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The Role of Human Resources vs Management

When it comes to the role of Human Resources versus the role of managers, there is often a lot of confusion about who does what and what this looks like. In fact, many would say that they don’t really have a good understanding of what HR actually do. HR is an important function within any business, whether it is in-house or as an outsourced function. Managers also play an important role within an organisation and due to the fact that managers obviously take an active role in the activities of their team, the line can become blurred when it comes to the responsibilities of each function.

It is important for these roles to be defined, both within a business and also when HR functions are outsourced to HR Consultancies. The roles can vary slightly within different organisations, but there are some general rules which can help managers and HR become more familiar with what is expected of them. HR and managers work closely together but have different responsibilities when it comes to dealing with the day to day functions of the business.

Recruitment

Whether there is an in-house HR department or outsourced HR consultancy, the recruitment cycle would generally be dealt with by HR, with some input from management. Managers would make the decisions on what resources they need and when, with the director usually being responsible for approving these. HR would be on board to deal with the job description, advert, media selection, applications, responding to candidates and shortlisting.

Many companies organise recruitment days or events to attract candidates and this would be the responsibility of HR to arrange. Managers would be highly involved in the actual process of selection, with HR co-ordinating and acting in a supporting role. In some companies, the managers would prefer to do the shortlisting or at least make the final decision on who to interview. Managers are usually involved with HR for interviews and the two would work closely together throughout the recruitment process. The final decision would be made by the manager, as they will be working directly with the new recruit. However, they will usually look to HR for advice. Negotiations in terms of salaries would usually be carried out by HR, with input from managers and HR would deal with the offer process and on-boarding. Again, with input from management.

Performance Management

HR would identify training needs for staff and develop a plan for performance management. It would be the responsibility of the manager to carry out regular appraisals and chat with employees on a one to one basis. Managers would work together with HR to ensure any issues with performance are dealt with. Informal chats about performance would be dealt with by managers, whereas formal discussions, such as disciplinaries, would be deal with by HR. Managers may also deal initially with grievances, but would work together with HR to come to an agreement on these. Employees would go to their managers first with any queries they may have in relation to performance management and HR would take over if they weren’t able to resolve it.

Administration

With the management of employees, comes a lot of administration and there is often confusion as far as this goes. For instance, whose responsibility it is to update holidays and absence. It makes sense for management to deal with holidays, as they have better insight into their resources and what suits the function of the department. HR would usually be responsible for ensuring that employee’s don’t go over their allowance and would also deal with updating sickness records. This is due to the fact that HR need to keep track of sickness levels for everyone in the business. Small businesses who do not have an HR function may need to undertake all of the administration themselves, it would really depend a lot on resources.

Compensation

The HR function is responsible for payroll and in some cases, businesses may choose to outsource this function. HR would also monitor salaries and ensure they are in line with competitors and that bonuses and increments are paid when they should be. HR deal with pensions and keep on top of changes in the law which require alterations to contracts, including flexible working. Managers would not be responsible for any of this, although they will often work together with HR on queries from employees on these issues.

Guidance/Advice

Ultimately, HR are there to offer guidance and advice to managers. HR is a support function and are expected to be able to answer questions relating to the employment law and to steer managers in the right direction and keep them on the straight and narrow. They should ensure employees are always treated fairly and quite often, this will mean advising managers on how to handle certain situations.

Managers shouldn’t be expected to keep up to date with the employment law and be aware of exactly how to deal with commonly HR processes, such as grievances and disciplinaries. This is the role of HR and to ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are adhered to. HR should be flexible to help managers carry out interviews when necessary, or any other activities where they may need some assistance.

Strategies

In larger organisations, HR are responsible for developing strategies which will transform the business. They may do this together with the support of management. Smaller organisations may not need this kind of support from HR, as it probably would not be a priority and it is unlikely that they would have the resources available. However, they may use outsourced HR services to help develop strategies which will benefit the business. This can happen for all kinds of reasons, including cost reduction and talent acquisition. HR Consultants often have the expertise and knowledge on developing strategies which can help improve the business, but they would do this alongside management. HR can help with change management processes, in order to ensure good employee relations are still maintained as a priority.

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