Learning the Ropes: Human Resource Management Basics for Beginners

Posted On February 12, 2014

You answer the phones, handle employee complaints, and do the payroll now, so why do you need an HR person? Aren’t they a major drag on the company? They only collect a paycheck but they never actually contribute anything measurable to the company, right? Not so fast. Human resources jobs are a lot harder than they sound.

HR personnel aren’t necessarily a drain on the company. They do plenty to earn their keep. For starters, they handle the bulk of your company’s paperwork. Even if you have a mostly paperless company, they fill in with computer work that you either don’t want to do or don’t know how to do.

In the past, “HR” has been almost synonymous with a “black box.” No one really knows what their job description is. Executives know that they handle payroll, benefits, and they may even answer phone calls for other people in the company, but what is it that these people do that’s so important?

In a word: liaison. HR staff are the connection between executive management and rank-and-file employees. They hold a lot of power, often responsible for bookkeeping, allocation of funds for hiring and training new personnel, and payroll and benefit administration.

Hire Culture

Before you go out and hire just anyone, it’s important that think about what you’re really getting with an HR person. Companies like K Alliance are capable of training your new employee, and it’s not that an employee can’t grow into a job, but it’s almost always better to have an employee that comes equipped with the right sense of what your company’s culture is.

Ultimately, your company exists to make money by selling values to the marketplace. But to get products to the marketplace, your company needs a certain kind of culture. For example, consider a company like Zappos.

The company has a very laid-back attitude when it comes to work environment. However, it has a very serious attitude when it comes to customer service. It’s known for one thing: doing whatever it takes to please the customer.

What is your company’s culture like? Do you, like Google, encourage employees to spend a significant portion of their day coming up with cool ideas that could push your company forward in new and unexpected ways? Do you have a culture that’s moved by data, like Amazon.com? Or do you have a company that fosters creativity, like Apple? Or do you have an entirely different company culture?

Hire Quality, Not Quantity

A lot of companies hire out the cheapest labor they can find. it’s not that they want bad employees, they’re just focused a little too much on cost-cutting. This is a bad practice that most managers can’t shake, but need to.
Remember that HR staff handle sensitive company data. Hire the best you can afford. Think long-term. It might initially be a drain on the company, but it’ll pay dividends eventually. Plus, in some industries, the ROI on a well-trained HR department is immediate and significant.

Anthony Buckley, this week’s guest blogger, is a veteran HR manager. He enjoys blogging about the challenges and triumphs he has faced.

Categories: Training Industry, Work