Human Resources HR—what does that really mean and what do they actually do? Well, HR is defined exactly as it sounds. Human resources means “people assets and strengths.” As a partner, HR represents that critical part of any business, which starts with people and culminates in their efforts, ingenuity, and ideas contributing to the success of the business. If you aren’t sure what those efforts amount to—take away the people—and what do you have left? In HR, we view people as the valuable resource that they truly are and as a partner in the organization’s success.

If you have a pro-active, approachable HR person at your place of business, then you should experience some of the following types of contributions. With the right HR person in place, you will know that the following attributes ring true at your company:

• Employees seek out the advice, counsel and impartial evaluation of HR to address their concerns or challenges.

• Emulates and embraces the importance of company culture, mission and vision, and looks for/expects those ideals in leadership.

• Engages in the goals of the business, understands the role of your operations and embraces the many ways that HR can support the financial success of the company.

• Finds the best, most “human” individuals for your job openings, leadership team and other career opportunities.

• Understands the value and outcome of training and development… that learning is never complete.

• Watches for and evaluates where gaps, weaknesses and poor practices may create challenges, legal concerns or liabilities.

• Handles the benefits plans, recognition efforts and other programs that your employees value and appreciate—an important aspect of your business that attracts good talent!

• Communicates policy and practices information and is an approachable resource for your leadership team so that they can talk to someone about their concerns without fear of judgment or reprisal.

• Looks for and focuses their efforts on the most meaningful ways for HR to support the business!

What is the primary goal of HR? Is it to hire good employees? Of course, yes, but even that role is not the primary one. Is it to write good, legal documents like applications forms, policies and procedures? Sure, that is essential for HR, but not their primary role either. In actuality, the most important role of human resources professionals is to ensure fair and equitable people practices. These fair and consistent policies and practices help to protect your organization from costly mistakes and to bring the best out in your people. Sound HR practices, can/will pay for themselves in reduced liabilities, and ultimately will contribute to the financial success of your organization.