The HR department of a typical business has to wear a lot of different hats; they're in charge of hiring, benefits, payroll, conflict resolution, and employee concerns...you name it and HR probably has something to do with it. The expertise of a good HR department is really defined by how well they’re able to deal with problems. It may sound unfair, but it’s true; a big part of HR’s responsibilities concern cleaning up messes at all different levels. Here are some of the biggest problems typically faced by an HR department, and how to deal with them:
Recruitment is a big problem for any company. You’ve got to get the right people in there, and it can be difficult to determine what is “right” about a given candidate. This, of course, usually all falls to HR. HR has the delicate responsibility of assembling a cohesive team with the correct balance of skills, personality, motivation and collaboration, and they do this by building an intimate understanding of the company. Whether, recruitment is handled by your in-house HR team, or by a third party, the entire recruitment process should be as centralized and documented as possible. When dealing with multiple applications, each with extensive details, it's important to keep track of everything.
People often forget about employee retention. While recruitment may be an obvious responsibility for HR, Retention is perhaps just as important, if not more so. Finding and enticing new talent may come naturally, but keeping that talent around, especially in today’s job market, can be tough. Productivity, for any business, is key and employee retention directly affects your business’s overall productivity; it’s hard to be productive if you have a skills gap that needs to be filled with a new hire. Retention comes down to balancing three things for current employees: company culture, incentives, remuneration. As long as a current employee enjoys the culture of the company, they feel they are being paid adequately, and there’s incentive to progress in their work, they have no reason to look for another job.
Training/Health & Safety
Training is another big one for Human Resources. Not only do new hires need to be familiarized in the workings of your office, they also need to be brought up to speed with health & safety procedures, which, in some cases, can involve lengthy, instructive seminars. In other cases, training may involve official training and professional certification. True, some of this responsibility does fall to the employee, but in the case of Health and Safety and official certification, the employer is equally responsible. Legally, your company has to keep a detailed record of all training and Health & Safety stuff, and it’s best to keep the entire training process as centralized as possible. Remember, training an employee is also for your benefit. It protects you as an employer from certain liabilities.
Fostering a Communicative Environment
Remember, one HR’s foremost concerns is overall productivity. They are also very concerned with fostering beneficial employee interactions. Both of these things are only cultivated in an environment where there is open communication. Unfortunately, there is no standard method for developing this sort of environment. The best practice is to stress communication in your training seminars at all levels. It also helps for HR reps to practice what they preach; being openly communicative with your colleagues will help them do so with one another. Productivity soars when all members of the team are on the same page, and they can’t do that without communicating.
Conflict Resolution and Discipline may be the least favored of responsibilities among HR staffers. Different employees inevitably run into conflict when interacting with one another, and it’s necessary for a third party (i.e. HR) to deal with the matter objectively. To start, it’s best to have conflict resolution procedures detailed in your training seminars. That way everyone knows that it will come up and they’ll know what to do when it does. Additionally, HR has keep as detailed a record as possible when it comes to conflict resolution and discipline. For discipline, HR is going to need statements, evidence, and documents to take an action that is legal and ethical. This can take a lot of time. As with other major problems we’ve detailed here, it’s best to keep efforts centralized and documented so that everything is easily referenced.
Those are some of the biggest issues that HR departments face regularly, but really the responsibilities of an HR department can be quite expansive. All in all, it’ll suffice to say that Human Resources Departments have a lot to juggle. But, as we’ve shown, it’s best to communicate openly and to keep records of everything!
Having a dedicated HR staff on hand is key, but it’s a common misconception that you need an in-house HR department for your company. All that you really need is access to professionals who possess the right breadth of knowledge, like those at All Things HR. Outsourcing your HR isn’t what it used to be. Now your company, no matter how big or small, can access the information and resources they need to stay productive.
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