Is HR a DEPARTMENT or a FUNCTION?
Most of the company leaders, who are not in HR, and I have exchanged conversations with, knows that HR is a department but could not actually pinpoint the complete function of a Human Resource. I have yet to always remind them that the HR function is not just an admin task but, a strategic business partner that can help an organization as a whole and is as valuable as any other core business unit.
Can a company survive without an HR department? Yes.
Can a company survive without an HR function? No.
Over the years of working in HR has been giving me a lot of Aha! Moments and working closely with the management in any company I go, has been a day-by-day learning session on how HR can be a strategic business partner instead of someone who just gets orders from the top management. Truly, HR is a role that handles multiple and sometimes, complex functions, and sometimes I believe, not everyone is cut for the job. However, from my statement above, a company may not survive without an HR function thus, HR is actually everybody’s job.
I always get raised eyebrows whenever I make bold statements such as, “employee screening and employee discipline should be a shared responsibility” and I truly get a lot of hate from it, however, where is the lie though? HR is a FUNCTION and not just a person. If your management has the budget to personify all the HR Functions, then you are blessed. Not all organizations can afford to hire a dedicated HR person who can perform all functions, especially when specializations are still taken into consideration because you don’t want to have half-baked strategies and implementations here and there. In my previous post entitled, “To All the Ones I Hired Before“, a lot of HR professionals found it relatable and seemed like I was talking on their behalf. I also found myself discussing with other leaders the sentiments I have brought out on the said post and somehow, made them aware that HR is not an easy job.
The HR Function is a journey and there are a lot of HR professionals out there who are continuously honing their skills in order to promote sound HR practices. However, since not all business leaders are aware of the complete HR function, some HR practitioners take advantage and settle as “happy campers” from where they are now in their organizations. And who’s going to suffer? The organization. Well, yes, the employees will be affected first, but the end results will be felt on the organization. It is mainly because, employees are the heart of any business and while human relations is one of the main leadership skills a manager should have, not all are performing it as needed.
Business strategies and Market demands may have foreseeable predictions and forecasts but the employees who will make them happen for you will never respond similarly in almost everything. Human beings are complex creatures and we are all not just creatures of habit, but also creatures of emotions. As I see it, in an organization, you need someone who will take care of the numbers, at the same time, you must have someone look after those people who are both running and making the numbers for you. Great leaders can manage both, because why not? As I have been reiterating, HR is a function and must be done by everybody. But as your organization grows or as time and circumstances force you to change the organizational needs in manpower, products, and systems, your employee needs change as well – and that makes HR’s job complex.
How are your employees? Have you been providing what they need, sufficiently enough that does not compromise the management’s financial capacity? Are their wages aligned with their key roles and work outputs? Have you been compliant with the labor laws and other government mandates? Have you been engaging your employees enough that they will still choose you over a cold call for a job opportunity? Have you been providing proper training (either formal or informal setting) in which they could feel the growth and career direction you have for them? Do you even have a career path for them?
My list of questions can go on and on but hey, how are you as an employer? Now, do you think you need an HR?
Should you wish to see what an HR professional checks from the onset in an organization or should you wish to see how are you doing in HR matters, you may take this FREE HR AUDIT and you may be able to see what needs to be included in your organization or better, what needs to be improved.