What is HR?

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What is HR?

I recently attended an afternoon networking group at #TheDoyleClub in St. Pauls, London. I do like this group – firstly, they meet in a bar, which is great, but more importantly, there are many friendly people there. I spoke to a number of people, as you do, and it always fascinates me how many business people do not know what HR is.

Here's an example. I walk up to this friendly looking gentleman and offer my hand as a point of introduction. "How are you, my name is Kelly, and you are?" "James" he says. "Nice to meet you," I say, "what do you do?" James replies, "I am an Architect." "Oh cool," I say, "I would love to be creative." James then proceeds to ask me what I do, "Oh I am a HR Consultant." "Oh great" he says, "so you recruit people." "Ermm, sometimes but to be honest, I tend to get more involved with everything after someone has been recruited... ...blah blah blah"...on I go.

So after we have spoken for sometime, another gentlemen (Ron) joins our conversation and asks me what I do for a living... "I am a HR Consultant" I inform him. "Oh right, so you fire people." "...Ermmm, well sometimes, if that is the needs of the business but I do so much more than that," ...and on I go.

Now, this isn't the first time I have come across these two extremes as a business person's understanding of what HR actually is, therefore, I feel, it is my duty to educate the business world on what HR is and how the various areas of HR can add value to an organisation, what ever its size.

So my question is...what is HR?...

I gave a presentation yesterday, I prepared thoroughly, as you do, trying to shrink my 2 hour Workshop into 20 minutes. Anyway, it turns out I had 5 minutes....5 minutes!! To talk about HR? Seriously? So I stood up with my reams of paper and asked the audience, the same question, What is HR?

One answered, 'making sure you follow policy'. 'To look after employees' another added. The rest of the answers were along similar lines.

I then proceeded to read out the following:

  • HR Management is the organisational function that deals with or provides leadership advice for dealing with all issues related to people in an organisation.
  • HR Management enables employees to contribute effectively and productively to the overall company direction and the accomplishment of the organisations goals and objectives.

And then I added the following:

  • Compensation
  • Resourcing
  • Performance Management
  • Organisation Development
  • Safety
  • Wellness
  • Benefits
  • Employee Motivation
  • Communication
  • Administration
  • Training
  • Workplace Culture &ano; Environment
  • People Strategy
  • Change Management
  • Coaching & Mentoring
  • Metrics & Measurement
  • Talent Management
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Management Information

People were looking at me quite blankly as I read all of this out and given that I only had 2 minutes left, there was no way I was going to be able to explain myself, thats for sure. However, this list is the contribution HR provides to companies of all sizes, whether it employs just one person or a thousand. Admittedly, not all of it will be relevant in great detail if there is just a couple of employees but they are all applicable in one form or another.

A good discussion followed on from this and I never did get to finish my presentation. I did advise that I could go on for another hour but for some reason I wasn't allowed! I will however be holding a FREE, yes a FREE workshop for those who would like to know more and will continue to blog on this subject to continue with this education.

So now you know...

About the Author

Having worked within HR Management for 19 years, in 2013 Kelly wanted to make better use of her skills and knowledge by adding value within the SME arena. Kelly believes that whilst people management and the resulting transactional tasks are an essential part of any business, they can be time consuming and unrewarding, so another passion of hers is to release this burden from smaller businesses and allow them to get on with their passion – their business!
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