The role of Human Resources

We delve into the mysteries of Human Resources and how it can help you optimise your business performance.

Many of us have daily encounters with human resources. Sometimes we get to wonder whether HR has their employees’ best interest at heart. Many times I get asked questions like “What is the role of Human Resources in an organisation?” or “How come there is no connection between HR and employees?” and many others. This is a clear sign that the role of HR is not clearly understood.

What is the role of HR in organisation?

HR’s role is to interpret company strategy in terms of sourcing skills and experience required, personality attitudes that lead to the delivery of boosted services in an organisation. It is HR’s responsibility to make sure that people are competent to do what they are employed to do. Therefore, HR will develop the performance measurement yardstick and career progression for employees. Remember all this has to line up with the company’s strategy.

HR works with department heads (justified by a business case) to establish when new staff is necessary.

What follows after probation/induction is passed?

The job description, person profile, SMART goals, performance review calendar and training plan should always be a point of reference. This helps employer or employee from deviating from the original plan without agreement. With this in place HR will aid the line manager in resolving any bottlenecks and disciplinary issues.

How are disputes between a Line Manager and employee resolved?

These are usually resolved between parties involved. However, where there is stalemate then the formal way of addressing disputes is used. The process is safe, confidential and provides suitable solutions for those involved. In such a case HR is impartial. The main reason of HR’s involvement is to encourage open-mindedness and to build the broken bridge.

HR is the middleman that ensures communications within and across the business, e.g. department, managers, per groups remains fluid and relevant.

I have been off sick often, what happens now?

To be able to help, an understanding of the underlying problem is necessary. Short and repeated sickness absences need formal enquiry and if necessary a disciplinary action. HR may use the following steps to manage repeated sickness or absence from work (in the UK):

1The cause and reason is thoroughly investigated.

2. Keep a record of and accurate information about the absences.

3. Employers will discuss concerns and use return to work interviews or self-certification if its one day absence.

4. Reasonable absences to cover medical appointments are authorised. This includes pregnant employees going for ante-natal care. Having said so, no one can be off on successive weeks for medical appointments.

5. A medical report might me requested to make sure there is no concealed medical condition and to offer support as needed.

6. The employee might need a programme that will help them back to work at a pace suitable to them.

7. Where there is no medical report, counselling or warning might be given.

What about family requirements or needs?

8. Someone once asked “Am l entitled to compassionate leave because l was off work attending to my sickly mother?”

Compassionate leave is at the discretion of the company it is not a must.

Let us look at it this way, if you were running your own business would you allow your workers to be off due to family issues?

The above are basic questions asked about HR and l trust the discussion will be useful to many. MT

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