HR Debunked: What is HR and why do you need it – Part 1

I sat in a virtual meeting recently with a group of pretty switched on business owners and after we’d done the standard introductions, one brave soul spoke up and said she didn’t really know what HR was, or what an HR Consultant could do for her business. While she might have been the lone voice in the meeting that day, the looks on the faces of some of the others suggested to me that she wasn’t the only one wondering. It got me thinking about how many other small business owners aren’t quite sure what HR *is*, what it *isn’t* or why they need it. Over a three-part blog series, we will explore each of these topics.

HR, or human resources, is the name given to the function responsible for the management and development of employees within a business. The size of the business will often determine what it needs from HR expertise but whether you have one employee or one hundred plus, there are facets of HR which are required at both ends of the spectrum. Here are six of the more common roles an HR practitioner can perform:

  1. Compliance – Compliance with your legal obligations as an employer that is. HR professionals will help to prepare and record appropriate compliance documentation and assist with ensuring that the pay and conditions business owners provide to their employees sits within the law. 
  1. Culture – Company policies form the foundation of a company culture and guide the behaviour of employees. HR will assist business owners to establish and implement their own company policies, underpinned by their company values, to ensure that the standards and principles which are important to the business are on display through employee conduct.  
  1. Relationships – Building relationships with employees to understand the processes and problems that exist within the business gives HR insight into the strategies and programs which can be designed and implemented to encourage stronger engagement between an employee and their role, greater satisfaction of the employee within their role and as a result, greater productivity and output for the business.
  1. Workforce Planning and Design – Having the right skills in the right place, at the right time is important for any business. HR can provide the advice and the tools necessary to review and adjust your workforce numbers and skills based on the workflow requirements of the business. 
  1. Performance Management –. HR support can design and run a performance management process for you so that your employees receive regular and constructive feedback on the job they are doing.
  1. Training and Development – Continual training and development of employees at work has a direct impact on their feelings of satisfaction and happiness in their roles. HR representatives will create a learning and development plan of mutual benefit for both employee and employer.  

I could go on for days about what else HR support can do for a business (and if you’d like me to, just give me a call!) but I’ll leave it here for now. Check back in soon when we explore what HR is *not*.

Leanne x

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