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The Evolving Role of HR Professionals

February 3rd, 2012

The field of human resource management came into being exactly as its name suggests: As a body of professionals trained to help companies manage and optimize their human capital. An HR department traditionally polices a workplace, enforces established protocols, and extends the arm of executive influence in order to make sure worker-management relationships are legal, functional, and profitable.

Some parts of this role are inherently bureaucratic, and in a modern world, the nature of bureaucracy is shifting. This shift is taking place across almost every industry sector, and in keeping with these changes, HR managers are gradually taking on new roles and moving away from older ones. So what does the future hold for experienced HR mangers? And what will soon be expected of new recruits to the field?

Policing vs Partnership

Modern human resource managers need to start thinking of themselves not just as regulation-enforcers, but as members of a team, with goals that reflect those of the larger organization. In order to thrive, companies need to internalize regulations and adhere to them both in letter and in spirit. But in order to support this effort, HR mangers need to factor long term business plans and company objectives into their overall mission.

Modern HR managers need to know how a company functions inside and out, so they can make sure human capital is deployed effectively. How team members contribute, and how they’re recruited, trained, coached, rewarded, evaluated and paid all fall under the modern HR manager’s purview. Individual employee success can equate to company success, but only if HR mangers have the deep knowledge and experience necessary to keep track of the big picture.

Referee, Employee Advocate, and Change Driver

HR managers hold more responsibility than ever when it comes to controlling company direction and workplace culture. This can include dispute resolution, contract negotiation, job training, and any other initiatives that help employees gain the skills, motivation, and support they need to move the company forward.

This often means acting as an employee advocate, and it always means acting as a champion of effective communication. Many vital programs that were once handled by other entities now fall to human resource managers. These may include employee assistance programs, career development programs, profit sharing and benefits programs, and strategic planning initiatives.

HR mangers are also drivers of change. Every annual evaluation period calls for an assessment of employee growth and contributions, and each new collection of data means new opportunities to adjust strategies and further optimize productivity. If you’re working to find a valuable place for yourself in the new world of HR, adjusting to a shifting career landscape, or thinking of joining the HR management field, contact a human resources recruitment agency at Merritt Staffing and arrange a consultation with our experts.

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