Does HR work for the business or the employee?
Posted on 21st June 2023 at 09:22
By Kate van der Sluis, Managing Partner
At a recent networking meeting, we were discussing what HR is. There was a heart-breaking story from an employee who had shared personal information with their HR team, only to have is repeated and spread throughout the organisation. I was gutted to hear this - a massive breach of trust. Someone else piped up, with an example of HR being annoymous, untouchable and intimidating. Then a third example, someone who had seen HR add real value through a skills analysis of team members, suggested reallocation of workload, and helped everyone to work to their strengths.
This lead to the question - who does HR really work for - the business or the employee?
The answer is both. Human Resources (HR) departments typically have a dual responsibility of working for the business as well as for the employees. The primary objective of HR is to create an environment that benefits both the organisation and its workforce. Let's explore this further:
1. Working for the Business: HR professionals play a crucial role in supporting the strategic goals of the organisation. They align HR policies and practices with the overall business objectives, ensuring that the company has the right talent, skills, and resources to thrive. They focus on areas such as talent acquisition, talent management, organisational development, compensation, and benefits. By doing so, HR helps the business operate efficiently, increase productivity, and achieve its targets.
2. Working for the Employees: HR departments also have a responsibility to support and advocate for employees' rights and well-being. They promote fair treatment, equal opportunity, and diversity within the workplace. HR is responsible for developing and implementing policies that ensure a safe and inclusive work environment. They address employee concerns, provide guidance on workplace issues, and facilitate employee development and engagement. HR professionals also play a critical role in employee relations, conflict resolution, and ensuring compliance with labor laws and regulations.
While HR's ultimate goal is to strike a balance between the needs of the business and the employees, the emphasis may shift depending on the situation. For example, during times of organisational change, HR might focus more on supporting employees through the transition. In contrast, during periods of growth or restructuring, HR might prioritise aligning the workforce with the company's evolving needs.
Ultimately, a successful HR department is one that understands the organisation's strategic goals and ensures that its practices align with both the business objectives and the well-being of its employees. It's a difficult balance to strike!
Humber HR People's mission is to create happy, healthy workplaces where people and profits grow.
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