101 Guide to Human Resource Management
Originally Published Jan 29, 2021
As a business owner, you likely realise how important human resource management and employee satisfaction can be to your overall success. So, as your company grows, it’s crucial to understand how human resources can ensure your employees are fully taken care of.
Here, we’re exploring what is human resource management, what role do human resources play in a business, and how do you know if your company needs a human resource department? Let’s find out.
What are Human Resources?
Human resources refers to the department of a company responsible for all matters relating to the employees of that company. Human resources is generally one of the most valuable parts of any successful organisation.
After all, in your business, your employees and staff should be your number one priority. Happy employees are known to stay loyal to the companies they work for and produce better results overall. So, if you want happy customers and clients, you need to take care of your employees.
Human resources was first coined as a term as recently as the 1960s when the value of labour relations became more obvious. It became clear that proper benefits and organisation for employees were worth paying attention to.
These days, we use the term human resource management to cover everything from hiring and training employees to specialised services to helping employees understand their benefits (such as superannuation) and even conflict resolution.
Human resource management focuses on areas including:
- Recruiting and hiring
- Compensation and employee benefits
- Training and education
- Labour and employee relations
- Organisational development
- Conflict mediation and resolution
- Workplace safety
The Role of a Human Resource Manager
So, what does a human resource manager do? Well, the human resource manager title is only one of many potential titles someone working in human resources might hold. Common titles of HR professionals include:
- HR Manager
- Training Specialist
- Benefits Specialist
- Workplace Safety Manager
- Conflict Resolution Mediator
Some of these roles are more generalised in nature, while others are specialised positions. Depending on the size of your company and the HR issues you might commonly face, you can decide which areas of Human Resources would benefit your employees most.
The HR department as a whole might focus on a huge range of functions. The role of human resource manager might include:
- Addressing employee concerns
- Acquiring new employees
- Managing the employee termination process
- Improving company morale
- Defining organisational purpose and culture
- Recruiting talent
- Reinvesting in employees
- Measuring employee satisfaction and productivity
- Communicating with employees
- Employee performance management
Addressing Employee Concerns
Employee concerns that an Human Resource manager might deal with include issues with payroll, conflicts with a fellow employee or manager, and concerns about benefits like superannuation.
Any question an employee might have about their salary and day-to-day experience on the job, for example, would be left to the Human Resource department.
By addressing employee concerns promptly and with skill, Human Resource managers can make a huge difference in employee satisfaction which helps retain employees for less turnover and a better bottom line.
Acquiring New Employees
Human Resource managers also assist with the acquisition of new employees. From recruiting to onboarding to training, human resources departments play a huge role in helping a company find new employees and getting them ready to get to work as efficiently as possible.
In most instances, there’s a lot of administration and paperwork that goes along with bringing on new employees and the Human Resource department generally does it all.
Managing the Employee Termination Process
Not only does a human resource manager spearhead the onboarding process, but they also deal with the process of terminating an employee. Whether someone decides to leave a company, gets fired, or is laid off, Human Resource handles everything on the backend.
Especially when it comes to payroll termination and all the administrative work that goes into managing the termination sequence, a Human Resource manager is essential for creating a smooth transition.
As one might expect, this transition can be messy and complicated. So, human resource professionals are trained to handle these changes.
HR teams also might assist in actively recruiting new talent to join your staff. It’s one thing to help with the hiring process for new employees that have found their way to your interview, but it’s another thing entirely to find the best candidates in the first place.
Human resources is also involved advertising job postings in the most effective ways and reaching out to suitable candidates to gauge their interest in working for your company.
Recruiting is a specialised sector of Human Resource but certainly an important one.
Improving Company Morale
Morale among employees is another huge factor that relates directly to the success of a business. Human resource managers are key to improving company morale across the board.
When a company hosts a Christmas party or an annual retreat, Human Resource is often leading the way. Giving back to your employees really matters, whether it’s by hosting events or offering bonuses for a job well done.
Boosting company morale can totally transform your business and should certainly be budgeted for and left to your Human Resource team.
Defining Organisational Purpose and Culture
In line with company morale, human resource managers are also important in defining an organisational purpose and company culture.
Do employees feel safe communicating with their boss? Has a hostile work environment been created among staff? Is the culture innovative or set up with more traditional structures?
Human Resource helps model the appropriate employee behaviour and in turn, naturally creates a company culture. Open-door policies and anti-discrimination training put on by human resource specialists can really affect the culture within an office.
Reinvesting in Employees
Functional Human Resource departments are constantly reinvesting in employees for less turnover and better productivity. Many companies understand the importance of educating their employees who can use those new skills in their work for the business. It’s a win-win.
So, training programs where employees can learn new tangible skills to use in their daily tasks, safety training for better workplace safety, and ethics training to ensure anti-discrimination are all the responsibility of the Human Resource team.
Plus, when you reinvest in your employees, they’ll start to feel a genuine sense of loyalty and commitment to your business. This area of Human Resource involvement cannot be understated in its importance.
Measuring Employee Satisfaction and Productivity
In addition to all of these incredible employee-centred activities, Human Resource departments are also capable of measuring the success of these programs. By measuring employee satisfaction and productivity, companies are better able to see what’s working and what’s not.
It’s one thing to make a decision and take action in an effort to improve the working lives of your employees, but it’s another thing to see the data about whether or not your decisions have actually been effective in making change.
Human Resource analytics specialists, therefore, are a big piece to the puzzle.
Communicating with Employees
Human resource managers are also generally in charge of communicating company policy changes with the employees. So, if there’s a major adjustment to “business as usual,” the Human Resource department generally disseminates this information.
Whether legal in nature or something as simple as an announcement about the common areas, human resources help keep all the employees on the same page to ensure that business runs smoothly.
Employee Performance Management
Last but not least, one of the final ways human resource managers support employees is by simply managing employee performance.
If an employee is struggling at work or finding roadblocks on their path to more productivity, Human Resource can help. Human resources can implement changes that will improve the working life of employees based on their feedback and performance metrics.
How do you know when your company needs a human resources manager?
There are a few tell-tale signs to know when you need to invest in a human resource department for your small business.
- If your employee turnover rate exceeds 20%
- If you’re having trouble finding talented people to join your team
- If you’re overwhelmed with payroll and benefits and need a dedicated department to manage employee compensation
Many small businesses operate without an Human Resource department if the team is small enough. But, if you’re struggling to manage your employees, whether in terms of payroll, recruitment, or retention, hiring a human resource manager could be a game-changer.
Overall, human resources is important to the healthy flow of any business structure and definitely becomes necessary as a company grows. If your employees are a top priority, which they should be, effective Human Resource management is crucial.
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