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Human Resource in Today's Workforce
What does a job in Human Resources look like to you? Sitting behind a desk, filing lots of paperwork while simultaneously putting together hiring packets and prepping the next employee safety training?

Most of us tend to view HR professionals as paper jockeys, responsible for keeping track of payroll, time cards, workshops, bonuses and so on. They develop policy, they monitor workers, they perpetuate red tape and protocols like there’s no tomorrow. The truth is today’s HR representative play an increasingly diverse – and increasingly critical – role in the success of an organization.

Here’s a quick look at what today’s modern HR rep looks like and the role that individual plays in the changing workforce:

The Engine Driving Organizational Success: Talent

While capital assets, branding, market share, and other factors weigh heavily into the success of an organization, its human capital – the workforce – is without a doubt the most critical resource in any company.

Consider the fact that a company’s’ annual revenue is an average of 26 percent higher once they formalize employee engagement programs, says Empxtrack. Unfortunately, the majority of businesses have trouble holding on to good talent. According to the same source:

  • 57 percent of organizations say employee retention is a problem, and 25 percent of employees are in a high-retention-risk category
  • 22 percent of new hires leave their jobs within 45 days
  • 46 percent of new hires ultimately fail …
  • … but only 11 percent of them actually lack the skills needed to do the job

Luckily, it’s not all gloom and doom. Empxtrack also points out that new hires are 58 percent more likely to be with their companies in three years if the company has a formalized onboarding process. Of course, executives and managers rarely have time to implement an onboarding process, let alone devise one.

Enter Human Resources

Human Resources has become a strong partner in driving organizational success. Simply looking at the above stats points to some of the benefits, including:

  • Onboarding new hires effectively
  • Working with new hires to identify and bring forth necessary skills
  • Screening applicants to eliminate those that have the wrong skills or attitude upfront
  • Reducing the number of people in the high-retention-risk category

Moreover, they can help increase some of the company attributes that make employees want to stay. For example, they work to provide an environment that attracts and retains talent, one that helps employees stay motivated, productive and fulfilled.

They also act, in many cases, as an advocate for employees to establish a more open and transparent environment for associates and leadership. How important is that? Consider the fact that, worldwide, only 40 percent of employees believe there is enough transparency around compensation, according to BambooHR. Yikes.

Here’s something else to consider: Only 4 percent of employees stay on for the benefits (Surprised? We just don’t care as much about a parking space as we all think!), while 38 percent stay for job satisfaction and work-life balance.

Again, managers and executives rarely have the time or ability to really dig deep into employee needs and motivations, and so they miss critical facts such as these. They assume that financial “carrots” are the main motivators, and punishment is the main “stick.” Yet in his New York Times Bestselling book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink writes that’s not what makes workers happy (or sad) at all. Rather, we crave autonomy, recognition, and purpose.

You can see how important Human Resource professionals are to an organization and its employees. Human Resources develops the systems that help employees grow in skills, knowledge and experience and to then be able to use these qualities to grow within the organization.

So, hiring and firing workers? Not even close. More like identifying talent, onboarding it successfully, responding to needs, ensuring transparency, and nurturing job satisfaction and employee retention over the long haul.

Luckily, with today’s innovative digital tools, it’s becoming even easier for HR reps to perform these roles.

The Changing Digital Landscape’s Impact on HR

With the exception of business models or products that become completely obsolete with digital innovation, for the most part, the digital revolution has been kind to us all. It enables greater efficacy, communication, collaboration, and creativity. This is true in Human Resources as anywhere else.

One of the biggest benefits of technology is the way it streamlines workflow. Human Resource professionals have enjoyed an increasing opportunity to step up and strategize with companies due to digital programs that free up their time. For instance, rather than entering data from timecards and printing up checks, they can now simply do a quick payroll check before electronically depositing funds.

Now, instead of sifting through a million paper applications, HR pros can use applicant tracking software to winnow down the number of applicants based on the fit with the job – all while removing any elements of potential bias. This helps in creating dynamic organizations with a successful, diverse workforce.

The New Human Resource Rep: A Cultural and Engagement Ambassador

Now HR reps can turn their attention beyond the paperwork horizon. The shift in focus from the purely “transactional” to the “strategic” means that the role of Human Resources has greatly expanded to address issues such as, what types of employees the organization needs both now and in the future; how best to create and support the sustaining culture of the organization, how to create reward systems that attract, motivate and retain the best workers and, as a key member of the organizational leadership team, how to meet the needs of the organization for prosperity and growth.

Human Resource professionals are uniquely positioned to provide strategic information to manage and foster growth in talent. Working with department heads, managers and supervisors, they help design and develop the training that will lead to – as well as monitor – better management of the organization’s talent

The job doesn’t end there, though. In addition to figuring out what motivates employees and helping them reach those goals, HR personnel also seek to foster a cultural environment that supports those goals. Their up-close-and-personal familiarity with workplace statistics helps HR pros to champion change. They have unique insights, including:

  • Why employees leave
  • Why employees stay
  • What frustrates them
  • What they wish they had more of (pay, flexibility, meaning)
  • How they disagree with management
  • How they would change their jobs if they could
  • What type of recognition they want (public acclaim, Starbucks cards)
  • Which perks they care about
  • Which they don’t
  • What might make them stay if they were planning on leaving
  • What competitors offer that this company doesn’t

With this information, they can build consensus between the workers and the C-Suite about what constitutes a good job, a good environment, and a good company.

Perks of a Human Resource Management Role

Okay, you’re thinking, so Human Resource reps can play a significant role in an organization. But is it right for you? Can you pay your bills and take care of your student loan debt? Will the job allow you to pursue family and work-life balance? And how likely are you to get hired? Here are a few quick facts that might improve your outlook, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, depending on industry, location, organization size, and so on:

  • Human Resources Managers make on average $106,910 per year
  • That translates to $51.40 per hour
  • A bachelor’s degree plus industry experience – say five years – can lead to management opportunities
  • There were 136,000 HR jobs in the U.S. as of 2016
  • The field is growing at a rate of 9 percent
  • That means there will be more than 12,000 new jobs between 2016 and 2026

Get Your BS in Human Resource Management

Interested in getting a Human Resource Management degree? Here at Post University, we may have just the program for you: our Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management. Our comprehensive training, in-person or online, will prepare you to work at a large range of organizations, and put you on the road to success today.

As they say, there’s no time like the present … to learn more about the evolving role of Human Resources in the workplace, to get started on this rewarding and lucrative career, and to make your place in the world. Get in touch now.

Today’s Human Resources professional is uniquely positioned to help unlock the potential in people and help them find the best way to use their talents for the good of the organization.