How HR works

Human Resources is just what it says: resources for humans – within the workplace!

Its main objective is to meet the organizational needs of the company it represents and the needs of the people hired by that company. In short, it is the hub of the organisation serving as a liaison between all concerned. Depending on the size of the company, the HR Department might be called Personnel with a manageable workforce that can be handled by a personnel manager and a small staff. For larger, more complex organisations with hundreds of departments and divisions, the task is much more demanding, taking on a life of its own.

Some companies have more than one HR Department – Corporate and Union. For example, a food service industry might have a Corporate HR Department that oversees “white collared” employees and an HR Department that oversees the “blue collar” workforce with an emphasis on labour relations. With such diverse needs, the organisation will institute these two HR Departments to manage the unique needs of both union and non-union employees. Some of the many core functions of the Human Resources function involves the following: Organisational Development: To ensure its success, a company must establish a hierarchal reporting system.

Picture an organisational chart with boxes representing each position starting at the top with the first and single-most important being the highest-ranking role. Following the lines, more boxes are branched off to define each department head and their direct reports. As the company expands, so will this chart. The funnel of responsibility is critical to the efficiency of a smoothly operating business entity in which there is a clearly defined understanding of who is responsible for what. This is what HR does for a company. They provide consultation to a company’s management team to identify what the company’s core business and culture is about, and proceeds to plan and map the company’s organisational infrastructure to support those needs.

Employee Recruitment and Selection Process

There are many steps to recruiting and selecting qualified employees. First, a department head must inform the HR manager of an opening in their department. Then the HR manager must obtain the job description to formulate a Job Description Sheet for publication either internally, publicly, or both. Then HR must field the (many) responses to that job announcement to weed out the qualified from the unqualified applicants. Once that is completed, the interview process must be coordinated. This is a full time job! If one job ad generates 80 responses, there’s a good chance that only 10 applicants are highly qualified for the position. If the department’s hiring manager were to interview the other 70 less-than-qualified applicants, their department would come to a complete standstill because there would be no time for anything else! That’s where HR, a.k.a. Fort Knox, comes in.

They prepare the job description, contact the newspaper, run the ad, field the calls, faxes, and emails, compile a list of potential candidates from dozens of in-coming resumes, submit their list of potential candidates to the department’s hiring manager for approval and selection, contact the chosen candidates to set up preliminary interviews, and interview the candidates! Yes, that’s right. Preliminary interviews! Although most interviews are with the hiring manager or their associates, not all applicants get to meet with the department’s hiring manager right away. It is not uncommon for a company to filter out those who fail to impress the HR manager first.

For those select few who make it through, the HR manager schedules interviews between the department’s hiring manager and potential candidates, and follows up with the hiring process to establish the new hire with the company. Not unlike the screening process for American Idol, a job seeker needs to perform their best to impress the “judges.” Employee Training & Development: As a company and the requirements of a position evolve, a company needs to take certain measures to ensure a highly skilled workforce is in place. The Human Resources Department oversees the skills development of company’s workforce, acting as an in-house training center to coordinate training programs either on-site, off-site, or in the field. This might include on-going company training, outside training seminars, or even college, in which case an employee will receive tuition reimbursement upon earning a passing grade.

Employee Compensation Benefits

This covers salaries, bonuses, vacation pay, sick leave pay, Workers’ Compensation, and insurance policies such as medical, dental, life, and 401k. The Human Resources Department is responsible for developing and administering a benefits compensation system that serves as an incentive to ensure the recruitment and retainment of top talent that will stay on with the company. When an employee is hired, the company’s Benefits Coordinator is required to meet with employees one-on-one or in small group settings to explain their benefits package. This often requires an employee to make an informed decision and to provide their signature for processing purposes

Employee Relations

With the increased rise in unethical practices and misbehaviors taking place in today’s workplace such as age, gender, race, and religion discrimination and sexual harassment, there needs to be mandatory compliance with governing rules and regulations to ensure fair treatment of employees. In short, employees need to know they have a place to turn when a supervisor abuses his or her authority in anyway. Whether corporate or union, the HR Department will get involved to act as arbitrator and liaison between legal entities, regulatory agencies such as Human Rights, supervisors (who might be falsely accused), and employees to properly address and resolve the issue at hand.

Policy Formulation

Regardless of the organisation’s size, company policies and procedures must be established to ensure order in the workplace. These policies and procedures are put in place to provide each employee with an understanding of what is expected of them. Similarly, these policies and procedural guidelines will assist hiring managers in evaluating their employee’s performance. These policies can be established company-wide or used to define each department’s function. It is Human Resource’s responsibility to collaborate with department managers on the formulation of these policies and regulations to ensure a cohesive organisation. A common practice is the development and implementation of an Employee Procedure Manual or Employee Handbook that is either distributed to each employee at the time of hire or a master copy allocated one to a department.

