Global membership in The Society of Human Resources Management, http://shrm.org exceeds 250,000 and is the oldest association in the US. Human Resources is often referred to as Human Capital Management, Talent Management or simply HR. The world’s first HR association formed in England in 1919.
The concept of human relations management began in the early part of the 20th century, and has grown to become the pivot point for all businesses that employ as few as one or two workers. Organized workforces fall under the scope of HR in addition to all others. Unionization drove many of the principles and behaviors that shape the industry and formulated the state and federal laws and regulations we are governed by.
Stan Epstein, an organizational development/effectiveness consultant, says that he is finding that HR generalists are being asked to accept more central roles in planning and managing organizational change. “This is in addition to their other roles in administration and policy formulation and enforcement. This change is creating new challenges in terms of time management, capability development, and role conflicts,” he says. “Since HR executives are often asked for advice on issues like compensation, promotion, and so on, it is unreasonable to expect that managers will open up to them about organizational issues if they feel doing so exposes their vulnerabilities and deficiencies. Yet, this type of information is exactly what is needed if the HR executive is to be as helpful as possible as a consultant to the manager and to the organization. While it seems desirable to expand the roles and capabilities of HR generalists, this unforeseen outcome makes this change a costly one for everyone concerned.”
There are quite a few segments or facets to HR, but they all pertain in some way to the human aspects of business. While some companies perform HR responsibilities internally, many companies outsource some portions to reliable third party vendors.
The complex department that is Human Resources is a topic that encyclopedias can be written about, and this article cannot do it justice. We offer this information as a means to a higher level of understanding the importance of HR in any business environment.
Departmental facets of HR:
• Training & Development
• Benefits Administration
• Payroll Maintenance
• Change Management
• Policies and Procedures Administration
• Executive Development
• Governmental Compliance
• Staff Nurturing
• Staff Nurturing
The current economic storm presents both challenges and opportunities to firms large and small. Any business leader concerned about retaining talent, nurturing staff and maintaining the competitive edge knows to pay close attention to the human resources department. CEO’s roles in HR are varied and sundry, with internal success every bit as critical as external growth and sustainability.
Key HR Factors for CEO’s
• Talent Management- CEO’s need to spend sufficient time to interface with human resource department heads ensuring a well-executed talent management strategy.
• Succession Planning - The next generation of top talent for any organization requires careful planning, and CEO’s should be involved in the training and staff development process for senior management. Mentoring those aligned for future responsibilities is not only HR’s responsibility, especially when executive leadership is involved.
• Governmental Compliance - Compliance may not be in the CEO’s wheelhouse, but when it comes to fines and government scrutiny, the buck stops at the leader’s desk. Sufficient oversight by the business leadership in tandem with HR will be an ongoing agenda item for company leadership in general.
There is no clear-cut definition for HR per se, as the task lists and job descriptions for it are pervasive. Additionally, dependent upon the size and complexity of a business entity, HR departments have varying degrees of involvement. Regardless of size, however, aspects of HR exist in every business, from the entrepreneurial endeavor to Fortune 50 firms. With continued growth into the global marketplace, as firms grow so does their need for competency in this critical business segment.
In the past, Human resource departments based their decision-making on intuition rather than metrics and standardization. Today’s technologies provide ease of use and scientific analysis of performance, manpower needs, productivity, and so on.
No longer is HR an expense department, but a critical element in revenue and productivity enhancement, as well as cost reduction.