Most employees have a primary and instinctual understanding of what human resources entail, but this field is far vaster — and more critical — than many realize. At its most basic, human resource management provides precisely what its name implies: oversight and guidance centered on the people who keep today’s organizations running.
Often, this mission focuses on specific aspects of the employee life cycle: finding the right employees through hiring, preparing them for success with proper onboarding or training, and handling the payroll and benefits that make up each individual’s livelihood.
Of course, the best interests of the organization in question are at the forefront of this. It is up to HR professionals and departments to strike a workable balance between the demands of company leaders and the day-to-day needs of current and future employees.
Recruitment, Hiring, and Onboarding New Employees
HR departments are responsible for finding, vetting, and onboarding the best employees. There is much more to finding a new employee than just examining technical skills or credentials. Employees must also fit into the company culture and have soft skills such as empathy and collaboration.
Many HR professionals are solely concerned with recruitment and hiring. They may be referred to as talent acquisition specialists or recruiters in this role. To attract more attention from potential applicants, they may visit college campuses, attend job fairs, or develop online recruitment strategies.
HR is also crucial to streamlined onboarding, which includes orientation to make new hires feel as comfortable and confident as possible. Furthermore, HR specialists oversee the completion of the required paperwork and the communication of critical policies to ensure that new hires are ready for their first day on the job.
Improving Retention and Decreasing Turnover
The hiring process can seem never-ending, especially as employees spend less time in each position and with each organization. As a result, today’s businesses should develop policies that encourage the most talented employees to stay.
Recruitment and hiring are the first steps. For example, carefully written job descriptions should accurately convey what each position entails, avoiding unpleasant surprises that cause employees to leave.
As previously stated, candidates must be chosen for their skill set and ability to fit into the company culture. They will be more committed to their work and less likely to look for other opportunities if they share similar values or philosophies.
Once hired, HR departments can reduce turnover by keeping lines of communication open and providing opportunities for advancement. This could include mentorship programs or skill training.
HR professionals can also make employees feel appreciated by developing reward or recognition programs. HR departments should monitor retention-related metrics while collecting relevant information from exit interviews.
Handling Employee Benefits and Salaries
Employees receive their agreed-upon pay on time and according to their expectations when systems are efficient and accurate. This dependability can significantly impact employee retention, so its significance should not be underestimated.
Payroll and benefits administration are not the primary functions of most HR teams, and aspirant HR professionals should know this. Instead, the finance team is in charge of this essential, with HR ensuring that the employee-facing aspects of payroll run as smoothly as possible. Of course, there are exceptions, with smaller organizations more likely to involve HR in payroll administration.
Payroll and benefits administration are far more complicated than the average employee realizes. The data collected and analyzed during the payroll process provides valuable insights into other aspects of human resources.
HR professionals can use payroll data to determine who works when, for how long, and how compensation aligns with employee expectations and industry trends.
Risk and Liability Management
Today’s corporate environments are fraught with danger. Many are directly related to the employees who keep these organizations running. Other risks revolve around critical HR processes such as recruitment, hiring, and benefits administration.
HR professionals specializing in risk and liability management tackle these issues head-on, gathering extensive data to determine where the risks exist and how they can be mitigated. Common hazards include the following:
- Conflict in the workplace
- Workplace accidents
- Employee exhaustion
- Privacy concerns regarding data
- Observance of labor laws
- Fraud or embezzlement
During mergers and acquisitions, turnover occurs.
An effective risk management strategy can reduce the likelihood of these and other risks, and when risks are deemed unavoidable, HR can at least limit the damage.
Why Is HR More Important Than Ever?
In the face of persistent labor shortages, businesses must go above and beyond to attract and retain the best employees. From a corporate standpoint, the value of a well-managed HR department is obvious: it can provide a competitive advantage in an evolving workforce plagued by labor shortages. Keep in mind the following points:
HR Is the First Step in Achieving Business Goals
According to McKinsey experts, HR professionals will shape tomorrow’s organizations. The traditional hierarchical structure is already giving way to a more flexible approach, which, while exciting, necessitates more strategic approaches to everything from recruitment to compensation and even performance management. According to McKinsey, purpose-driven will be a crucial term, beginning with clear definitions of the organization’s purpose and extending to the selection of purpose-driven employees and purpose-related metrics.
HR professionals can help organizations develop their “value agendas” by “managing talent rigorously” and “building an analytics capability to mine data to hire, develop, and retain the best employees.” These initiatives will improve agility and innovation, which are critical to success in the coming years and decades.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Employers today are more interested in establishing the three qualities known as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). DEI initiatives produce numerous benefits at the corporate level, including increased sales, innovation, and high employee morale. These initiatives broaden opportunities for applicants and employees from all backgrounds while ensuring everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
HR professionals are critical in developing and overseeing initiatives that instill a DEI culture. These programs and processes must now include virtual solutions in addition to brick-and-mortar workplaces. As stated in the SHRM State of the Workplace Report for 2021 and 2022, it is now up to HR professionals to determine “who is ‘out of mind’ when they are ‘out of sight'” and what can be done to address these disparities.
Human Resources Is a Growing Industry
The HR market is already booming, but the industry’s rapid rise is just getting started. The aforementioned SHRM State of the Workplace Report reflected this. According to this resource, HR budgets are rapidly increasing, with experts at SHRM explaining that “the vast majority of organizations are planning to increase headcount and develop their people managers to support their organization’s talent needs and improve their soft skills.”
In this SHRM survey, nearly three-quarters of respondents said their department was “recognized by senior leaders as critical” to their company’s core functions.
Management recognizes the importance of human resources, and experts predict that this field will expand significantly in the coming years. This growing importance is reflected in data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which shows an 8 percent increase in job opportunities for HR specialists between 2021 and 2031.
Make a Difference in the Rapidly Evolving Field of Human Resources
As an HR professional or manager, you can make the modern workplace as collaborative and innovative as possible. However, you will first require a targeted education that will assist you in developing a wide range of essential skills. A good degree program will prepare you for a successful career in human resources.
We are pleased to offer the opportunity to earn your Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management at Post University. There is also an online Human Resource Management Certificate available. Both programs assist you in developing fundamental skills for a variety of HR and related career paths. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about these or other opportunities.