In today’s very competitive world of business, one might wonder which department is crucial to the business’s growth, value and longevity. There will be those who might guess the actual employees that produce the service or product, perhaps those that are in an executive leadership role, etc. Would you be surprised to learn that Human Resources as a department whole, is one of the most basic, integral elements of a successful business? Why is it so important?
The very name of this department should provide the first clue. While most managers might argue that producing the best service or product is the ultimate goal, a savvy business professional realizes that unhappy, overworked, or generally dissatisfied employees won’t carry the company very far. So how does Human Resources fit within Corporate America? In an age where statistics and Cost of Goods Sold are predominately noted on the Balance Sheet and Income Statement, a successful business executive can also point to these same source documents that will substantiate HR’s clout and credibility.
One of the reasons that Human Resources is such an important part of the business function is due to the many areas of concentration that must be addressed and managed each day. The HR Professional will likely work with many departments within the company on a regular basis, including upper management. The following is a brief synopsis of the HR scope in a business (dependent of course on size of the company).
Recruitment: HR is the first group of employees a new hire will meet. They are the first impression, and they are the group that determines whether the candidate has the desired skill set for a designated job. They are also the department that will do everything possible to keep employees happy so that they are able to retain their good employees and maintain a lucrative partnership with them.
Payroll: Undoubtedly the most important focus of HR some would argue! Think about it, payroll affects our state, local and federal taxes, allow people to purchase or rent a home, car, pay bills etc.
Benefits: One of the most important elements of employment to some people. Due to the large number of participants within the company, your HR department is able to negotiate a very affordable health plan for all their employees. Not to mention if one becomes disabled, there are disability plans to compensate while these employees are out of work either temporarily, or permanently. There is also the extension of benefits after termination of employment, more commonly referred to as COBRA. Have you ever injured yourself at work? Another benefit is Workers Compensation. This benefit allows the employee to seek medical help/treatment free of charge, as the medical bills are paid by the employer.
Employee Relations: Have you ever had an issue with a coworker? Supervisor? The best place to address concerns or problems would be the HR department. They can provide an unbiased opinion or plan of action for you to follow in order to effectively deal with these issues.
Compensation: In order for the employer to pay employees the most competitive rate, it is up to the HR department to keep abreast of the latest salary surveys and implement increases as needed. Let’s face it; no one would stay in a job that paid poor wages if they felt they could receive better compensation elsewhere. That is just human nature.
Legal: While most companies may have a legal department, some do not. In those instances, HR is responsible for making sure that federal and state employment laws are upheld and to intervene when there is an issue. This would also hold true if there was suspicion of illegal activity on the part of the employer.
As you can see, Human Resources run the gamut of responsibilities. Remember, behind every lucrative and successful business is a strong HR team. They protect the company’s true assets.