What is the point of HR?

A harsh question to be written by an HR professional, but one that is undoubtedly often asked by small businesses, where people “issues” are more likely to be far and few between. But is HR only about the problems and…

Blog31st Aug 2022

A harsh question to be written by an HR professional, but one that is undoubtedly often asked by small businesses, where people “issues” are more likely to be far and few between.

But is HR only about the problems and issues? It is of course an inevitable part of the role of HR and the one thing that many business owners fear happening. Having an expert to hand hold you through the process of managing a difficult employee situation is invaluable and something that all of the team at Elstan HR do every single day for many of our clients. We ensure that managing difficult situations is made as easy and as stress free as possible.

Employment law is a minefield and something that needs to be carefully adhered to – or else you may find yourself answering to en employment tribunal, who have the power to make judgments on how you acted and subsequently order you pay the other party compensation. In worst cases, this amount is uncapped and could easily put a small organisation out of business if found guilty of breaking the law.

This is often how we start supporting new clients – an issue arises and support is needed for a particular situation. Nearly all of our clients continue to work with us long after the initial situation has been resolved. Why is that?

Often we help clients understand how a situation might have arisen and what further measures can be put in place to try and prevent similar issues arising again in the future. This might include having the right processes, policies and documented procedures in place or it could be coaching and training a manager or business owner in managing employees.

But all of this is just the tip of the HR iceberg, so to speak. HR is so much more than reacting to issues and the basics of employee management. A good HR professional will take time to get to know the business they are working with and really understand the business goals and targets and help plan the best way to achieve that from a people and business planning perspective. We have good insights to how the business could be run better, see the challenges businesses face in attracting, retaining and rewarding people within their industry.

A business owner may feel that this is all an unnecessary expense – after all, HR is not a revenue stream, it’s a cost. And why spend money on something when you don’t have a problem, if it’s not broken then don’t fix it?

HR may not directly bring in revenue but it can make an organisation more effective and in turn the business makes more money. That might be through cost savings and increasing margins but also directly saving money. HR is also an excellent partner in business planning, through being able to evaluate and plan according to business goals and ensure that the best people strategy and plan is in place.

In the current climate, the ‘war for talent’ is greater than ever and the lure for people to move to roles that offer them more money, better work life balance or more interesting work is the topic of conversation among so many the most responsive and most innovative organisations are going to attract the best people.

For nearly every business, people are the biggest cost but they’re also the biggest asset and your best chance of growing your business. If someone said to you that they can make your equipment or your technology more efficient most people would be keen to listen. That’s what HR are to a business – advisors on people effectiveness and business efficiency.

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