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An introduction to 'HR'

An introduction to 'HR'

What does 'HR' do?

This is not an exhaustive article, just a starting point. 

HR is such a broad term that it can mean different things to different people.

*  To one person it could mean 'you do recruitment';

*  To another it could mean 'you sack people';

*  To another person it could mean 'you help people get promoted'. 

All of these are true. 

But, what does 'HR' mean?  Well, it stands for Human Resources. 

This can be seen as an outdated term and many companies are now using 'People', so you might now see 'People Manager' or 'People Advisor' instead of 'HR Manager or 'HR Advisor'. 

The person(s) responsible for HR/ People will vary depending on the size and complexity of the business.  There is no legal need to have anyone responsible for HR/ People, but, as with many things, if no-one's responsible it often gets ignored.

Traditionally HR was seen as the 'pay and rations' department.  Making sure that everyone got paid the right amount on time and had the right number of holidays. 

This does tend to still be the case, however, much of this is automated through HR systems now.

The HR team is often also responsible for recruitment; writing job descriptions, checking applications, conducting interviews and hiring the best person.  Again, the managers who are hiring for their teams now have a lot more to do with this and it is not all down to the HR/ People person.

The team (or person) was also there to 'sort out' any employee issues and have those difficult conversations.  Such as holding disciplinary meetings or grievance discussions when something goes wrong between two employees. 

These things still happen, but they are not the sole responsibility of the person(s) in the HR/ People team.  They have evolved to now also be the responsibility of managers.  If you have managers who know what to do when there is a conflict then that frees up the HR/ People person to do other things that add more value to your business.

HR/ People person(s) create policies and police the business so they are always the ones to say 'No, you can't do that!'

Although the HR/ People team still tend to own the company policies, they tend to be written collaboratively with other teams in the business.  

I've always been an HR person who wants to find a way to say 'Yes, you can do that'.  There's always a way.

I hope you have found this useful as a starting point.