Human Resources-The Conduit between Management and Realization of Goals

By Wendy R. White, Executive Director, ATC Healthcare

In today’s competitive environment you will find that the most successful organizations have a strong human resource presence. This is often driven by a strategic human resource executive and a company that willingly incorporates human resources into its leadership model. If functioning accurately, human resources should have its finger on the pulse of the organization; driving company policy, procedure, and culture in a direction that not only transforms a company but leads it toward its strategic goals.

Among many organizations human resources is still perceived as a black-and-white service oriented function and unfortunately a majority of these companies continue to hire transactional based human resource professionals.HR professionals should do everything they can to avoid working in simple service and transactional based human resource departments, as these departments will often be perceived as lacking in organizational value and are likely to be one of the first departments to be outsourced or downsized during economic blight. For those companies wishing to be truly successful, they need to be willing to engage the skills and knowledge of their human resource department and give their HR professionals the latitude and tools necessary to lead the organization to greater success.

Long gone is the need for purely a service oriented personnel department with professionals focused on performing transactional and tactical work. Although there is always the need to complete transactional work in a human resource department, a strategic human resource department embraces more than the day to day service oriented roles. Organizations are desperately in need of strong human resource professionals who have a tolerance for ambiguity and can think outside-of-the-box. Since the discipline is highly regulated by law and policy, often many young professionals enter the workforce performing their duties strictly by-the-book. Let’s face it, that is how HR professionals initially earn their degree, by-the-book! Yet highly successful HR professionals are those strategic in their thinking, always with the end result in mind. Strategic human resource professionals take the knowledge they have gained through experience, education, strict law, and company policy and incorporate the big picture; constantly assessing the impact of their decisions across the entire organization. 

Every day there are companies who are striving to achieve a more strategic organizational model, which includes incorporating human resource strategies into their goals. This had been more common in private, for profit companies where there is constant need to maintain a competitive edge. Although today we are seeing the same competitiveness in non-profit, public, and municipal organizations. This may be due to many experiencing pressure from their constituents’ to meet the same transparency requirements as the private sector in order to receive funding, secure viable talent, and earn credibility with their customers. 

If it is a company’s goal is to develop a human resource department that will take them to the next level, companies must take the time to look for professionals with both behavioral and technical competence, who are willing to take risks, engage employees at all levels, and gain trust. Human resource professionals with these competencies will be the professionals who are actually making unique decisions in the best interest of the organization and its employees. Companies should also be looking for senior professionals who can take the information available to them through law, policy, union contracts, information systems, senior management, and personal experience and apply that knowledge objectively, consistently, and strategically in the best interest of the organization. These HR professionals should have strong analytical skills and business acumen. In addition, organizations want to be sure they have a professional with proven change management and relationship-building skills; who are active among their peers and the community. These skills are the foundation for a human resource department which has the ability to mold a company’s culture and link it to strategic organizational goals. 

The right human resource professional has the ability to become a company’s most valuable player. Strong human resource leadership must be in place to ensure that the department as a whole, remains confident in its decisions but also remains objective, flexible, and tolerant of employees, management, and situations taking place within the organization. Additionally, professionals should be aware of the tools that are still needed to get the organization on track and what tools should be eliminated altogether. Ultimately, human resources is the conduit between management, employees, company mission and the realization of goals. 

Once the right strategic human resources executive is in place, it is imperative to ensure that the tools remain available to achieve and maintain the goals of the organization. Companies must support their human resource department by consistently applying all law, policies, contracts and employee handbooks. Human resource departments must have access to technology for detailed reporting on all employee and company related information in order to approach their role knowledgeably. Finally, human resource executives should remain on a peer level with senior management and be considered a subject matter expert on all areas of human resources.
 

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