The World of Human Resources Today….

Kristen Flink
April 26, 2011 — 2,406 views  
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I recently spent some time with a friend who is also in Human Resources;  while I was there,  we got into the discussion of how Human Resources has changed. This can be a loaded question, depending on who you ask, and it made me wonder: how has Human Resources changed? What is the expectation of Human Resources today? 
 
My friend believes that we are "care takers". She thinks that HR is the department that can't upset the applecart and that must walk that fine line ever yday between trying to keep the company out of trouble and catering to the employees. This differs greatly from even a few years ago, when Human Resources acted as the "police" of all policies and procedures.
 
I would say that perhaps she is half right.

While we currently do have to be careful about what we say and how we say it, I don't think it is the role of Human Resources solely to be the "care takers" and I continue to believe that there is a tremendous need for Policy and Procedures in the Corporate World.  
 
Policy and Procedures are so important today for every company -- they are the backbone of how  business functions and can also save a company if it is  ever challenged in a Court of Law or reported to the Department of Labor. Conversely, poor -- or poorly implemented -- Policy and Procedures can also have the opposite effect.   
 
Here is an example of how a properly implented Policy can save your behind: a few years back, I worked with an employee who had major absentee issues and was tardy almost every day.  I referred to the written company policy regarding tardiness and absenteeism. At that point,  the Manager, Employee and I all sat down and the employee was issued a verbal warning, per our procedure. When the behaviour didn't change, the employee was issued a written warning -- again, per published policy -- that stated that failure to comply with our policies could lead to termination of employment.

The employee chose to risk it and was absent again. As indicated, his epmloyment was terminated.  The now ex-employee filed a compliant with the Department of Labor claiming that we fired him wrongly -- and when the Department of Labor called, I told them what happened. Not only did I have our Policies documented, but I had the procedural documentation as well to back up the company's decision.  Needless to say, the issue was dropped. Policies and Procedures can be a company's salvation if followed consistently.  
 
As to being the company's "care taker", I do believe that a Human Resource Professional has to have a level of compassion for employees; however, you can not allow that to cloud your judgment.  As an member of an HR team, there will be times when you might have to have a strong conversation with, or even fire someone of whom you have grown quite fond; you may also find that someone you consider to be a friend has over stepped their bounds or and said something they should not have, and you have to investigate them.  
 
At any rate, you -- in your role as Human Resources -- need to keep your wits about you and remember that you HAVE to do what is in the best interest of the company. It is absolutely necessary to keep in mind that one of your primary responsibilities is protecting the company.  If for some reason you are too close to a situation, it is your responsibility as an HR Professional to remove yourself from the process and find a third party to facilitate the investigation. .     
 
After all is said and done,  I think the most important role of Human Resources Professionals is to be a true Business Partner.  Everything we do needs to be linked into the growth, development, and goals of the company--  From the Policies, to the Procedures, to the professional development of employees, to performance management; these are all interrelated and are vital to the Growth of the Company.   Human Resource Professionals need to understand our value and the power that we have to make a company culture better, and to develop our employees to their full potential.  That is our true role in our Businesses today!

Kristen Flink

HR Contractor

Certification in Essentials in Human Resource Management SHRM offering a 6-year HR career distinguished by commended performance and proven results. Extensive background in HR generalist affairs, including experience in employee recruitment and retention, staff development, conflict resolution, benefits and compensation, HR records management, HR policies development and legal compliance. Demonstrated success in negotiating win-win compromises, developing teambuilding programs, and writing personnel manuals, corporate policies, job descriptions and management reports.