It isn’t always readily apparent, nor is it easily quantifiable, but human resources (HR) adds value to the bottom line through a variety of different and valuable ways.   The traditional view of HR has been typically a couple of ladies who welcome your new hires and administer the basic paperwork for new hires, insurance and payroll. But times are changing.   Today the most effective HR leaders are engaged in every aspect of the business—from manpower planning and development, monitoring and maintaining Obamacare compliance and ensuring that the vision and culture of the organization is intact and reinforced—all while observing the culture, ensuring equal opportunity and respectful treatment, and driving home the importance of open door, two-way feedback, and an engaged and legally compliant leadership team.  It’s a lot of work for HR, but it’s worthwhile to you.

Why is an engaged HR department key to your business?   Because now more than ever, the new workforce of team members have different expectations.  They want, no demand, acknowledgement, feedback and opportunity.   Without these things they will leave your company—and with their high turnover will be the increasingly high cost of recruitment and on-boarding.  So, with that in mind, we have to look at the role of HR and endeavor to do things differently from this point forward.  

Some of the worthwhile contributions that HR makes or can make all year long…

Key Responsibilities Key Contributions

Administration–ensures completion of paperwork Follows all the ever-changing rules on laws/regulations

Benefits–essential insurance programs/compliance Administers, monitors and controls benefits and the costs

Compliance–monitors and implements new laws Keeps the company compliant with employment laws 

Culture–forward & communicate the key concepts Keeps the culture alive and well, trains your leaders on it

Employee relations–keeping satisfaction high Provides an outlet and resource for frustrated employees

Hiring–maintains sources and ensures timely hires Finds hiring sources, ensures adequate staffing levels

Performance–promote & ensure timely evaluations Establishes sound and consistent evaluation procedures

Safety–maintains and monitors all safety efforts Implements and monitors all workplace safety programs

Training–ensures proper training and development Trains all leaders to support the culture and fair treatment

With the proper size HR team for your business, you can maximize the return.   Some HR teams take on roles that have been traditionally farmed out to outside agencies and often at a high cost as well.  Those new roles and responsibilities for HR can reduce expenses to the company that might become excessive over time, including safety, risk management, COBRA administration, ACA compliance, and other essential workforce needs.  

What an effective HR department can really do for you is many times beyond quantifiable.  They can bridge differences, bolster a wobbly culture, stave off organizing efforts with an open door policy, give individuals a voice that otherwise might not be heard, monitor management problems and reverse bad decisions, implement cost-effective programs that provide resources and support for team members, and they can bring organizations together with good policies, procedures, communication, and recognition programs that let employees know that they are appreciated and valued as members of the team.

The best HR teams bring consistency, fairness, unity and compassion to the organization and their leaders in a way that is not threatening or intimidating, but helpful and insightful.  They help to define what today’s companies need to be/look like in a way that supports the culture and brings out the best in each and every person.  An engaged HR team can bridge gaps that develop between the organization and the employees, and put them both back on the same page (and road) to a bright and
beneficial future!   

HR Question of the month: Please send your HR questions and concerns, or share your thoughts on your human resources challenges via email to the following address. Send input to vegaslinda89129@yahoo.com. Your comments, questions or concerns will help determine the direction for my next month’s column and earn you a copy of my book. Include your mailing address when sending your responses.