April Shepherd - Director HR Consulting, Insights

Why HR is one of the most important functions in a business

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​Imagine a phone call, a friendly voice on the other end starts with a thorough introduction themselves and the organisation they are representing, following by their interest in speaking about YOU - your career, your current situation, your aspirations goals and what you want out of your next career move.

Then you’re organised for a lineup of interviews. Details of the meeting and preparation float seamlessly into your inbox and diary with discussions and debriefs after each progressive interview. Then it’s the final - you’re not nervous, you’re prepared and eager and there are no surprises.

The offer letter comes – and the deal is signed, sealed and delivered.

As you await your start date you have interactions from C-suite to peers, and perhaps some light reading to get you up to speed before the Big Day. It arrives and you’re in the know about expectations, office culture, you have a roadmap to follow along with goals and targets, and your team lunch is a blast.

Once you’re fully onboarded the journey continues, 30/60/90 day check ins, follow ups and anonymous employee engagement exercises, perhaps some executive coaching and continuous learning. Before you know it, you’ve been selected as a Top Performer and you are eager to continue to grow and help the organisation reach and surpass their goals.

When it’s time for a change, you know you’re ready and your exit interview is challenging because it’s difficult to leave such an amazing team and company, yet at the same time it's rewarding, as it’s a pleasant discussion and both parties know you’ve truly contributed and have grown in your professional career, you leave with a solid reference and an excitement for the next chapter.

Welcome to the wonderful role HR plays within an organisation. When there is a strong HR presence or department in a company this employee journey is created, executed and manipulated along with internal and external trends and tools. HR is not a luxury, it’s a necessity and here’s why:

1. It’s an ROI thing

HR can be considered the lifeblood of an organisation as they ensure the company gets the most out of their employees. Each hire should be considered an investment for the company’s future and HR ensures the company is able to get a high return on their investment in each person.

HR creates the ability to increase ROI through a variety of strategies. Starting at the first point of contact for a potential hire – talent acquisition. HR ensures the company hires the right people at the right time with the right skills and cultural fit across all departments while also creating the hiring journey for the potential candidate. This is the start of the investment.

To ensure ROI continues to be high for each employee HR can create an environment of continuous investment and engage employees throughout their careers at the company. This can be done through continuous learning, upskilling, or perhaps cross-functional learning or career coaching opportunities. When people are valued, engaged and working toward common goals, naturally they are more efficient. HR acts as an engagement enabler across all departments to ensure gaps are identified and closed using solutions involving technology and psychology resulting in a high ROI for each investment.

2. Culture stamp

Have you ever noticed that companies although similar in product or service offering have created completely different identities? HR is able to bring together leadership vision, company values and overall business goals, to find people that whose values and goals are inline with the company’s. Culture is not a fixed state — it evolves with changing demographics, workplace norms, industry forces and other factors and HR needs to be on the ground to ensure culture evolves and continues to be a core focus for competitive advantage.

3. Smooth operator

If you enjoy being paid on time, having a process for annual leave, receiving medical benefits or have ever needed to refer to the employee handbook for clarity on subjects such as maternity leave, employee perks or even harassment protocol– you have HR to thank. HR acts behind the scenes, again to ensure all departments run smoothly, grievances are addressed, and people feel as though their employers have created fair and inclusive standards for all employees on a company wide basis.

Remember the film ‘Office Space?’ The scene where employees receiving pink slips and are escorted out of the building? This HR parody is thankfully a thing of the past. More and more organisations are discovering the importance of HR for their overall business strategy, company culture and overall efficiency and as a result are reaping the benefits of their biggest investments – their people.

If you'd like to discuss how to make the most of your people, feel free to send me an email!