One of the most critical but often overlooked aspects of a successful business is the team of people who help bring the business vision to market. But the greatest business plan in the world isn’t worth the hundred pages of market-speak and dozens of pie charts if you don’t have the right people in the right positions. Popular culture has reduced people management down to a few buzzwords, and in doing so, has glossed over the vital importance of effective human resource management. How you source the human needs of your company can make all the difference between success and failure.
People management extends far beyond whether or not a person works well for a certain manager or within a specific division. The task of generating an attractive offer, providing proper compensation and other benefits, and managing other aspects of personnel placement fall under the broad umbrella of human resources. Can your company get the people you need, and can it provide them with ample compensation and other benefits that reflect the ongoing success and growth of the company? Managing people is a lot more nuanced than managing an inventory of supplies or directing a product pipeline.
Master of Compromise
At the same time, individual needs can be in conflict with the broader company vision. Understanding the needs of all parties involved and being able to skillfully negotiate an amicable resolution is one of the most important skills for an HR manager to cultivate.
In addition to hiring and firing personnel, HR is responsible for ensuring that the company follows local, state and federal regulations in regard to a safe workplace environment. It’s not just a matter of making sure everyone gets paid commensurate with their responsibilities, but also ensuring that employees are treated fairly and respectfully.
Confidentiality is key to building trust, and HR managers must be able to perform their job while maintaining strict confidentiality. Not only must you be able to objectively assess the nature of a workplace conflict, but you must be empowered to bring these crises to the attention of senior management. Your negotiation skills are always in high demand, and not just when you’re trying to convince a candidate to join the company in a much-needed position.
Change Is Constant
Every organization is in a constant state of flux as various divisions and groups merge to achieve collective goals or are splintered off into sub-groups tasked with solving very specific problems. HR’s role is to remain constant even as the rest of the company is in flux. They must keep abreast of the overall business strategy and vision, which allows them to ensure that they are applying all the human resources appropriately to reach the business’s goals. It’s embarrassing for everyone when a sub-committee comes back with a solution to a problem that the rest of the company had abandoned six months earlier.
Of course, this means being organized — and not just because the files contain all sorts of personal information. A well-organized HR department provides a strong sense of constancy and security.
Listening and Talking
You can’t overlook the value of knowing how to communicate effectively. An HR manager must be able to talk directly with senior management about concerns that employees have raised, and they must be able to communicate effectively during the recruiting phase in response to questions raised by job applicants. They must understand the specialized language of the various departments within the organization and be able to translate concerns and information into the jargon of a different department.
Additionally, an effective HR manager will know how to listen. Much of the manager’s day-to-day workload is the hiring, firing and relocating of employees, but his or her unique role within the company involves being the ear for grievances, concerns and other complaints about how the company is doing business. Is management effectively communicating the corporate goals to the employees? Are they listening to their direct reports and responding accordingly? Are they treating employees fairly and respectfully? The HR manager must listen to employees and be their advocate when necessary.
While the business plan may not explicitly outline HR’s role, a company cannot function without a pool of happy employees. HR must be able to negotiate not only with potential candidates, but also with senior management for proper compensation and benefits for the employees. They have to care about the staff as much as they care about the company’s vision, because staff effort toward a company’s goals is what will make the vision a reality.
Learn more about the Lamar University online MBA in Management.