What do you think of when you heard the words, “Human Resources”? Perhaps you’ve heard them called the “fun police” or are reminded of Toby Flenderson, the detested HR character on The Office. You may also be thinking they are only needed for “tattling” on a coworker or asking about your new medical benefits. Despite the usually negative connotation given to human resources, the department is crucial for most businesses’ survival.
HR departments are in one of the most difficult situations within an organization. They sit right in the middle of a competitive and exhausting battleground in business – corporate changes. They are often the ones to announce new policies, deny additional PTO, and sometimes be the bearer of bad news. This department works closely with senior leadership, and together they can maintain a healthy and safe company culture. Without their mediation skills at the front lines, organizations would experience structural issues - or worse.
There are six core functions of Human Resources; hiring new talent, onboarding, training leadership, managing company benefits, resolving office conflict, and handling legal issues. When a company doesn’t have dedicated HR staff, they tend to off-load these duties to managers who already have significant workloads. Given that these responsibilities can increase quickly with the growth of an organization, it can be easy for managers with full plates to push the HR responsibilities to the side. Without a dedicated team to handle your businesses’ growing pains, you could potentially lose your carefully curated team.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “People don’t leave companies, they leave management”? In situations where supervisors and senior management are fully occupied and there is no HR department to approach, employees will have no where to turn when issues arise. Little aggravations will quickly turn into larger issues, and without resolution this will most likely change the company culture overall. Corporations all over the world have forfeited the best talent on their teams due to the lack of processes and resources that an HR department provides. And when businesses begin losing their workforce, they naturally will need to begin hiring to fill the gaps. Yet without a human resources division, they will pile additional responsibilities on already-busy managers until that too pushes them to leaving the organization.
Human Resources departments can assist all levels of employees, from entry-level to the C-suite. Good HR representatives will assist entry-level and mid-level employees to make the most of the company’s benefits, advocate for internal promotions, and communicate internal issues with the right parties. For senior management, HR departments can help leaders to craft and communicate policy changes or act as a sounding board for ideas.
If your business isn’t currently utilizing either an internal or external HR partner, it may be time to reevaluate the risk. Consider whether your team has the proper channel to discuss internal conflict that may arise, changes that need to be implemented, or if you’re providing the right resources for every new hire. Are managers expected to handle all parts of the hiring process? If so, what is being put on hold when they allocate their time to interviewing or onboarding new hires? Is senior leadership given the sounding board they need to make changes to better the organization? And who is planning and implementing new changes to the business? Investing in even just a small human resources department can make the biggest difference to the health and lifespan of your organization.