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By Natalie Lomas

HR. Often viewed by many as ‘necessary evil’ in a company. Someone who is there to do the hiring and firing, forces senior managers into completing pages of paperwork before anything can be done and finds ways to wrap everything up in reams of red tape.

But to hold such a view, devalues the important role that HR needs to play. Today’s HR professional is commercially minded and focused upon achieving business objectives, and can make a significant contribution towards a company’s growth and success.

People. Every company needs to have not only the right number of people but must have a workforce which is made up of employees at the right levels who bring the relevant skills and attributes to their roles. Ensuring the correct status quo is maintained requires continuous monitoring and review to address the current and future requirements of the business.

Improving talent. A robust review and appraisal process allows senior managers to engage, enthuse and motivate the employees that they are responsible for. Linking personal performance ambitions to a company’s business objectives is fundamental and not only does there need to be an effective system in place, but those undertaking the reviews need guidance and support to ensure that they are able to develop their teams and manage performance.

Staff engagement. HR is a key facilitator of measuring staff satisfaction – from dealing with day-to- day employee issues to ensuring that the right working conditions are in place to encourage excellent levels of performance.

Pay and benefits.  Benchmarking pay levels across all positions is essential, not only when it comes to recruiting new members of staff but also to ensure that current employees are being adequately rewarded to support retention of key talent. HR can also identify innovative ways to improve benefits and to recognise and reward performance outside of ‘normal’ pay and bonus packages.

Succession planning. A surprising number of companies have little or no formal plans in place to deal with what would happen should a key member of staff depart. HR can play a vital role in identifying ‘future leaders’ within an organisation and implementing development programmes which will prepare the next tranche coming through. They will also provide solutions to unexpected staff absences or departures, such as long term illnesses.

Legislation. Keeping abreast of the latest employment legislation and how that will affect the organisation is one of the primary roles of a HR professional. As well as providing strategic counsel on how a business will affected, an HR advisor will have strong relationships with employment law specialists should legal expertise be required.

Company policies. HR will ensure that not only does a company have the right policies in place, but these are continuously reviewed and updated. They will also be responsible for the communication of the company’s policies to all employees so that the interests of both staff and employer are safe guarded.

Communication. Having good internal communications channel will form a key function of the role of an HR professional and will make a key contribution to achieving staff engagement, developing understanding of business objectives and what part each individual has to play in meeting those goals.

Recruitment. Bringing in new members of staff can be an extremely time consuming exercise. HR will work strategically with senior managers to identify what sort of person is needed for a particular role, scope out a detailed job description and oversee the whole process including advertising, interviewing, making an offer, ensuring that the right paperwork is in place, staff induction and probationary reviews.

Sharp Consultancy specialises in the recruitment of HR professionals.  With offices in Leeds, Sheffield, Doncaster and Manchester our highly experienced team of consultants recruit for temporary, interim and permanent roles across the full spectrum of positions throughout Yorkshire and the North West.


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