Human resources management improves training, retention rates and the employee experience.
No matter the business, no matter the industry, employees are crucial to an organisation’s success. However, this wasn’t always well understood. In the 18th century during Europe’s industrial revolution, industry leaders Robert Owen and Charles Babbage began to make note of the connection between employee wellbeing and improved business growth. They concluded that without happy, healthy employees, organisations simply could not endure.
Modern views on employee experience and satisfaction have come a long way, but they all relate back to those early ideals championed by Owen and Babbage: If you improve the employee experience, you improve your business.
Human resources management (HRM) is a strategic approach to maximising employee performance and employee experience by focusing on effective staffing, onboarding, deploying and overseeing of the workers within an organisation.
HRM is often referred to simply as HR (human resources), which also lends its abbreviation to the department within a company which is generally responsible for managing employee policies.
Although using the term ‘resource’ to describe human employees may strike some as dehumanising, the reality is that employees are company resources—the most valuable and vital resources a company can have. HRM exists to help organisations more effectively manage their employee resources, resulting in several key benefits.
The following are some of the advantages of implementing a working HRM strategy:
Human resources management extends to influence many internal aspects of business. From staffing and retention, through establishing workplace policies, to regulatory compliance. In fact, any department that includes or interacts with employees will naturally be included in HRM.
That said, human resource management can usually be divided into three specific categories of responsibility: employee, workplace and legal.
At its most basic, employee experience describes an employee’s perceptions and feelings throughout the entirety of the employee journey—from first encounters and onboarding, through to the time when they move on to other employment. HRM’s responsibilities extend across the entire employee journey as well, and include the following:
Human resources management during the recruitment stage focuses on developing reliable policies and plans designed to find the right people for the right positions. This responsibility can be broken down into four specific areas.
There’s more to building an effective workforce than simply hiring the right people. Once the recruiting and selection process has found capable employees, human resources management must then begin helping these hires adjust to the social and performance aspects of their new job. HRM’s onboarding responsibilities include the following:
With the right employees hired and onboarded successfully, HRM’s responsibilities shift towards retaining these employees within the organisation. While employee compensation and salary may play a key role in whether or not an individual chooses to remain with a company, often there are other factors to consider as well—company culture, hierarchy, personal relationships or issues with the job itself. To improve employee retention, human resource management’s responsibilities include the following:
Whether through voluntary resignation, involuntary termination or retirement, eventually an employee and their company will need to part ways. Effective offboarding exists to ensure that this process is managed correctly, legally and without leaving any loose ends. HRM’s offboarding responsibilities include the following:
Tied closely to the employee experience, the workplace environment can have a major impact on a company’s success. The term workplace environment describes the locations and conditions in which an employee operates. This includes physical issues related to the office itself, as well as less-tangible concerns, such as processes and procedures. Human resource management’s workplace-responsibilities include the following:
Workplace policies exist to promote an environment conducive to productivity and equality. HRM is responsible for working with management and departments to identify the need for policies or policy changes, outlining these policies, seeking authorisation and finalisation for the policies, and then communicating the policies to the employees.
Policies may relate to dress codes, internet usage, disciplinary actions or any other issues that are relevant to the work environment.
An effective workplace environment cannot exist without reliable intra-office communication. HRM has the responsibility of establishing channels and coordination tools to promote clear, reliable communication throughout the work environment.
HRM is also closely involved with ensuring that businesses are adhering to applicable workplace laws and regulations. A well-run human resources management strategy helps promote vital compliance, and protects businesses and their employees from potentially devastating legal action. HRM’s legal responsibilities include the following:
One of the most important duties of human resource management is being aware of the laws and obligations surrounding employment and business. These often include the following:
Although HRM is often thought of as being focused almost exclusively on the inner workings of an organisation, it is also responsible for keeping up with external trends and other factors. These external factors may include the following:
Given the wide range of HRM responsibilities, it makes sense that not every human resource management professional would adhere to the same specialisation. Here are several areas within HRM that one may choose to focus their development on:
This may include creating and implementing a recruiting strategy, interviewing prospective hires, administering pre-employment tests, conducting background investigations and processing promotions, transfers and terminations.