Human Resources Information Systems

To keep track of the vast amount of data, a human resources department must have a good HRIS in place to automate many functions such as planning and tracking costs, monitoring and evaluating productivity levels, and the storing and processing of employee records such as payroll, benefits, and personnel files.

It is very important that you, the job seeker, understand how the HR function works – specifically in the area of candidate recruitment. If you are considering a career in human resources, you can choose to become a Generalist or a Specialist. Some titles include HR Manager, HR Recruiter, HR Administrator, Payroll Coordinator or Assistant, PeopleSoft HR Project Manager, Benefits Administrator or Coordinator, Labour Relations, Training Coordinator, HRIS Specialist and HR Consultant.

Whether a job seeker or a HR professional, research a company well before applying for a position.

Ann Baehr is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and President of Best Resumes of New York. Notable credentials include her role as former Second Vice President of the National Resume Writers’ Association and published contributor to over twenty resume and cover letter books by McGraw-Hill, Jist Publishers, and Adams Media.

This article appeared on comparehris.com.

Artificial Intelligence and HR: the future of HR

From the domination of mobile to the latest in recruitment tools and gamification, and how video and live streaming is having an impact on hiring and training.

Changes are afoot that many of us couldn’t have imagined 15 or so years ago. The reason this “tech meets HR” marriage is so exciting is how quickly the technology evolution has disrupted HR and enhanced the way HR professionals get things done. Now there’s another big disrupter on the horizon, one that you would be wise to keep your eyes on: Artificial intelligence.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

In layman’s terms, artificial intelligence (or, AI as it’s commonly referred to), is an area of computer science where computers are “developed” to behave much the way humans do. There are three levels when it comes to AI, depending on how advanced the computers get, and the measuring stick is “human reasoning.”

Strong AI genuinely simulates human reasoning. These systems not only think, but can also “explain” how humans think and reason.

Weak AI includes systems that can “think” (computers playing chess against human chess masters, for example), but don’t tell us anything about how humans think, and the systems don’t really think themselves.

In-between AI includes systems that are informed by, or inspired by human reasoning. Examples include Google’s Deep Learning (driven by big data) and IBM’s Watson, a system that can answer questions by analyzing thousands of pieces of text, discerning patterns, and weighing evidence, a sort of “layered learning,” much like the way our brains learn. This in-between area is where most AI work is being done today.

Artificial Intelligence Meets HR

The biggest driver of AI’s impact in the HR industry is the massive growth of big data. Until now, we haven’t had access to simple software systems with which to track and analyze internal employee data (think sick days, vacation requests, hiring trends, workflow, etc.). Today, most businesses have undergone some degree of digital transformation, and rely on this type of technology. HR professionals are recognizing that this valuable data and the insights teased from it play a major role in reducing riskand driving decision-making, when it comes to talent management and organisational performance.

Here are four ways AI has the potential to have an enormous impact on HR.

1. Personalisation: It’s not news that people have very different styles of learning, and, with the many generations now filling the workforce, embracing modern training practices has never been more important. AI is helping to personalize corporate learning, by capturing meaningful employee data relating to a wide range of learning experiences and behaviors. The same machine learning computer algorithms that “learn and recommend” by analyzing your choices of where to shop or what to eat, will “learn and recommend” when it comes to employee training. In fact, these systems will continue to parse and analyze as more and more employee interactions occur, and be able to tweak training programs accordingly, making training more efficient, and training outcomes more effective.

2. Workflow Automation: Scheduling, scheduling, and rescheduling. The bane of many of our existences, yes? Well, AI is poised to be a game-changer when it comes to workflow problems. According to a recent com article, the next few years should see software that automates hiring processes like “… interview scheduling, employee performance reviews, employee onboarding, and even the answering of basic HR questions.” I, for one, can’t wait.

3. Improved Recruitment: HR is, by its very name, one of the most human-centric industries out there. But human beings are complicated, and it’s very difficult to get base-level data on individual people—enough to run an analysis on—especially when hiring. Enter predictive analytics using natural language. Still, in its (relative) infancy, the software driving natural language processes and predictive language analysis will help speed up recruitment by allowing you to weed people out faster, and with fewer mistakes.

4. Better prediction models: AI will get to know your company almost better than you do. Whether it’s predicting future turnover rates, reduced (or increased) employee engagement levels, concerns about internal employee communications, project completion problems, and any other unexpected hidden issues that would usually take years to surface, artificial intelligence will (most likely) be one step ahead of you. And when it comes to cost savings and overall organisational efficiencies, that’s a very good thing.

The pace of technological change in our work worlds is happening so quickly that a recent World Economic “Future of Jobs” report estimated “… some 65 percent of children entering primary schools today will likely work in (jobs) that don’t currently exist.” And many of those jobs will probably be related to computer learning and predictive analytics. Human resources professionals need to start embracing big data today, so they can be prepared to embrace the incredible advancements in artificial intelligence of tomorrow.

Meghan M. Biro is a globally recognized Talent Management and HR Tech brand strategist, analyst, digital catalyst, author and speaker.

This article appeared on talentculture.com

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