Kurzgesagt: Human Resources

As many as 93% of respondents perceive Human Resources as a department that simply interviews new recruits. What do you think?

By Ivan Marković | HR, Organisational development, Fun, Management, Kurzgesagt |

As many as 93% of respondents perceive Human Resources as a department that simply interviews new recruits. What do you think?

Well, to begin with, human resources are all the people who make up an organisation and who contribute to its operations.

This will take some time to sink in. Your first association at the mention of human resources should not be the HR Department, but the people who make up an organisation. OK? Can we move on now?

The purpose of a Human Resources Department or Division within an organisation is to hire the right people to build the organisation and to facilitate the attainment of its objectives.

- Well, exactly. Staff selection is what it does.

Wrong again.

One of the main goals of an HR Department as far as jobs are concerned is to ensure the organisation is properly staffed. This means it must ensure the company has hired enough people, and that those people have the required knowledge and motivation to do their jobs and achieve their goals.

- But you’re just repeating the same thing. It does that through staff recruitment.

Wrong again. Not that it’s not one of the ways to do this, but it is far from being the only one, or indeed the most efficient one.

A far greater issue than the inefficiency of employing a single method is that Human Resources is often (by as many as 93 percent of respondents) perceived as fulfilling only the staff selection role, so the company’s management tends to dismiss the outcome of this department’s work and grudgingly accepts it as an unavoidable cost. Something like utility bills. Exactly like that. As a result, they see neither need nor room for this department to expand and do what it’s supposed to do, which is to ensure better and more efficient functioning of the company, including through proper staffing.

- OK, so, again, that’s recruitment.

Once again, you’re wrong. When position needs to be filled, external selection is a last-resort tool. Before that, there is planned staff development, internal selection, open interviews with employees, motivation, performance measurement, reward schemes, corrective activities and, last but not least, performance management, including both the people and the organisation. While external selection may well be necessary at some point in certain situations, even then there is a list of preventive activities that need to be done before the selection process can proceed.

- Oh, I see. So that’s what Human Resources does.

Which brings us neatly back to my original point: that’s exactly what Human Resources is all about.

And this isn’t even the greatest benefit this department brings to a company. HR department feeds top management invaluable information about employees’ performance and the organisation’s capacities and provides indispensable support to a company’s organisation and operations. It should help a company sort out its staffing, so that there is a clear understanding at all times of what the organisation looks like and why someone does what they do. And yes, it is a perfectly legitimate reply to say: “we don’t have anyone better for the time being, but the company’s operations are not compromised, and we are working towards making him better”.

Not to be overlooked is the support this department should provide managers as they lead the people who report to them, i.e. the human resources entrusted to them. Sometimes, managers lack the skills to properly handle all these activities and the HR Department is there to help.

When seen in this light, this department is neither an expense nor a liability; instead, it is an indispensable part of the company, which helps save material resources exactly through proper utilisation of human resources. And guess who is satisfied then?

We’ll leave that question for our next survey :-)

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Ivan Marković
CEO of very cool & cutting edge HR company / Expert in advanced performance management, development and HR processes
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