‘Some industry commentators call the Human Resources function the last bastion of bureaucracy. Traditionally, the role of the Human Resource professional in many organizations has been to serve as the systematizing, policing arm of executive management. In this role, the HR professional served executive agendas well, but was frequently viewed as a road block by much of the rest of the organization. While some need for this role occasionally remains – you wouldn’t want every manager putting his own spin on a sexual harassment policy, as an example – much of the HR role is transforming itself.
The role of the HR manager must parallel the needs of his changing organization. Successful organizations are becoming more adaptable, resilient, quick to change direction and customer-centred. Within this environment, the HR professional, who is considered necessary by line managers, is a strategic partner, an employee sponsor or advocate and a change mentor. Strategic Partner In today’s organizations, to guarantee their viability and ability to contribute, HR managers need to think of themselves as strategic partners.
In this role, the HR person contributes to the development of and the accomplishment of the organization-wide business plan and objectives. The HR business objectives are established to support the attainment of the overall strategic business plan and objectives. The tactical HR representative is deeply knowledgeable about the design of work systems in which people succeed and contribute. This strategic partnership impacts HR services such as the design of work positions; hiring; reward, recognition and strategic pay; performance development and appraisal systems; career and succession planning; and employee development.
Employee Advocate As an employee sponsor or advocate, the HR manager plays an integral role in organizational success via his knowledge about and advocacy of people. This advocacy includes expertise in how to create a work environment in which people will choose to be motivated, contributing, and happy. Fostering effective methods of goal setting, communication and empowerment through responsibility, builds employee ownership of the organization. The HR professional helps establish the organizational culture and climate in which people have the competency, concern and commitment to serve customers well.
In this role, the HR manager provides employee development opportunities, employee assistance programs, gain-sharing and profit-sharing strategies, organization development interventions, due process approaches to problem solving and regularly scheduled communication opportunities. Change Champion The constant evaluation of the effectiveness of the organization results in the need for the HR professional to frequently champion change. Both knowledge about and the ability to execute successful change strategies make the HR professional exceptionally valued.
Knowing how to link change to the strategic needs of the organization will minimize employee dissatisfaction and resistance to change. The HR professional contributes to the organization by constantly assessing the effectiveness of the HR function. He also sponsors change in other departments and in work practices. To promote the overall success of his organization, he champions the identification of the organizational mission, vision, values, goals and action plans. Finally, he helps determine the measures that will tell his organization how well it is succeeding in all of this. ‘ Tasks and Activities of a HR practitioner
Recruitment and selection- Design of policies and procedures of fair recruitment and selection in order to contribute to the fulfilment of the organisations’ corporate strategy. Carry out interviews or monitor and give advice on interview technique or on terms and conditions of employment. Training and Development- Involved in planning training and development opportunities for the whole organisation, to meet the needs of the organisation as expressed in its strategic plan and to meet the needs of individuals. May design and organise training courses for groups and sometime run them.
May keep training records centrally and request information from line managers as part of planning exercise or to monitor success of training and development. Human Resource Planning- Depending on the level of appointment is likely to be involved to various degrees in contributing to the strategic plan. Collection and analysis of data; monitoring targets for the whole organisation. Providing information to managers. Conducting exit interviews and analysing reasons for leaving. Provision of contracts- Provide written statement of particulars for new employees and issue them to these employees, having checked that the detail is correct.
Keep all copies of all documentation relating to the employee and advice on any alterations to the contract. Provision of fair treatment- Involvement in design of policies and procedures of the whole organisation to encourage fair treatment at work. Inform and train people in these policies and procedures. Monitor the success of these policies. Equal Opportunities- Involvement in the design of policies to encourage equal opportunities. Train and inform managers and all employees throughout the organisation in these polices. Monitor the effectiveness of equal opportunities policies by collecting and analysing information.
Assessing performance of employees- Involvement in design and implementation of techniques to assess performance of employees effectively in a way that links clearly with the organisation’s strategic plan. Train, inform and involve people in performance management techniques. Monitor the effectiveness of the procedures. Many maintain central records about performance of individual employees. Employee Counselling- Establish appropriate system, either in-house or by external consultants, for employee counselling. May be involved in counselling employees with problems or may have to refer them to specialised counselling.
Employee Welfare- Establish appropriate systems for employee welfare in accordance with the objectives of organisation. Monitor the cost and effectiveness of this provision. Payment and reward of employees- Establish appropriate payment and reward systems for all employees in order to contribute to the organisation’s strategic plan. Monitor the success of these. Collect comparative data for other organisations in area or nationally. Deal with individual problems about pay. May be involved in negotiation about payment or reward systems. Tell individuals of their pay when the join the organisation or change jobs.
Health and Safety- Involvement in design and implementation of the organisation’s health and safety policy in order to contribute to the organisation’s strategic plan. Monitor the effectiveness of this. May sit on safety committee or may have line management responsibilities for safety officer or organisation’s nurse. Involvement in promotion of health and safety and encouraging the involvement of others throughout the organisation. Disciplining individuals- Design of disciplinary procedure. Monitor the effectiveness of the procedure. Give advice to line managers on disciplinary problems.
Organise training for line managers and employees about disciplinary issues. Issue warnings in later stages of disciplinary procedure. Maintain central records of disciplinary action taken. Dealing with grievances- Participate in the design of grievance procedure and encourage the involvement of others in this. Inform and train people in grievance handling. Monitor the effectiveness of the grievance procedure. May deal with some stages in the in the grievance procedure or appeals. Dismissal- Review procedures for dismissal to ensure that they comply with legislation.
Provide advice and guidance on fair dismissals procedure. Provide training for all who may be involved in the dismissal process. May dismiss employee. Redundancy- Is likely to be involved in consultation with regard to redundancy. Is likely to be involved in selection of those to be made redundant. May inform employee of redundancy and amount of pay and rights. May organise provision of more generous redundancy payment if this is in line with organisation policy. May organise provision of outplacement facilities either in-house or by consultations.
Negotiation- Is likely to be involved in negotiation on a wide range of organisation-wide issues. Encouraging involvement- Will have an extremely important role in creating a culture within the organisation in which employees are encouraged to be involved indecision-making. Will be involved in designing policy and procedures to encourage employee involvement in line with strategic plan. Will also provide training to encourage employee involvement. Evaluating the role and responsibilities of line managers in HR practices The basic role of front line managers