Creating a capable HR department in any given organisation is traditionally aimed at generating additional value by attracting and managing talent in an administrative role. However, in recent decades, HR departments have been striving for a more strategic role in the business organisation and an advisory role to the top management. There are many dimensions in which HR helps generate additional value and promote decisions that benefit the organisation in both the short- and long term.
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Users of HR and Their Needs
The employees are one of the foremost HR users that include many kinds of professionals at all stages of career development. A regular employee requires motivation and education while maintaining their physical and mental well-being. Sometimes the managers see their employees as resources to be exploited, rather than human beings (Järlström, Saru and Vanhala, 2016, p. 10). A competent HR manager must find a way to uphold the humanity of each employee while also motivating them to perform as well as they can. It is difficult to say which should be given priority, as it is often a case-by-case issue.
The investors and shareholders of the company also benefit from competent HR. The company’s performance can be directly linked to employee productivity, company reputation, and investor confidence (Ingham and Ulrich, 2016, p. 132). At a high level, HR managers become strategic advisors that employ their experience and knowledge to generate solutions for various business processes. These functions are aimed at making profits for the shareholders and bolster the company’s stock.
The customers also have needs that the HR department can answer. They require the best products or services for their money and a positive public image to go with the product or service. Both the administrative and strategic roles of HR can help achieve those goals. The management of a talented workforce can help create high-quality products and services. The strategic management of business processes can help reduce costs and strengthen the brand. Neither should be prioritized over the other, and a particular strategy depends on the business.
Communication and Service Delivery
As HR practitioners interact with many stakeholders of the company, they need to adopt different styles of communication for different situations. One-on-one conversations are suitable for personal or emotional matters that concern a small number of people. They help facilitate understanding but are harder to perform on a large scale, especially in companies with multiple offices. An example of verbal communication on a large scale is a meeting, which is useful in delivering information to stakeholders or departments. It is not designed to discuss personal or emotional matters, but it can be effective to track the company’s progress and facilitate a discussion of organisational issues.
Written communication is also essential, as e-mail has been a mainstay for decades. Social media is also an effective channel for written communication when the topic has a lower priority or is intended to be a one-way message. For example, notifications and announcements can be posted to the company’s social media or sent through group e-mails, both to employees and customers. It is useful in marketing or event management, but the downside is that it is harder to discuss pressing or emotional matters.
Effective HRM requires competent practitioners, but what is more important is cognitive diversity. García-Carbonell, Martín-Alcázar and Sanchez-Gardey (2018) found that HR decision-makers can possess rational or creative cognitive profiles and that both are important for effective service delivery. Creative practitioners can excel as mediators and leaders, maintain relationships, foster culture. Rational ones are able to create structure, gather information, and manage technology. This balance is crucial for the effective execution of all aspects of HR.
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Effective HR practice can be a tricky balancing act between the administration and strategic leadership. The investors, the customers, and the employees all benefit from a well-performing HR division. Practitioners must master many forms of communications and discern when to use them. A good HR department is intellectually diverse and adaptable to all sorts of tasks. High levels of professional development can even create strategic partners for the top management.
García-Carbonell, N., Martín-Alcázar, F. and Sanchez-Gardey, G. (2018) ‘Determinants of building consistent human resources management systems’. International Journal of Manpower, 39(3), pp. 354–377.
Järlström, M., Saru, E., and Vanhala, S. (2018) ‘Sustainable human resource management with salience of stakeholders: a top management perspective’. Journal of Business Ethics, 152(10), 703-724.
Ingham, J., and Ulrich, D. (2016) ‘Building better HR departments’. Strategic HR Review, 15(3), pp. 129–136.