Human Resources Essay

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Abstract

A company’s most valuable asset is its people. Human resources refer to the people who comprise the organization. The practice of human resource management includes employee recruitment, hiring practices, employee development and retention, discipline, motivation, and to a degree, organizational culture and socialization. Human resource management also involves job or role definitions and clarifying hierarchies and relationships within an organizational structure. Ethical codes and codes of behavior may also be covered under the rubric of human resources management. Human resources departments often operate independently but in conjunction with other departments to create a cohesive strategy for management and organizational structure. Training for human resources management can vary, and often little more than a Bachelor’s degree is required in terms of formal education. Human resources managers need interpersonal skills more than anything, but also benefit from strategic planning and general leadership skills. Job outlook and growth for the field looks promising, as human resources managers contribute tremendously to their organizations.

Introduction

Human resources refers to a company’s most valuable assets: its workforce. The people that comprise the organization are many times more valuable than the financial resources the company manages. Therefore, human resources has emerged as a distinct area of specialization in business and management. Human resources is a multidisciplinary area, in which disparate fields like psychology, communications, management, budgeting, and strategic planning all converge. 

Human resources managers may work in small, medium, or large firms. Their roles and duties change regularly in response to the needs of the company, its budget for human resources, and its rate of growth. Human resources managers remain in charge of hiring and firing employees, retaining and training personnel, writing and managing job descriptions or titles, structuring departments in the organization, and disciplining employees who violate ethical codes or codes of behavior.

Job outlook for human resources professionals is strong, with nine percent growth predicted until at least 2026 (United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). Moreover, median salary for human resources managers is well over $100,000, making it a viable profession especially considering the relatively low cost outputs required for training and education (United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). Human resources managers do not require more higher education than a Bachelor’s degree even though an advanced degree might confer greater responsibilities and even higher rates of pay. 

What Is Human Resources?

Human resources has expanded its function to encompass multiple functions related to personnel or human capital. One of the primary functions of human resources departments include working within the company’s budget to establish compensation packages for employees, including benefits. Another is to collaborate with department managers and senior executives on organizational structure, to account for the opening of new roles or positions and the formal definitions of job titles.  A human resources manager can, for example, work with a department head to create a new position and then recruit possible employees to fill that position. The human resources department also works hard to present the organization in a positive light, thereby fulfilling public relations duties as well (“Careers in Human Resource Management,” n.d.). In other words, the human resources manager is responsible for attracting and retaining top talent.

In addition to recruiting new personnel, the human resources department also covers the training and development of new and veteran employees. Within budget and aligned with the values and needs of the company, the human resources manager comes up with evidence-based and strategic interventions to promote employee development and training. The human resources manager may also help individual employees map their career trajectory so that they can maximize their contributions to the organization.
A human resources manager addresses issues that might impede employee workplace satisfaction. Similarly, the human resources professional remains responsible for resolving interpersonal conflicts and fielding feedback from employees too. Problems like workplace harassment and violence will also become issues a human resources manager may need to tackle, yet without compromising employee confidentiality and privacy (Heathfield, 2019). Therefore, human resources management involves a complex set of skills and responsibilities.

Human Resources Responsibilities

The responsibilities of a human resources professional will include filling open positions with the most qualified or suitable individuals, retaining employees using methods like conflict resolution, salary negotiation, or offering additional benefits such as a work-from-home option or paternity leave. Employee training programs are also part of the core responsibilities of human resources. The human resources department investigates the most cost-effective means of training employees from each department to hone their skills or advance professionally. In some situations, the human resources department also offers employees opportunities to hear lectures or to attend seminars and workshops. Interventions scheduled by human resources departments could also include training for cultural sensitivity or diversity awareness. 

While…

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…or any other element that contributes to workplace toxicity. In some situations, the toxic work environment could literally refer to the environment itself: the aesthetics, layout, or ergonomics of the workplace setting. Even when a company complies with state and federal laws related to environmental safety, discrimination, and violence, it is possible that the organizational culture tacitly condones marginally acceptable behavior or covers up for persons in positions of power who violate ethical codes. A human resources manager may be in a position to mediate between senior managers with different viewpoints on the issue.

Employee satisfaction and wellbeing are subjective factors that nevertheless contribute tremendously to satisfaction but also to the reputation of the company as a desirable place to work. Therefore, human resources departments concern themselves with promoting employee satisfaction and wellbeing by offering incentives for maintaining a work-life balance, creating an enjoyable workplace environment by offering options like healthy eating, yoga rooms, or the chance to work from home. The human resources department may work with individual employees on what they need to remain in their position and committed to the company, and may also work with departmental managers to advise them on what they can do to change the culture or workflow. Similar to promoting employee satisfaction and well being, the human resources manager faces issues linked to healthcare benefits. Companies that go beyond their legal obligations to provide for employees may attract top talent easier than those who offer minimal benefits to applicants. 

Cultural competency is also a pressing issue in human resources. When companies expand globally, they may find themselves in charge of workforces that have entirely different norms of behavior and communication. Human resources professionals need to understand the value of cultural competency, training managers to become more culturally aware and ensuring that employees also remain sensitive to diversity. 

Conclusion

A promising field, human resources refers to the management of a company’s most valuable asset: its people. Recruiting, retaining, and developing top talent promotes the goals of the company and also saves the company money. Human resources professionals help individual employees reach their personal goals, while helping the company reach its strategic objectives.
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References

“Careers in Human Resource Management,” (n.d.). SHRM. https://www.shrm.org/membership/student-resources/pages/careersinhrm.aspx

Heathfield, S.M. (2019). What you need to know to begin your career in HR. The Balance Careers. Jan 12, 2019. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/so-you-think-you-want-a-career-in-human-resources-1918365

“Human Resource Management,” (n.d.). Inc. https://www.inc.com/aflac/attracting-americas-top-female-talent.html

United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019). Human resources managers. Occupational Outlook Handbook. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm

“What Are the Most Pressing Human Resources Issues in 2018?” Human Resources MBA. https://www.humanresourcesmba.net/faq/what-are-the-most-pressing-human-resources-issues-in-2018
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