The purpose of a career in Human Resources (HR) is to bring out issues involved in the management of human resources, both from current theory as well as practice. On careful observation, one can clearly see the shift that is occurring in the way HR is perceived and is expected to function. Shifting workforce demographics, rapid changes in technology and the globalisation of world economy have resulted in a shift in the way businesses operate and consequently the way HR functions.
Today, HR has assumed a more strategic role. It contributes towards the planning, formulation and accomplishment of organ-isational objectives. It then creates its own objectives, in line with the overall business objectives, thereby impacting every aspect of its services.
One of the synonyms of this knowledge era is change and consequently unpredictability. Here, HR plays a pivotal role in identifying the capability gaps that consequently arise.
A capability gap is the difference between the ability of existing systems to meet operational require-ments and of what’s expected of it. HR identifies these gaps and works closely with the management to fill these gaps by obtaining the appropriate resources, training available resources and through other means. Successful organisations are those that are flexible and are quick to adapt; needless to say the HR team plays a crucial role in this process.
As a link between the employee and the employer, the HR manager plays a key role in advocating cordial relations between the two.
The professional is required to have a deep understanding of people and their roles, so as to create a work environment that's friendly, motivating and productive.
Roles and responsibilities
The HR advocates the objectives of one group to the other. As an advocate of the employee, the professional creates development and growth opportunities, benefit plans, assistance prog-rammes, etc., for the benefit of the employee. He/she is also expected to develop strong employee relations, to not just spot problems early, but also to work collectively and solve them.
On the flip side, as the employer’s advocate, it is her responsibility to build a spirit of employee ownership of the organisation, create a sense of responsibility and urgency and set goals which are in line with the organisation’s objectives. Once this is done, she has to measure and maintain these and ensure that the organisation is on its way to achieve its objectives.
It is also the responsibility of the HR to champion change in the organisation, as and when required. It's up to the HR to bring about the changes with the least amount of employee dissatisfaction.
For all of the above to happen, HR has to work closely with each and every department of the organisation and for that, it is pivotal to have a strong understanding of the different departmental functionalities. It is also pivotal that she develops strong consultative skills, to keep the communication flowing between the departments and the management.
Now, although some of these duties have always been performed by the HR department, it's in the increasingly consultative and strategic partnership role that we find the new and changing role of the HR.
While HR is required to scale up to meet this challenge, it is constantly deterred by the usual, time-consuming and complex administrative functions. Added to this are several other concerns like managing an HR department that spans across geographical boundaries and others.
Hence, several companies have tried outsourcing several or all of their administrative HR operations and have been able to free themselves from time-consuming tasks to direct their focus to key strategic human capital issues.