For many business owners, the idea of hiring an HR specialist or team often seems like a needless extra expense. Perhaps more problematically, many bosses simply don’t understand what Human Resources is, or what it might bring to their company.
Traditionally, HR specialists primarily focused on providing a vital link between managers and workers. However, the role has expanded greatly over recent years to encompass everything from marketing to payroll and web admin duties. That said, the core responsibility of HR will always be employee welfare and having someone looking after your HR can help motivate your team and let you learn more about their grievances.
The primary role of HR – overseeing the employee lifecycle
HR specialists look after the entire employee lifecycle from interviewing, hiring and onboarding through to ongoing care and eventual dismissal or termination of contracts. This helps free up the time (and reduces the workload) of higher managers and bosses, so they can get on with the important duty of running the company.
By the very nature of the work, HR workers tend to be highly personable with a great sense of empathy and understanding, which allows them to relate to staff in a way most bosses simply can’t. By liaising with your team, an HR specialist will gain a greater understanding of your company, its strengths and weaknesses and helps bridge the gap that often forms between higher-level management and staff.
HR people will also take the time to listen to employee grievances and complaints, which can lead to greater workforce productivity, making your team more efficient.
A privileged insight into company operations
As mentioned, the main role of HR specialists is to function as a link between the lower-level workers in a firm and their bosses – but this middleman position also affords an understanding of a company that most higher bosses rarely achieve. This deeper insight into company operations puts HR workers in a highly privileged position that can allow them to give you guidance on changes that could make a significant impact in your firm.
The rise of freelance and outsourced HR
It’s also worth noting that for firms that feel investing in HR would be too costly, there is now a huge range of freelance and third-party HR companies that can work in an outsourced role at a fraction of the cost of implementing an in-house HR specialist or team, giving your company a better Return on Investment (ROI). Outsourcing means any company of any size can now benefit from HR – yet, without the financial strain of investing in an in-house team.
With the huge advances made in recent years in tech, computers, software and connection speeds, these HR teams can often work remotely, used as an ad hoc resource, thereby further cutting costs. For example, you could hire the services of an HR Dept in Bristol, yet be located in an entirely different part of the country – or even overseas – yet, still benefit from the tremendous advantages good HR can bring to firms.
Other ways HR can improve the workplace and increase worker contentment
As well as the more obvious benefits of HR noted above, there are many, many other skills a specialist or team could bring to your firm, including (but not limited to):
Help with the growth of your firm: As HR teams have such a keen finger on the pulse of your firm, they will be able to advise when it’s time to take on more staff – and even which type of staff you need most.
Find the best people for your company: Many company owners fancy themselves as being great interviewers but, truth is, planning and conducting job interviews is a skill. Sure, you might get better at noticing little giveaway signs like body language hints or cagey answers, but HR specialists are specifically trained to interpret would-be employee behaviour, so they can find the best fit for the job. Also, a skilled HR practitioner will know where’s best to advertise your vacancy in the first place – and will help with writing the advert, job spec, etc.
Reduce employee turnover: Hiring and onboarding employees is an expensive process – plus drains time and resources in most companies. By hiring an HR team or HR person, you’ll go a long way to improving employee satisfaction and contentment thereby reducing the chances of staff leaving.
Choosing the best employees for promotion and leadership roles: It’s an HR person’s job to gain a deep understanding of your team and how they operate together. This knowledge can help them identify those most deserving of promotion or members of staff that are respected and likely to make the best leaders.