The success of any business relies heavily on its people, so you’d expect HR to be high on the agenda but unfortunately, it’s often overlooked and underrated. Many businesses, large and small, view HR as a costly overhead that they can afford to minimise. The Coronavirus Pandemic has hit the business industry hard and with many companies struggling to stay afloat, it is natural to look at deprioritising spend in certain departments. However, HR should be the last department you turn to as, now more than ever, you need a motivated and productive workforce who are engaged and willing to respond to business changes.
Is HR Really Necessary?
The short answer is yes!
You’d be forgiven for thinking that HR is an outdated department in the modern workplace. After all, the term ‘Human Resources’ isn’t exactly very trendy, new or exciting. Being considered a ‘resource’ is in fact, not very human at all. Innovative, new terms have begun cropping up in recent years including Talent Management, People Experience and Employee Engagement which more accurately describe the role it plays today.
To understand the value of HR, we must first consider what happens when there is little or no HR in a company. Poor recruitment and employee engagement are toxic to a business. One bad apple, who does not fit the company culture, can create a less functional team. Inappropriate comments are shared, walls go up and ultimately, information and ideas stop flowing. Additionally, when employees don’t feel supported, are working long hours, feel under-skilled and undervalued then their motivation falters and workplace productivity takes a massive hit.
HR should be at the top of any organisation helping to build company culture, protect its values and ensure everybody is focused on the vision.
HR is not a ‘nice to have’, it is a ‘must have’ if you want your business to succeed.
How HR Adds Value to Businesses
- Recruitment and retention
Recruitment and retention are still at the core of HR. Every business needs experienced staff with the right qualities to succeed in the team. The HR department are responsible for ensuring the right candidates are selected who will be an asset to both the team and the overall company vision. A good reputation as an employer attracts talented applicants, who in turn look after your business and customers
So, your HR team has secured great staff, does that mean you no longer need them? Hiring the right people is just the first step in the process, your company must now look to retaining them. A report conducted by Breathe HR in 2020 found 1 in 5 (21%) of British workers have quit a job due to poor workplace culture.
It is also the duty of HR to monitor staff conduct and ensure any unacceptable or disruptive behaviours are dealt with appropriately and efficiently to avoid damaging company culture.
- Training & development
Even the most skilled staff will require some form of training or development during their time with a business. Employees who develop and learn new skills benefit from increased confidence, improved career opportunities and tend to engage more with the business. A good training and development programme decreases employee turnover, creates a more positive working environment and increases productivity. The same report by Breathe HR found that 30% of workers cited a lack of progression as a cause of unhappiness at work.
- Staff satisfaction & workplace culture
Underestimating the importance of employee satisfaction when it comes to business success is a huge mistake. As Victoria Usher, Founder & CEO of GingerMay points out ‘happy employees make happy clients.’. People are starting to value their lifestyle as much as their salary. The younger generation, in particular, seek a better work/life balance than previous generations.
HR plays a key role in creating, defining and implementing company culture. Steps to improve company culture might include an employee wellbeing programme, flexible working opportunities, a chance to feedback and engage as well as a nice working environment and social events. Less emphasis needs to be put on yearly appraisals which cause stress and have little benefit, and more focus put on regular, positive feedback and celebration of achievements.
2020 has proved that supporting our staff and responding flexibly to their personal needs has a huge role to play in business success. Our employees suddenly had to adapt to a completely new way of working with added life stresses such as a lack of work space or childcare needs.
- Increased productivity
Productivity is one of the primary driving forces behind business success, yet, the UK has witnessed a sustained period of poor productivity growth for many years now.
HR has an integral role to play in supporting and improving productivity. Staff who are happy at work pay more attention to their role, whether that’s being more attentive to a customer’s needs or producing products faster to a higher standard. Hiring the right staff, offering training, improving workplace culture and supporting staff all result in an increase of productivity.
- Company Growth & Vision
You have a business and perhaps you have a plan, but does everyone in the company understand how their role contributes to the end goal? HR needs to be at the top of the organisation protecting company values and communicating and ensuring the company vision is clear.
In summary, there are many ways HR can add value to your business from good recruitment to employee satisfaction. Now, more than ever, HR is not a luxury but an essential component of any successful business.