Redefining the Role of Human Resource Function - Making it Measurable

Employee Engagement, Employee Relations, Rewards and Recognition

Professionals working in Human Resource Function Often solicit in a belief that their role is very descriptive in nature with intangible output; hence their performance cannot be measured accurately. Is it genuine?Definitely not, the performance of HR professionals can be measured like any other employee. Let’s reassess and redefine the role of HR Function.

Whenever HR professionals are askedto describe their role, they often talk about Recruitment, Compensation & Benefits, Performance Management, Training and Development, Managing and Motivating Employees, Succession Planning, Change Management, Organizational Development, so on and so forth. Are these the onlyroles of HR Professionals? Do HR Professionals have freedom to perform following tasks -?

  1. Hire a new employee or terminate the employment of existing employees?
  2. Recommend annual increment or promotion of employeesto the higher level in an organizational hierarchy?
  3. Provide training, coaching or mentorship to any employee of organization on its own?
  4. Approve Paid/sick leave in an organization?
  5. Decide a successor for a manager or a leader on its own? 
  6. Decide benefits entitlement for employees?
  7. Create organizational culture or execute change?

The answer is big NO. HR professionals working in any organization cannot do any of the above-listed activities without the consent ofconcerned functional or team manager. So, what is the role of HR Professionals in an organizational set-up?

  1. Consultant – HR Professionals should be a part of solutions and results instead of problems and complications.They should also be well-versed with skills and competencies required to be successful in an organization. They must have the thorough knowledge of all job descriptions existing in an organization. They must provide consultancy services to business and help them find ways to create competitive advantage.
  2. Communicator – It has often beensaid that HR Professionals are a messenger between management and employees OR they create a bridge between employees of organization and management. However, it is not true. They are not mere messengers. They are communicators, which means, they must understand messages correctly, interpret it in the language being understood by other stakeholders, select appropriate medium of communication and communicate it as efficiently and effectively as possible without getting emotionally involved in the communication process. They must be empathetic but not sympathetic. The business place is not a place to demonstrate sympathy. Sometimes they need to communicate tough decisions of management to employees and at times may need to make management aware of impediments of employees. But it is observed that many times they damage the matter by getting emotionally involved in it. 
  3. Process owners – HR Professionals are process owners. They must ensure that all processes are followed diligently without exceptions. By cherry picking employees they tend to build resentment among employees and thereby creating an environment of favoritism and bias. They must continuously work towards the improvement of processes, make them simple to understand and follow and thereby improve process efficiency by saving time and resource. They must use Lean Methodology to improve processes.  
  4. Facilitator  – One of the key roles of HR Professionals is to facilitate training and development programs and create an environment of coaching. Coaching is possible in a set-up of mutual trust and respect. As a facilitator, HR professionals work towards improving functional, behavioral and leadership competencies of employees and thereby create successors of existing leaders and high-performing employees to ensure business continuity in case of any unforeseen circumstances.  As a facilitator, while on one hand they work with employees in developing their career plan in alignment with organizational vision and goals; on the other hand they help managers and leaders define talent management strategies to manage employees who are -
    1. High Performers and High Potentials
    2. High Performer and Low Potentials
    3. Low Performers and High Potentials
    4. Low Performers and Low Potentials
  5. Compliance Manager – Organizations often get into trouble for not following applicable legislations as well as failing to comply with Standard Operating Procedures of an organization. Not complying with applicable legislations leads to punishable criminal offense and thereby affects operations of an organization; not complying with SOP’s led to corruption and thereby affects business continuity.  
  6. Brand Ambassadors – HR professionals communicate with several external agencies as well as job candidates, educational institutes and government bodies. They need to always represent values, culture, and ethics of an organization. Also, those employees who decide to separate from organization become its de-facto brand-ambassadors. HR must ensure that all employees who resign should be treated as per policies of an organization and with respect. The way HR professional conduct themselves in an organization is followed by all employees. Hence, it is a responsibility of HR professional to keep their conduct professional and follow values of an organization all the time.  
  7. Project Managers – Every sub-function of HR is a project. Campus hiring is a project and so do performance management, compensation benchmarking, cost-benefit analysis of new and existing benefits, and leadership development. Each of these projectsrequiresa thorough planning, information gathering, stakeholder’s management and execution. HR Professionals shall be efficient project managers.

All of the above-discussed activities are measurable. The success criteria of employees must be based on quantity, quality or other pre-meditated deliverables. In order to execute these roles, HR professionals must have a thorough understanding of the business model of organization, products or services of an organization, human psychology, and behavior, and awareness of competitions.

HR professionals need to understand that they are not Social Reformers or Human Right Activists working on the payroll of an organization. They are working for business. Their efforts must make the business profitable.  Their primary role is to safeguard the interest of organization against all adversities.

Being well-versed with business model plus Thorough understanding of products or services of organization plus Ability to communicate effectively across hierarchy plus Attributes of a Consultant plus Project management abilities Your Ticket to the Topmost Role in Organization

Do you still believe that HR is a messenger between employees and management?

Do you still believe that HR plays an important role in your selection or termination or performance appraisal? If yes, then you are being misguided by your managers.

Do you still feel that performance of HR Professionals cannot be measured? In that case, please take help of HR Analytics. Anything that can be measured can be managed.

I will be glad to have your comments and feedback.

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