This may include developing and evaluating training programmes, conducting training sessions and maintaining records related to employee participation in training programmes.
This may include analysing professional duties, creating job descriptions, performing evaluation and analysis, creating and reviewing compensation surveys, and managing any outsourced vendors who may be involved in these processes.
This may include working with union contracts, resolving employee grievances, managing employee engagement programmes and negotiating collective bargaining agreements.
This may include organising and managing safety inspections, creating health and safety programmes, keeping documentation of workplace safety incidents, preparing health and safety compliance reports, and maintaining a secure work environment.
This includes developing effective leadership techniques and programmes, conducting professional workshops and mediating conflicts.
This includes planning department budgets, ensuring fair compensation for employees and allocating resources for new programmes and events.
Human resource management is a growing career field. Those who are interested in being a part of it should work on developing the following skills:
Employees put the human in human resources, so it’s no surprise that successful HRM professionals are adept at employee relations. The key here is the ability to work with both employees and administration, and to protect the interests of each at the same time.
Human resources management is extensively involved in the onboarding process, and prospective HRM professionals should be adept at finding and recruiting skilled individuals to join the organisation.
HRIS (human resources information software) is a class of software that automates and assists in certain HR tasks and processes. HRM professionals with a proficiency in using this kind of tool will be able to improve their productivity and efficiency.
Strong communication and interpersonal skills—including empathy and emotional intelligence—serve HRM professionals well in performance management. By working with and motivating employees, human resource management can help them improve performance and accomplish company goals.
Human resource management extends into every department. As such, HRM professionals need to be able to collaborate effectively with non HRM personnel, identifying common goals and coordinating to overcome obstacles.
Scheduling, prioritising and rearranging tasks is an essential part of the HRM workload. Top HR managers are able to take into account many different conflicting schedules and produce a calendar that allows everyone to organise their time effectively.
Although HRM is generally focused on employees, rather than customers, customer-service skills are still a valuable selling point. This is because conflict resolution is a major part of HRM, and customer-service skills carry over well into this responsibility.
HRM is often involved in larger, ongoing projects. Whether this means creating an employee handbook or revising out-dated workplace policies, being able to manage the time and resources needed to complete these projects is a valuable skill.
HRM professionals need a clear understanding of the laws and policies regarding workers’ compensation. This includes drafting and overseeing plans of action for employee compensation in the event of a workplace accident, and helping employees and administrators navigate the compensation process.
We live in a digital world, and HRM professionals are expected to be able to keep up. A working knowledge of technologies and tools will help these professionals perform better and do more. Those with IT experience often have a leg up over those who do not.
Although human resource management has been around for a long time, recent advances in technology and changes in organisational priorities have created a modern HR revolution. Here, we briefly examine current and emerging trends in HRM:
HRIT combines human resources with information technology to create a new role within many companies. Given the increasingly technological role of HRM, expect to see a greater focus on HRIT in the coming years.
AI and machine learning give HRM the ability to automatically and accurately analyse, predict and diagnose potential issues. Although one of the most attractive benefits of AI is its ability to automatically identify high-quality candidates from thousands of applications, AI and machine learning is poised to impact nearly every aspect of human resource management, with many early adopters seeing exceptionally positive results.
Advanced technologies are allowing businesses to better evaluate and assess employee engagement—without having to wait for annual performance reviews. These technologies are capable of accurately quantifying engagement on a day-to-day basis, for a clever picture of the overall health of a business.
As outsourcing and team restructuring becomes more commonplace, the responsibility to manage and coordinate a range of employees and contractors often falls to HRM. This trend will lead to a greater focus on people management in the years to come.
With the right data, HR managers can identify patterns and better inform their various responsibilities. And as data collection capabilities continue to advance, the ability to effectively analyse that data will become an essential HRM skill.
Maximising employee performance and employee experience means providing the right tools to help your people stay productive, informed and happy. ServiceNow employee workflows give your workforce the information and resources they need to perform their best. Boost engagement, facilitate better communication, create improved solutions and more. After all, your employees are your company’s most valuable resource; protect and support them, with ServiceNow.
Learn more about what ServiceNow could do for your organisation.