When I first started my career, HR was one of the fields that interested me the least. It’s funny because now, not only does it interest me, but it also inspires me. Because of my interactions with many HR teams for PayrollHero, I have had the invaluable opportunity to see firsthand the importance, the difficulty, and the great potential of the work that human resources can achieve. Whether it’s a big team or a small team, HR affects companies in significant ways, from recruiting, to onboarding, training, taking care of employees, building effective teams or systems, and creating a great place to work in.
Here are some reasons why I’ve come to appreciate the people of HR departments so much:
1. They can turn your people into the company’s biggest asset.
Hiring: Ever heard the saying 'People are the company’s greatest asset'? Sadly, for many companies this is more a slogan than a reality. But for those who really value their people, it becomes a win-win situation. Employees enjoy and grow in their work, and the company gets to share in the achievements of their people. Great HR managers know how important it is to ‘get the right people on the bus, and put the right people in the right seats.’ It’s not always about getting the best people, but getting the best people for the job. Effective hiring takes time, effort and expertise, and it can turn an organization into an unstoppable well-oiled machine!
Training: Even if you have the the best people for the job, it’s a completely different challenge to bring out the potential of each and every individual in a company. HR managers who make training a priority know that even great companies can be greater with continuous learning, and it also contributes to employees’ growth.
2. They know that keeping employees happy is not just a ‘nice thing to do.’ Great company culture leads to better results and reduces company costs.
Employee retention: Retaining good employees is not only easier, it also prevents companies from incurring huge costs in re-hiring. Entrepreneur.com estimates the average cost of recruiting, hiring, and training a new employee at around USD 4,000! Does this mean that training shouldn’t be a priority after all? For this we look to Sir Richard Branson, who says 'Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.' Great HR practitioners know that efforts to develop employees and keep them happy have the power to fuel an organization’s greater growth.
3. They are great listeners and problem solvers.
Insight: I met an HR manager from a company with hundreds of employees. Every week he would meet with one group of employees to get to know them better and listen to what they had to say. By doing this, he was able to identify problems that the employees were afraid to raise to the management! Awesome HR people know that sometimes it takes time and effort to find out what employees need to do their jobs better.
Problem Solving: Being in HR means you have two ‘clients’ — your employees and the management. Keeping both sides content especially in challenging situations takes a great deal of empathy and resourcefulness. Never underestimate the work that HR does on a daily basis to keep their two ‘clients’ happy. In many cases it’s a balancing act and other times it’s about making a stand for what’s best for the company.
These make up the indispensable contributions of HR that stand out the most for me—but they’re only a handful of the many developments that HR has to offer.
How well do you understand what your HR does for you and your organization? Why not take the time to really learn more about what they do? Your next business breakthrough may very well come from the observations and recommendations of the members of your company who know your people best.