How does HR support employees?
How does HR support employees?
Human resources (HR) is one of the most important departments - or employee - in an entire business. All employees know what it's there for - but how many actually trust what their HR department can do for them?
A well-equipped HR department can quickly become the hub of any business - but, how can HR professionals better support employees? Learn more in this guide.
What is HR, and what does it do?
HR is responsible for managing people within a company. They handle recruitment and onboarding, as well as training programmes, workforce incentives and disciplinary proceedings.
Many employees feel that HR is only around for the negative components of the job, such as performance management and giving them their notice - but HR professionals are also responsible for a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff.
To see why HR is so important, we need to understand its main responsibilities. Let's look at what HR professionals really do for a company's daily operations:
Managing employee data and documents
HR professionals have a vital role in managing employee data and documents. They're the behind-the-scenes heroes who keep things running smoothly. Think of them as the information custodians who ensure that all employee information is up-to-date, secure, and confidential. This includes everything from personal details, employment history, and performance reviews, to employment contracts and benefits information. They keep the company compliant and running like a well-oiled machine.
Speaking of compliance, HR professionals keep a business on the straight and narrow, ensuring it operates legally, ethically, and responsibly, complying with all relevant laws, legislation, local regulations, and industry standards, and that all policies and procedures are in place to meet compliance requirements.
In smaller businesses, HR professionals often take on the role of managing internal communications. They serve as the go-to-person for employees to gain access to all company information, including updates on policies, procedures, and news. They can also play a crucial role in facilitating communication between employees and management, fostering a positive and productive workplace culture.
Recruiting new employees might seem simple, but it's much more complex than people believe. Creating a generic job ad and publishing it won't always achieve the right results, as the key to a speedy recruitment process is to ensure the right people apply for the role.
According to Glassdoor, a typical employer will spend £3000 on a new hire, which will take around 27 days. Without having support from a dedicated HR professional, these costs could dramatically increase.
As HR understand how to find the right people for each vacancy, they can streamline the process by:
- Identifying a suitable budget.
- Consulting with internal management and external stakeholders.
- Wording the advert to attract only eligible applicants.
Paperwork and onboarding
HR is also responsible for shortlisting applicants, interviewing candidates, choosing the best person for the job and drawing up employment contracts. Once a candidate accepts a job offer, the department will gather references and ensure they have the necessary paperwork.
Successful candidates need to go through an onboarding process and feel they have support once they begin the job, and HR will be integral to ensuring everything runs smoothly.
Manage and update workplace policies
Every company needs to have policies in place that detail the employee's responsibilities.
HR is responsible for regularly evaluating company policies and flagging problems to management.
If a business doesn't meet its legal obligation to protect employees and customers, it could result in court action and hefty fines. For this reason, managing policies is one of the essential duties of HR departments.
Processing payroll without any mistakes
From staying on schedule each month to adding new employees and paying freelance workers or consultants, payroll is one of the more stressful business operations. It's often also HR’s responsibility.
HR will also have to factor in bonuses and ensure no errors, as these can be costly for the company and lead to angry employees if someone receives the wrong pay.
Managing disciplinary action meetings
No employee wants to experience disciplinary action, and it's often one of the things that contribute to negative perceptions of HR departments.
Disciplinary action hearings occur due to:
- Employees constantly being late.
- Regular sickness absences.
- Failing to stay in line with company culture.
- Treating co-workers or customers inappropriately.
The critical thing to remember about these hearings is they're meant to provide a constructive solution for all people involved in the issue. Workplace misconduct is a serious issue, but HR departments have to handle it correctly.
Failing to do this could result in the employee quitting and leaving negative reviews about their former employer, or even the company being in breach of workplace regulations around unfair dismissal.
Employee turnover is one of the biggest problems a business will have to deal with. According to the CIPD, women and LGBT employees suffer more discrimination..
HR can help companies ensure they have strong anti-discrimination laws in place and a positive attitude towards employees that might become isolated.
What can HR do better?
An HR department is integral to a company's productivity, daily operations and future - but why do they have such a bad reputation? Many HR professionals are seen as bureaucratic and rigid because they have to maintain company policies and procedures.
The key to ensuring employees understand what HR can do for them is creating an honest and open environment.
Here are some of the best ways a company can show off the positives of its HR professionals.
Prioritise career growth and training programmes
Employees want to fill their skill gaps and look forward to progression opportunities. A key role of any HR should be to help each employee plan their career path.
But this isn’t just a perk for employees. Retaining existing employees is less expensive than recruiting and onboarding new ones. Providing and clearly communicating about training programmes can positively impact your team's happiness, leading to less turnover.
Teaching senior team members how to manage employee relations
Great managers boost employee performance by creating a supportive and encouraging environment. However, they're also responsible for maintaining the company's culture and facilitating growth, so there are numerous things to handle.
By talking to managers about creating better working conditions, the senior team will have the knowledge to implement HR policies.
Ensuring companies stay in line with employment laws
Whichever country you work in, there will be many employment laws in place to protect managers and employees, and it's HR's job to ensure companies stay in line with these procedures. There could be severe implications if a manager fails to protect each employee or creates a discriminative work culture.
HR doesn't just protect the rights of employees; they also minimise the risk of legal action and damage to the company's reputation by offering continuing education and paying attention to employment policies.
Automating HR tasks to focus on the big picture
As a company grows, it may become harder and harder for HR to handle everything. For example, manually managing employee records and employee data and attracting the best talent is no easy feat (especially for small businesses with limited HR resources). But what if there was a simpler way to handle HR operations?
Planday helps HR professionals achieve more by automating their daily operations, so they can focus on higher level tasks.
Connects with payroll software
Planday integrates with payroll software, to make running your business, and paying employees accurately and on time, straightforward and smooth.
Maintain better communication
Professional development is essential to most employees, but what about the ones who don't give the job their all? Using Planday allows employers and HR to flag frequent absences and evaluate which employees aren't performing well.
While this doesn't necessarily mean disciplinary action, it's a great way to put a development plan into place and offer support to people who might need it.
Try Planday today - for free
HR will always be integral to the daily running of any business, but focusing on the big picture ensures every company can focus on growth and reduce the risks of lawsuits.
Using Planday, your HR will be better able to ensure your business meets compliance regulations, implement better processes so your business runs more smoothly, and is better placed to look after valuable data.
If you'd like to see what Planday can do to support your HR, please book a free trial to test its features.