Refocusing the Image of HR

An office – or any business for that matter – is a bit like a microcosm of society as a whole. It’s a place where people of different backgrounds, attitudes and beliefs work side by side, and it functions best when it is operating in harmony and a basic set of behavioral expectations and guidelines are followed.

Typically, this is where two unfortunate generalizations and oversimplifications come into play when it comes to human resources. In the first trope, they are painted as the bureaucratic killjoys whose singular thrill in life comes at stamping out the seeds of fun before they can grow into full bloom. If not being portrayed as the Official Pooper of Parties (sash optional), then they are most likely viewed as the heavy.

Both of those cliches are unfair. As with any time you use a broad brush, you cannot capture the subtleties and details needed to see the whole picture. The truth is human resources play an important and essential role in maintaining a productive and goal-oriented workplace where management is supported, and employees are enthused and engaged.

In this issue of Greater Lansing Business Monthly, we’re giving some long-overdue love to these unsung heroes of the working world. Consider these job vital responsibilities that are typically undertaken by a company’s human resources department:

  • Human resources help ensure that top talent is acquired and retained. An experienced and knowledgeable workforce is invaluable to every employee on the ladder because one person performing an improper job effects the flow of work in both directions. One of our features this month discusses how HR is using technology to meet and exceed expectations when it comes to recruiting.
  • A good human resources department is hands-on when it comes to ensuring employees are not only properly trained but are also provided with continued development to aid in their current duties or prepare them for advancement in the company. That’s right, they can actually assist you in getting that promotion by making sure you have the right skills for the job.
  • They are responsible for employee satisfaction and boosting morale. Whether it’s gauging workforce feedback through questionnaires and surveys or rallying the troops through fun activities and events, human resources are the cheerleaders of the office.
  • Yes, they do the dirty work that no one wants to do. Workplace conflict has a negative ripple effect that can spread throughout a company. Human resources professionals serves as the mediator to resolve uncomfortable issues and maintain a place of employee where a wide range of differing job styles and personalities can peacefully coexist.

Naturally, there is a wealth of other behind-the-scenes support conducted by human resources. As with any job, unless you’re the one doing it, you probably don’t know half of what is involved. Traffic cop and team-builder are just two of the many hats human resources has to wear on any given day, but the work they do and the roles they play make the workaday world a bit better for everyone.

 

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