Free HRM Course-Role of HRM

The role of HRM is to plan, develop and administer policies and programs designed to make optimum use of an organizations human resources. It is that part of management which is concerned with the people at work and with their relationship within enterprises.

Current Classification of HR roles:

According to R.L Mathis and J. H. Jackson (2010) several roles can be fulfilled by HR management. The nature and extent of these roles depend on both what upper management wants HR management to do and what competencies the HR staff have demonstrated. Three roles are typically identified for HR.

• Administrative
• Operational Actions
• Strategic HR

1. Administrative Role of HR:

The administrative role of HR management has been heavily oriented to administration and recordkeeping including essential legal paperwork and policy implementation. Major changes have happened in the administrative role of HR during the recent years. Two major shifts driving the transformation of the administrative role are: Greater use of technology and Outsourcing.

Technology has been widely used to improve the administrative efficiency of HR and the responsiveness of HR to employees and managers. Moreover; HR functions are becoming available electronically or are being done on the Internet using Web-based technology. Technology is being used in most HR activities, from employment applications and employee benefits enrollments to elearning using Internet-based resources.

Increasingly, many HR administrative functions are being outsourced to vendors. This outsourcing of HR administrative activities has grown dramatically in HR areas such a employee assistance (counseling), retirement planning, benefits administration, payrol services and outplacement services.

2. Operational and Employee Advocate Role for HR:

HR managers manage most HR activities in line with the strategies and operations that have been identified by management and serves as employee “champion” for employee issues and concerns.

HR often has been viewed as the “employee advocate” in organizations. They act as the voice for employee concerns, and spend considerable time on HR “crisis management,” dealing with employee problems that are both work-related and non work-related. Employee advocacy helps to ensure fair and equitable treatment for employees regardless of personal background or circumstances.

Sometimes the HR’s advocate role may create conflict with operating managers. However, without the HR advocate role, employers could face even more lawsuits and regulatory complaints than they do now.

The operational role requires HR professionals to co-operate with various departmental and operating managers and supervisors in order to identify and implement needed programs and policies in the organization. Operational activities are tactical in nature. Compliance with equal employment opportunity and other laws are ensured, employment applications are processed, current openings are filled through interviews, supervisors are trained, safety problems are resolved and wage and benefit questions are answered. For carrying out these activities HR manager matches HR activities with the strategies of the organization.

3. Strategic Role for HR:

The administrative role traditionally has been the dominant role for HR. A broader transformation in HR is needed so that significantly less HR time and fewer HR staffs are used just for clerical work. Differences between the operational and strategic roles exist in a number of HR areas. The strategic HR role means that HR professionals are proactive in addressing business realities and focusing on fiiture business needs, such as strategic planning, compensation strategies, the performance of HR and measuring its results. However, in some organizations, HR often does not play a key role in formulating the strategies for the organization as a whole; instead it merely carries them out through HR activities.
Many executives, managers, and HR professionals are increasingly seeing the need for HR management to become a greater strategic contributor to the business success of organizations. HR should be responsible for knowing what the true cost of human capital is for an employer.

For example, it may cost two times key employees’ annual salaries to replace them if they leave. Turnover can be controlled though HR activities, and if it is successful in saving the company money with good retention and talent management strategies, those may be important contributions to the bottom line of organizational performance.

The role of HR as a strategic business partner is often described as “having a seat at the table,” and contributing to the strategic directions and success of the organization. That means HR is involved in devising strategy in addition of implementing strategy. Part of HR’s contribution is to have financial expertise and to produce financial results, not just to boost employee morale or administrative efficiencies. Therefore, a significant concern for chief financial officers (CFOs) is whether HR executives are equipped to help them to plan and meet financial requirements.

The role of HR shifted from a facilitator to a functional peer with competencies in other functions and is acknowledged as an equal partner by others. The HR is motivated to contribute to organizational objectives of profitability and customer satisfaction and is seen as a vehicle for realization of quality development. The department has a responsibility for monitoring employee satisfaction, since it is seen as substitute to customer satisfaction.

According to McKinsey’s 7-S framework model HR plays the role of a catalyst for the organization. According to this framework, effective organizational change is a complex relationship between seven S’s.

HRM is a total matching process between the three Hard S (Strategy, Structure and Systems) and the four Soft S (Style, Staff, Skills and Super-ordinate Goals). Clearly, all the S’s have to complement each other and have to be aligned towards a single corporate vision for the organization to be effective. It has to be realized that most of the S’s are determined directly or indirectly by the way Human Resources are managed and therefore, HRM must be a part of the total business strategy.


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