A question that can be hard to answer is "are my staffing team covering all the bases". Unless you know what the bases are, can you be really confident? Here I address a number of areas that your Human Resources team will play a vital role in the success of your company.
The basic role of your Human Resources department
HR have a wide range of duties including, but not limited to:
- Ensuring all staff at every level know and understand what is required of them
- Know what the necessary policies are and keep them up to date
- Be the holder and enforcers of the company handbook
- Maintain staffing files in a confidential manner and can only be accessed by those authorised to do so
- Ensuring the factors that affect employee motivation are front of mind
The extended role of Human Resources
However, HR play other vital roles that assist in the smooth operation of the company. Depending on the company and situation, the extended duties can include:
- Confidential counselling to staff on personal matters
- Advertising and screening of potential candidates for vacant positions
- Working with all departments on the training needs of the staff
- Sourcing a selecting of training options for review
- Attending and participating in meetings such as discipline or dismissal
- Ensure the company and management are up to date with the ever changing laws on human rights
- Being vigilant that these rights are implemented
Know what you don’t know
Unfortunately not all companies can afford to have a department with this expertise. I have been lucky enough to have worked in both type of companies and observed and collected all the skills to operate with or without HR. I have been the main negotiator in the labour relations court, the employment appeals tribunal, the equality tribunal and represented the company in law courts. I mention this not to sell myself, but to show how serious these situations can be. Having access to experience in these skills is vital to ensure the company can continue to operate. Whilst it is not necessary for every company to have them, it is important that they talk to consultants like myself to ensure they do not take a road that could cause massive financial loss.
Formal and informal unions
Some companies ensure union membership is not allowed and some use internal groups of employees to represent the workforce. However, I will caution companies that follow either route. Unfortunately in both scenarios there may be leaders in the workplace that only become involved because they personally have a grievance against the company and see this participation as a way to cause problems for the company and spend their time trying to turn loyal staff against the company. I will state that this tends to be a minority, but even so they can be very damaging. Again if you do not have the skills in house consultants like myself know how to deal with all these matters.
It is important for business leaders to be aware of the wide range of issues that are supported by HR, even if their team is not experienced in them. Being aware can help you prepare for every eventuality, but will also give your employees the confidence that they are being supported no matter what the eventuality.
Gerry McHugh Consulting - Getting your business back on track.