It can be difficult for employees to know exactly what the Human Resources department – often referred to simply as HR – actually does. Most would say that they deal with harassment issues or they keep the company from getting sued. While those ideas are not entirely wrong, the do grossly oversimplify the immense responsibilities of HR employees.
Human Resources is there for the employees.
HR is your advocate, counselor, coach, and, if needed, your disciplinarian all rolled into one. Here’s a helpful primer on what exactly they do and why their work is so crucial to a healthy work environment.
Human Resources Defined
When it comes to definitions, let’s have Merriam Webster start us off:
“Human resources is an organizational function related to the procurement and retention of talented employees.”
Those two words tell you a great deal about what Human Resources primary goals are. They find the best people for the job and do everything afforded by their position to keep said employees employed. They have to keep the company’s best interest in mind while providing workers with the resources needed to thrive. It’s no easy task, that’s for sure.
Organization vs. Individuals
Sometimes, your Human Resources department isn’t even a department. This is common for startups and small businesses. When there are only a few employees, it’s not fiscally responsible or imperative to have such a specific piece of the company puzzle. Odds are, if you founded the startup, it’s your responsibility to take on the HR role as the business grows.
Human Resources sets the tone and atmosphere of the workplace.
An HR manager influences morale. If they’re providing necessary information about benefits, helping develop employee skills, and promptly solving issues in the company, your startup is going to be a happier, more welcoming place to work. HR departments that sweep things under the rug, ignore complaints and withhold information are often only looking out for themselves and their bosses. Is that the kind of Human Resources management you want?
I didn’t think so.
Facilitators of Communication
A bosses door can’t always be open. As the business grows, so does their time on the phone, in meetings, and traveling. You can be an empathetic employer, but it’s unrealistic to be expected to address all your employee’s concerns on your own.
HR bridges the gaps between employees and management.
If you have a problem with a co-worker, you bring it to HR. When there’s confusion about your health benefits and insurance coverage, talk to HR. If you’re dealing with harassment, speak to HR and they’ll investigate it.
Human Resources is the knight in shining armor to your damsel in distress. There in place to keep employees happy and healthy. You’re not a liability to them, you’re a human being and a valuable company asset. They want you to thrive.
Let them help you.
Don’t Fear Human Resources
Focus on the two words that make of the name.
A company HR department is a resource meant to be taken advantage of by the humans it was implemented to assist. They are not there just to conduct performance reviews or deny vacation days. They are as valuable to you as you allow them to be.
They’re not the company buzzkills. They’re the company guardians.