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Do we really need HR?


“Do we really need a dedicated Human Resources department or HR staff?” is a common question every small organization asks at some point in its growth path. Because several business requirements and compliance topics affect organizations of 50 or more employees, the question becomes more important as a small organization nears this critical population mass. At the same time, HR practices affect how well people work – with each other, and within the organization itself. Policies and procedures that affect employees have a direct and profound impact on how productive, happy and loyal employees are in their organizations.

While there are no laws or rules requiring an organization to have an HR department or dedicated HR staff, best practices suggest having HR services at a minimum. Even with dedicated HR staff, third-party HR services can be valuable; certainly having no one focused on the Human Resource needs of the organization is never good!

The history of Human Resources emerging from “personnel management,” which was largely an administrative function, to “talent management,” which tends to be a more employee-centric approach, has the HR field better positioned to add value to its organization. The employee-centric approach of talent management is interested in the lifespan of an employee from pre-recruitment to post-retirement. This significant expansion of what HR is led to the creation of several professions and many specializations in the field of employee development, administration, compliance and regulation, benefits, employee relations… and the list goes on.

Human Resource services may be categorized and structured in many ways. To simplify the broad and deep category of Human Resources, consider the following two categories to guide your organization towards effective HR functions:

1. Expert / Resource Consultants:

Expert / Resource Consultants specialize in benchmarking, data analysis and other data and statistical work. The approach is usually data-driven, metrics-based, and may or may not consider the human dynamic of the situations. Thought to be critical in any significant analysis work and seldom ever used alone in HR work, data-driven results are gaining popularity with most organizations today.

2. Process / People Consultants are primarily concerned with people, process, best practices, tool and asset development, and support. This is the category that most leaders associate with the culture and people of an organization. While data and analysis is of course a part of this approach, it is not the primary focus. Developing and delivering processes and practices that people are asked to work with is the focus.

Emergent HR Strategic Partnering services are based in the Process / People Consultant category. Although we have several data and analytical tools to utilize and employ, as Certified Professional Coaches and Leadership Development Specialists, we approach HR from the “H-side” – the human side – first and foremost. Your organization will benefit from this approach by increasing employee engagement and satisfaction, and reducing both costly turnover and unnecessary re-recruitment efforts.

Your employees are your organization. The answer to the “Do we need HR” question should be a resounding “Yes.”

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