refers to the talent acquisition department or team within the Human Resources department.
Q: WHAT ROLES ARE THERE WITHIN A HR DEPARTMENT?
Due to the great variety of work that HR departments are responsible for, HR departments for larger organisations often have specific people who specialise within only one area of HR. For example, some HR professionals focus on employment law and others on only the recruitment process. The larger the organisation, the larger the HR department will usually be and will therefor allow for a greater variety of these professionals. Typically, however, there are some common roles that run throughout HR departments. Here a few of the more common job titles and their typical responsibilities:
- HR Assistant or HR Administrator – This is usually an entry level position and serves as the first point of contact for queries to the HR department. The majority of work in this role is the handling of employee related paperwork such as employment contracts.
- HR Officer – A more senior role that contains a number of key duties to keep the hr department running day to day. These responsibilities involves payroll, training and recruitment, tracking sick and holiday leave, equal opportunities, and establishing staff support systems.
- HR Manager – HR managers oversee others within the HR team and focus on the delivery of their responsibilities. HR managers will typically have a wider range of knowledge concerning employment law and employee relations issues.
- HR Business Partner – HR Business Partner is a relatively new role that differs from a HR Manager in a few aspects. HR Business Partners are less concerned with general administration responsibilities and instead focus mainly on developing strategic plans for employee recruitment and retention, as well as the overall effectiveness of the department.
- Head of HR – Heads of HR usually oversee the entirety of one aspect of human resources. For example, a Head of HR in talent acquisition will be concerned with overseeing those HR professionals who are involved in the recruitment process and not payroll or reward etc.
- HR Director – A HR director manages and controls the HR departments budgets as well as guides the overall HR strategy to adhere to the latest HR development theories. This is often the most senior position within a HR department and so are less involved in the day to day running’s of the department.
It is very important to note however that these descriptions are malleable as every HR department will have their own strategies and will be organised differently. Often, the job title of HR Business Partner and HR Manager is used interchangeably. The same is often said of Heads of HR and HR Directors. This is often the result of differences between sizes of the organisations and the HR department itself.
Q: WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO I NEED TO WORK IN HR?
While there are no formal qualifications that are required for the more junior and entry levels roles, such as a HR Administrator or a HR Assistant, the more senior roles typically require some qualifications. This is especially the case when it comes to working in larger organisations with more developed HR departments. Typically, the more senior positions in HR require at least a bachelor’s degree in human resources management or something related. Psychology is often one of the most common undergraduate degrees amongst HR professionals.
When it comes to more senior positions, such as Heads of HR or HR Directors, accreditation by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is often required. The majority of HR employers hold CIPD qualifications in high regard and they are often a prerequisite for these roles. CIPD qualifications consist of foundation, intermediate and advanced qualifications, with the more advanced qualifications being necessary for more senior positions.
For some smaller business however, CIPD qualifications may not be necessary for the more senior positions, and instead a greater deal of experience working within HR may be more desirable.
Q: WHAT IS HR OUTSOURCING?
Outsourcing is when an organisation pays another business to take over a service that would usually be carried out within the organisation itself. According to research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the main element of HR that organisations outsource is payroll. There are a number of reasons as to why outsourcing is preferential, specifically to organisations who look to outsource all HR roles and responsibilities.
For some businesses, the various functions of the HR department may be to complex to remain in house. For many small businesses, the cost of maintaining an in-house HR department can be very high and so outsourcing is the more preferential from a financial point of view. Outsourcing also provides businesses with better talent than they my be able to attract themselves. Maintaining a good HR department requires a great deal of time and energy with regard to keeping on top of the latest changes in employment law and other regulations that effect the workplace. Due to this, it is often preferential to have a team of HR professionals whose purpose is to stay up to date with any of these changes and how to best go about implementing them.
Q: HOW TO VARY HR DEPARTMENTS AMONG ORGANISATIONS?
There is a great deal of differences between HR departments across organisations. Although all HR departments have the same goals of problem solving and employee development, they vary widely on how it is best to achieve their aims. HR departments in small businesses are very different from those in larger business, partially due to the reduced demand needed across the organisation. A small business that employs between 1 to 5 people are unlikely to have a dedicated HR professional, and so human resources matters are likely to be undertaken by somebody who also has other responsibilities. Smaller businesses are often forced to take a more reactive role in HR matters due to these size constraints.
Contrasting this, larger companies are likely to have an entire department filled with HR professionals to handle all HR needs. Many of these professionals will specialise in specific issues such as recruitment and training, employment law, or strategic development. Working in a large company often gives each HR professional the advantage of having assistance across all areas of HR. This may result in a lighter workload to the individual than somebody who has take up the majority of HR issues in a small business.
Q: WHAT IS IN STORE FOR HR IN THE FUTURE?
The world of HR changes at a rapid rate. New research is constantly being carried out and the best companies will require their HR departments to take on board and implement the latest findings.
Many experts believe that the future of HR is looking to be very different due to the rise of artificial intelligence and its inherent abilities to handle administrative tasks. The emergence of virtual and augmented reality is also believed to be used for training and development purposes. On the other hand, there are many HR professionals who believe that Human Resources will always remain one of the most essential industries due to its purpose being so people focused.
There has been a big increase in recent years for employees to be more free at work than ever before. Many companies are promoting progressive policies such as remote working and a greater amount of employee benefits. As these organisations continue to strive for improvements in the quality of life for their employees, HR departments and professionals will become an even more important aspect of businesses across the world.