Traditional human resource roles of recruiting, promoting, keeping employee records and seeing to it that labour laws are observed can be quite mundane. Involving as these responsibilities are, HR managers receive little if any acclaim for them.
That the scope of HR’s roles, outside its textbook jurisdiction, in an organisation’s existence is often misunderstood, including by its senior management, does not help matters either.
As a human resource manager who labours to ensure that your organisation’s investment of human capital is functioning optimally, you are, therefore, likely to feel unappreciated.
Yet it is no one’s fault that this is a grey area. That said, it is your responsibility as an HR professional to clarify your position and mandate.
In what significant ways then do you contribute to your organisation’s overall values, goals and objectives? To what extent do you influence your space? Foremost, you must recognise that as the HR manager, you are the centre of power in your organisation. As such, the business’s success is anchored upon your ability to mentor, coach and teach the workforce while leading by example.
To perform these roles, you must clearly understand the business the organisation is involved in, its vision and the values required to attain this vision. Being strategic in your role means you are able to clearly articulate the consumers of the business, understand and enhance their roles, evaluate performance and utilise resources at your disposal to spur growth.
Entrepreneurship writer Payal Sondhi argues that HR managers are expected to be part of the processes that lead towards the realisation of the organisation’s overall objectives. Sondhi further states that an effective business plan, strategic plan and an HR plan are the key components of a successful business. These elements, she emphasises, must effectively be integrated. Through the right training, employees are empowered to execute both the business and strategic plans. It is also through the sway wielded by the HR function that an organisation’s future is determined. Hiring and promoting the right people, developing the right talent and training ensures seamless transfer of mandate and skills necessary for continuity.
Training is one of the key areas of focus by human resource management. How do you position yourself during these training processes? Is your involvement visible enough? Ultimately, your input in facilitating employee training programmes cements your position in succession planning. It is also your role to ensure adherence to established company practices.
While you may not directly reprimand people in positions of authority, it is your duty to call out those who stray from these norms. Always exert your authority. While at it, be professional to avoid unnecessary antagonisms that could potentially jeopardise delivery of results.
Working seamlessly with line managers requires that you cultivate their trust. Let them feel that you support their endeavours.
It is not a coincidence that HR and administration departments are merged in most companies. This is in recognition of the critical role played by the HR function in determining the direction the organisation takes in its area of business. Whatever you do, remember that the HR function is much more that the routine administrative duties. Do not be hung about these roles.
A strong and constructive presence in the affairs of the business differentiates highly influential HR managers and those that merely act as a conduit for top managers’ instructions and whims.