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HR teams are still needed, but they need to refocus

In an economy constantly seeking out new ways to cut costs, HR departments have come under fire

Many question whether their existence is justified and suggestions have been made within corporate circles about disbanding HR departments entirely and allowing other sectors of the business to pick up their work.

This is a risk strategy, especially when you consider that HR deals with the most important asset to any business – the employees.

This is not to say that HR departments cannot evolve their working practices. Re-focusing the work carried out in HR can mean breathing a new lease of life into the sector and ultimately maximising the value of staff, consequently boosting productivity within the firm. Here are some ways in which HR departments can re-focus their energies to maximise the effectiveness of their staff.

One of the key ways to do this is knowing when to offload work. Offloading certain duties within the HR department will free up the team and leave staff with more time to pursue people-led activities. Administrative duties, such as payroll and finance issues, could be passed on to the accounts department, for example, while internal communication issues should be taken up by the marketing and PR teams.

Delegating appropriate roles to other teams does not mean shirking; instead, it simply means that HR does not become bogged down with work that really should not come under its remit.

The important duties that HR should focus on include recruiting and managing talent in a team. A dedicated HR team that can actively source the right employees for a firm and direct them in the appropriate ways to utilise their skills is a huge asset to any company. This means investing time in employee development, training and preparation for new roles and tasks – a key way to encourage development and progress within the company.

Employee engagement is also something HR departments should focus on. Studies have proven time and time again that firms that invest in employee engagement reap the benefits over those that ignore the issue. Conducting employee satisfaction surveys is a time-consuming job, but one that allows the company to get a feel for employee morale and assess any changes that need to be made; ultimately, this leads to happier and more fulfilled employees who are willing to work harder.

HR should not be disbanded or replaced, but it does need to evolve its working practices – and continue to assess them – to get the most from employees. By offloading certain work and focusing their time on the areas that have been proven to enhance employee productivity, HR teams can continue to flourish and bring numerous benefits to the company for which they work.

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