Ways in which HR supports an organisation

How can HR support a business?

HR plays a key role within a business, and HR practitioners are increasingly being asked to manage the function in line with an organisation’s intended future direction.

On a high level, the HR department is responsible for formulating strategies that focus on recruiting, engaging and retaining employees, as well as overseeing projects that promote company-wide productivity.

HR also has a vital role in building and maintaining an organisation’s culture. A positive culture is no longer a nice to have. It drives employee engagement, job satisfaction and staff retention; ultimately defining business success. HR plays a key role in developing, reinforcing and – where necessary – changing the culture of an organisation.

Pay, performance management, training and development, recruitment and onboarding and reinforcing the values of the business are all essential elements of business culture covered by HR.

Additionally, the HR department may feed into other areas of business strategy more generally, such as planning, processes, knowledge and risk management.

What is HR customer service?

Within an organisation, the HR department will work for the benefit of its ‘customers’ – that is, managers and employees.

Anyone with direct line management responsibility may rely on HR for support from time to time, particularly with more complicated employee relations matters.

Likewise, employees (non-managers) may also contact HR directly, perhaps with issues they are uncomfortable broaching with their line manager, and on occasions where their line manager is unable has been unable to help.

We would term this HR customer service.

What are the 7 HR functions?

The HR profession has a variety of role specialisms within – from numerical and data-driven roles in reward and analytics to development roles in talent and learning and development.

Generally speaking the roles fall into two categories: HR Generalists – those who perform a variety of activities in any aspect of people practice, and essentially have complete accountability for the full employee lifecycle; and Specialists, who provide detailed advice and guidance in their areas of expertise.

The 7 most common HR functions are:

What does HR support do?

The HR department is responsible for managing the employee life cycle (i.e., recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, retaining, etc.), creating and maintaining policies and procedures, providing employee relations support and guidance to the manager, administering employee benefits, etc. Additionally, HR is key in shaping a company’s culture.

Where a business is small and doesn’t need a full-time HR resource internally, HR support can be outsourced to an external provider.

The provider will get to know the business and work with a key contact there to provide HR support as and when required.

Many SMEs, start-ups and charities opt to outsource their HR and this can work very well.

Alternatively, where a business does have an HR person or team in place for the day-to-day generalist stuff, they may opt to engage an HR consultant for any specialist work or projects.