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Tales from the Corporate Frontlines: Adapting Human Resource Functions
This article relates to the human resource functions competency, commonly evaluated in employee satisfaction surveys. It deals with employee feelings with regard to the quality and implementation of the human resource role within your organization. A human resource department that is properly informed of employee issues, demonstrates a high integrity level, and communicates effectively with staff and management supports a high level of confidence in the company, throughout the workforce.
This article, Adapting Human Resource Functions, is part of AlphaMeasure's compilation, Tales from the Corporate Frontlines. It comments on the changing roles of human resource departments as companies change with the times.
Adapting Human Resource Functions
About three years ago, our company went through major downsizing. As a career human resources specialist, I was skilled at performing a number of HR functions, including payroll, benefits administration, and policy development and administration. At the time of downsizing, our department consisted of ten associates, serving a worker population of roughly 600 employees.
After downsizing, we found our number cut in half. How on earth were we supposed to accomplish all of our work? We were gathered into a meeting and told that the payroll and benefits administration functions would be outsourced.
Our initial reaction was one of disbelief. This was a lot to digest---big changes in a really short period of time. Our HR department had prided itself on being highly competent. Employee satisfaction surveys had always given us the highest possible rating. Our employees valued and respected our team and its efforts. Could we maintain that same level of satisfaction, or would our jobs now consist of merely "putting out fires" correcting problems resulting from errors in the outsourced work? We were worried. We understood the need for trimming the payroll to make our company more competitive, but long standing practices were deeply embedded in our psyches, and we were in shock.
In the meeting, our director told us that a team of training specialists would soon arrive, to help us manage the transition. It was a good thing, she told us. Our duties would change, but we would have more time to focus on company policy development and implementation, training and orientation of new and current workers. We would also be able to participate fully in company initiatives designed to make us more competitive in the current economy.
As time went by, we realized that our director had been correct. In fact, the change was extremely positive. We had eliminated time-consuming clerical work that utilized only a small portion of our skills, and we were given training opportunities that broadened our scope and prepared us to accomplish bigger and better things for the benefit of our employees, our department, and the entire company.
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