Role of Human Resource Practitioner in an Organization.


Role of Human Resource Practitioner in an Organization.

This section is concerned with what HR professionals do and how they do it, recognizes that ‘HRM does not belong to HR specialists’. HRM belongs to line managers and the people they manage. The section analyses the basic roles and activities of HR professionals. However, in playing their role, HR practitioner are affected by issues such as; achieving comprise in  gaining support and commitment, role ambiguity, role conflict, ethics, and professionalism.

The roles of HR practitioners vary widely according to the extent to which they are generalist (e.g., HR director or HR manager), or specialist (e.g., head of learning and development, head of talent management, or head of reward), the level at which they work (strategic, executive or administrative), the needs of the organization, the context within which they work and their own capabilities.

The role of human resource practitioner in an organization

The roles can be proactive, reactive or a mixture of both. At a strategic level, HR people take on a proactive role since they are to be involved in strategic decision-making processes and are most likely to be found in workplaces within which sophisticated methods and techniques have been adopted. As such, they act as business partners, develop integrated HR strategies, intervene, innovate, and operate as internal consultants and volunteer guidance on matters concerning upholding core values, ethical principles and the achievement of consistency. They focus on business issues and working with line managers to deliver performance targets. In some situations they play a mainly reactive role. They spend much of their time doing what they are told or asked to do. They provide the administrative systems required by management. This is what is referred to as the non-interventionary role, in which HR people merely provide a service to meet the demands of management and front-line managers. The various roles are described in more detail below.

a)Service provision

The basic role of HR specialists is that of providing services to internal customers. These include management, line managers, team leaders and employees. The services may be general, covering all aspects of HRM: human resource planning, recruitment and selection, employee development, employee reward, employee relations, health and safety management and welfare. Alternatively, services may only be provided in one or two of these areas by specialists. The focus may be on the requirements of management (e.g., resourcing), or it may extend to all employees (e.g., health and safety). The aims are to provide effective services that meet the needs of the business, its management and its employees and to administer them efficiently.

b) Guidance and advice

HR practitioners provide guidance and advice to management. At the highest level, this will include recommendations on HR strategies that have been developed by processes of analysis and diagnosis to address strategic issues arising from business needs and human, organizational or environmental factors.

They also provide advice on issues concerning culture change and approaches to the improvement of process capability – the ability of the organization to get things done through people. Guidance is given to managers to ensure that consistent decisions are made on such matters as performance ratings, pay increases and disciplinary actions. Guidance may be provided on HR policies and procedures and the implications of employment legislation to ensure that legal requirements are met.

c)The business partner role

HR practitioners as business partners share responsibility with their line management colleagues for the success of the enterprise and get involved with them in running the business. They must have the capacity to identify business opportunities, to see the broad picture and to understand how their HR role can help to achieve the company’s business objectives.

HR professionals integrate their activities closely with management and ensure that they serve a long-term strategic purpose. This is one of the key roles assigned to HR by Ulrich (1998), who stated that HR should become a partner with senior and line managers in strategy execution and that HR executives should impel and guide serious discussion of how the company should be organized to carry out its strategy.

d)The strategist role

As strategists, HR professionals address major long-term organizational issues concerning the management and development of people and the employment relationship. They are guided by the business plans of the organization but they also contribute to the formulation of those business plans. This is achieved by ensuring that top managers focus on the human resource implications of the plans. HR strategists persuade top managers that they must develop business strategies that make the best use of the core competences of the organization’s human resources. They emphasize, that people are a strategic resource for the achievement of competitive advantage.

e) The innovation and change agent role

In their proactive role, HR practitioners are well placed to observe and analyze what is happening in and to their organizations as it affects the employment of people, and intervene accordingly. Following this analysis, they produce diagnoses that identify opportunities and threats and the causes of problems. They propose innovations in the light of these diagnoses that may be concerned with organizational processes such as interaction between departments and people, teamwork, structural change and the impact of new technology and methods of working, or HR processes such as resourcing, employee development or reward. As innovators they have to be experts in change management.

HR change is categorized in four dimensions: Transformational change – a major change that has a dramatic effect on HR policy and practice across the whole organization, Incremental change – gradual adjustments of HR policy and practices that affect single activities or multiple functions, HR vision – a set of values and beliefs that affirm the legitimacy of the HR function as strategic business partner and HR expertise – the knowledge and skills that define the unique contribution the HR professional can make to effective people management.Across these dimensions, the change agent roles that can be carried out by HR professionals are those of change champions, change adapters, change consultants and change synergists.

  1. f) The internal consultancy role

As internal consultants, HR practitioners function like external management consultants, working alongside their colleagues – their clients – in analyzing problems, diagnosing issues and proposing solutions. They will be involved in the development of HR processes or systems and in process consulting such as organization, team building and objective setting

g)The monitoring role

As monitors of the application of HR policies and procedures and the extent to which the organization’s values relating to people management are upheld, HR practitioners have a delicate, indeed a difficult, role to play. They are not there to ‘police’ what line managers do but it is still necessary to ensure that the policies and procedures are implemented with a reasonable degree of consistency. This role can mean that HR specialists can act as ‘regulators’ who are involved in formulating and monitoring employment rules. The monitoring role is particularly important with regard to employment legislation. HR practitioners have to ensure that policies and procedures comply with the legislation and that they are implemented correctly by line managers.

h)The guardian of values role

HR practitioners may act as the guardians of the organization’s values concerning people. They point out when behaviour conflicts with those values or where proposed actions would be inconsistent with them. In a sense, their roles require them to act as the ‘conscience’ of management – a necessary role but not an easy one to play.

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