Office Manager and PA to the Managing Director, Marie-Louise, explains her thoughts on why HR is important in the office
I know what you are thinking, the office is a far cry from a Disney film based on a magical, Victorian Nanny but stay with me on this one…
Since joining Enterprise Sales Personnel Ltd as the Office Manager in 2014, my role has encompassed many different factions – recently branching into the mystical realm of Human Resources. Whilst this area of business is of interest to me, I have become very aware that HR appears to have a bit of a ‘reputation’ within the business world.
In contrast to my excitement of branching into HR it appeared that my peers were less enthusiastic about this department of the business. As a lively and young office, the sheer mention of HR is usually greeted with a groan and a bored facial expression. It’s ok, I’m not judging. I understand that to the busy recruiters in the office it can appear tedious and unnecessary but ironically without HR their job simply couldn’t exist.
Human Resources is defined as “the division of a company that is focused on activities relating to employees. These activities normally include recruiting and hiring of new employees, orientation and training of current employees, employee benefits, and retention…” (www.business.dictionary.com) Therefore in order for a business to function effectively HR, by definition, is a compulsory feature of every business.
Whilst I am fresh-faced to the HR world and am working alongside qualified and experienced professionals, I am quickly becoming aware that the value of HR is often overlooked. Employees and business owners alike are sometimes guilty of adopting a ‘not necessary until I need it’ approach but in reality the HR department should be on the agenda for every business, large or small. After all, keeping your staff happy and obeying business laws and legislation will only ever result in a productive workforce.
Not sure how to improve your HR? Here are 5 HR top tips for small-to-medium sized businesses;
1.Consider how you hire
In any organisation, hiring the right people is essential. This is particularly pertinent for small/ medium sized businesses. Whilst who you hire is important so is how you hire. Guarantee that your hiring process runs smoothly by ensuring you have a detailed and accurate job description/ specification and that the interviewing process is not too drawn out for the candidates. Consider who in the organisation is involved in the recruitment and interviewing process. This investment of time will save you money longer term by reducing high staff turnover rates.
2. Create a positive and inclusive culture
The saying goes that ‘a business is only as good as the people who work for it’. A proficient hiring process will result in outstanding staff but as it is essential that your business is seen as THE place to work. Avoid disputes and grievances by establishing a company culture that is one of positivity, respect and inclusion. The happier and valued your staff feel, the more productive they will be and the less likely they are to leave.
3. Ensure you have an up-to-date Employee Handbook
Whilst this is nobody’s favourite office document, the Employee Handbook is an essential tool for all employers and employees. This handbook should be accessible to all employees, include company policies and procedures and be u
pdated to include any changes in employment laws and/or legislation. Employees should be encouraged to see this as a ‘go-to’ document regarding questions such as sickness, annual leave, hours of work etc.…
4. Know the Law!
Don’t panic! I don’t mean you need to be a lawyer but there are basic, yet important, employment laws you should automatically know. HR professionals are well versed in employment law and changes to legislation but there are a variety of resources that you can use to keep yourself abreast of the law. Sign up for newsletters from HR websites, join HR forums and keep an eye on the business and political news.
5. If in doubt, ask!
Let’s face it, even to interested parties such as myself, Human Resources can be a complete minefield. If you do not have a dedicated HR specialist within your business team, then don’t be afraid to consult a professional. Many small/ medium sized businesses outsource their HR to dedicated companies that work on your behalf. This allows you to benefit from expertise without needing to fill a specific HR role within the office.
Despite the apparent stigma related to HR I am still excited to be entering this phase of my career here at ESP. Like anything business related there will be aspects that you love and those that you hate. So to those of you out there that love to hate HR I say… Like sweetening that nasty medicine to help it go down, a spoonful of HR helps the office go round!
Omega HR Solutions – www.omegahrsolutions.com
Society for Human Resource Management www.shrm.org