Human Resources Professionals: The Unsung Heroes of the Workplace

It may or may not be obvious, but Human Resources professionals play one of the most critical roles in the modern-day workplace. Considering the shift in technology in recent years, that has all but taken over our lives and our offices. However, along with that technology, often comes a lack of, well, humanity. Of course, technology is essential to most of the work we do - there’s no denying that. At the end of the day, humans are at the center of what we do. Now, more than ever, HR professionals are absolutely essential!

Human Resources isn’t normally considered such a critical piece of a company's success, but it’s about time that changes. There is a lot that HR does behind the scenes that isn’t as obvious. As Matt Straz, CEO and founder of Namely, stated, “Without (HR), businesses wouldn’t have dedicated teams of talented people, and without people, there is no business.” Aside from the obvious and expected tasks of interviewing, hiring, or firing employees, and being in charge of employee benefits, there’s a lot you don’t see that HR is doing without recognition.

Human Resources Professionals Retain & Engage Employees

As if the above responsibilities weren’t already enough to keep HR professionals busy, they also have the difficult task of keeping all employees in a workplace engaged and retained. Not only do they have to interview candidates, but they also need to make sure they are hiring the right candidate. This saves the organization time and money by keeping the right employees on board rather than replacing employees who might not be the right fit. 

It is no secret that it’s far more expensive to hire a new employee than it is to make sure you train and retain an employee. A 2016 study by the Society for Human Resource Management shared that the average cost per employee hire is $4,129, and the average time it takes to fill a given position is 42 days. One of HR professionals' main responsibilities is to make sure their employees are properly trained rather than having to constantly replace new team members and get them adequately trained in the meantime.

Human Resources keeps the human aspect at the center of the workplace. A well-trained HR professional has the soft skills to connect with and understand their team members. They maintain an open-door policy so that employees feel safe and confident coming to them with any issues or concerns they may face in their position. They exemplify all the qualities of servant leaders: they are empathetic, good listeners, and they have integrity in both their jobs and their daily lives. 

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HR Keeps Employees Happy

Not only do HR professionals take the responsibility of keeping employees engaged and retaining top talent, but they also have a stake in the overall happiness of their employees. Happy employees are less likely to leave their place of employment. Not only that, happy employees create positive work environments, and positive work environments have positive customer experiences. 

As Forbes shared in a recent article, engaged and happy employees are likely to have better customer relationships, resulting in a 20% increase in sales. Additionally, 6Q, a company that focuses on employee productivity and engagement, shared that companies with happy employees show 147% higher earnings per share than their competitors. Conversely, unhappy employees have been shown to do some real damage to a company, costing about $390,000 annually per 100 unhappy and disengaged employees. That’s a lot for Human Resources to keep on their shoulders.

If you’re an HR professional who is looking for some tips on keeping employees happy and engaged, check out these three tips for increasing employee engagement and five engagement strategies that drive results.

HR Keeps the “Human” in Human Resources

As we stated before, it’s important to keep humanity in the workplace when it comes to Human Resources. Technology has replaced much of the humanization aspect of HR in today’s world. With email, telephone, and even text messaging playing such a large part in hiring processes and even benefits enrollment, it’s critical to not lose what makes HR special. Frankly, HR has one of the most critical roles in the workplace, since employees are truly your greatest asset, and your Human Resources supervisor (or team of professionals) is responsible for bringing those people in and retaining them. Talk about pressure!

“As an HR professional, you just can’t be a manager advocate, shareholder advocate, or company advocate to the detriment of the employee. The employee is the spirit and soul of the company. -- Susan J. Schmitt, senior vice president of HR, Rockwell Automation

Our friend John Eades sat down with us for a podcast interview and explained that you need an advocate in organizations constantly talking about the human element at work in the workplace. So, how is it possible for HR to implement this? Great HR professionals remember that their employees are individuals. They are unique humans with feelings, thoughts, beliefs, struggles, joys, and everything in between! Keeping this in mind is one of the most critical roles of Human Resources. When team members come in to talk to their HR manager/supervisor, a positive attitude, empathy, and a listening ear go a long way. This is really what we think makes HR so special!

Ensure Your HR Professionals are Trained

Your HR leaders can’t perform their best and train and retain team members if they don’t have the skills, knowledge, and know-how to do so. Whether they are struggling with motivating remote team members, need assistance maintaining employee engagement, or just need a refresher on workplace bullying or diversity and inclusion, you don’t have to stress about how you’re going to help them get to where they need to be. 

A Better Leader has decades of experience helping you empower your leaders to connect with their workforce, and that includes your HR professionals. With a focus on employee engagement and retention, you can feel confident trusting that your leadership team can motivate and empower their teams, and that your Human Resources leader(s) can comfortably shoulder the responsibilities delegated to them. We’d love to help you with all of your leadership training needs!

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About the Author Jennifer Orechwa

With over 25 years in the industry, and now as IRI's Director of Business Development, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of engagement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.

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