On a basic level, human resource management is about recruiting, hiring and managing employees. However, an effective human resource system entails many more aspects of the organization, including organizational culture and ensuring health and safety. With an understanding of these components of an HR management system, business owners and managers can effectively structure their business processes.
Organizational culture is the collection of values, working norms, company vision, habits and beliefs that the business espouses. The HR management system plays a large part in shaping the organizational culture. Setting policies, procedures and company standards dictates to employees the behaviors that are acceptable in the workplace. For example, a policy may state that time management is important to the business, which fosters timeliness among employees, or HR may adapt a looser time management policy that values employees’ freedom to manage their own schedules. In essence, the organizational culture affects the way people do their work and interact with one another and with customers.
Planning for Change
The business world changes rapidly. New technology is introduced, employees come and go, and the finances of the company fluctuate. HR’s role in helping to stabilize the company for change cannot be understated. Planning for change means helping employees understand their roles in the larger picture of the company. It’s about building bridges between departments and managers and getting people to talk about “what-if” situations. HR takes this information and develops a management plan for disasters, for changes in workflow and for reassuring employees in times of crises or frightening change.
Training and Development
Almost all employees, even ones that are highly educated or skilled, require some level of training because each organization runs things in a different way. Policies and procedures need to be firmly communicated to employees as part of their on-boarding process. The HR management system is also responsible for ongoing employee development. This continuing education keeps employees’ skills fresh so they bring new and innovative ideas to the workplace.
Health and Safety
The HR management system plays a key role in ensuring health and safety in the workplace. This can be achieved through policies and procedures, but the HR function may go a step further to make sure employees understand the risks of certain activities. For example, if there is heavy machinery in the office, HR can post warning signs and posters listing the steps to take in case of an emergency. This minimizes the possibility that an accident will occur and helps to eliminate any subsequent legal action that might be taken against the company.
Recruitment and Retention
While recruitment and retention may seem like a given for HR management systems, it is the anchor of all HR’s policies and systems. Finding qualified workers, keeping them engaged with the company, training them to effectively do their jobs and providing incentives for further education, benefits and compensation are all drivers to organizational success and should be constantly on the minds of HR managers.