‘Human Resources’, or HR, is the department of a company or organisation which focuses on activities which relate to employees. This can include both recruiting and hiring new employees; the orientation and training of those already employed by the company; administering employee-benefit programs, and the retention of key personnel within the company. Human Resources were formerly known as Personnel.
As companies continue to reorganize and re-structure to gain a competitive edge, the role of HR within the company will also continue to grow and expand. This can be a fast-changing and competitive environment due to the continuing need for quality employees. Research carried out by The Conference Board found that there are 6 key people-related activities which HR administer in order to add value to a company:
- The effective management and utilization of staff.
- Trying performance appraisal and compensation to competencies.
- Developing competencies to enhance both individual and organizational performance.
- Increasing all aspects of innovation, creativity and flexibility which are necessary to enhance the competitiveness of an organisation.
- Applying new approaches to work process design, succession planning, career development and inter-organizational mobility.
- Managing the implementation and integration of technology through improved staffing, training and communication with employees.
HR roles within the Finance Sector
Over the past few years, financial institutions such as banks, securities houses, and insurance companies have come to offer very similar services. But have their HR needs also changed? Survey data shows that while the three industries have all come to rely heavily on highly skilled labour, the educational and occupational profiles of their respective employees have remained fairly stable and therefore the role of HR has not changed substantially.
Globalization of the financial sector, especially with the economic difficulties occurring since 2008, has meant significant challenges for HR staff. Companies have had to deal with damaged reputations and ever-decreasing workforces as well as cost reductions due to declining demand for services like mortgages and small business lending. These changes have widely affected recruiting and staff development efforts.
HR involves much more than the recruiting, hiring and compensation of full-time employees. Most also look after the health and well-being of all staff members and employees are now demanding that employers should also pay attention to social problems. Many organizations have now also become accountable for their impact on society as well as the environment. HR now needs to be attentive to delivering positive results regarding not only the employees of an organization, but also towards the planet and long-term profit. So now it could be said that HR has a role in diverse topics such as environmental stewardship, human rights protection, workplace responsibility and acceptable corporate citizenship.
|In conclusion, what skills, interests and qualities do I need?
Do these changes mean that I now need specialised qualifications?
Rather than needing specialised qualifications, (although these are not a bad idea if you feel the need to keep abreast,) it means that you now need to keep up-to-date in more areas than previously. These are:
Changing Demographics: In the past companies hired local residents. Current technology means that staff can work from home and whenever they want, so workers can now be hired globally. As current employees get older, but stay in the workforce, businesses need to accommodate concerns relating to health, retirement and training.
Employee Rights: Because of increasing concerns regarding privacy, HR now needs to be aware of any issues related to both data security and privacy. Employers must comply with regulations ensuring that staff has a safe environment to work in. Productive HR employees will both establish and communicate the necessary standards to maintain highly ethical behaviour across the board.
Work and Family: A good work/life balance plays a hugely important role for employees. The ability to offer day care could attract those with young children. Other ways quality staff can be attracted include: job sharing, flexible hours and alternative work schedules. When people manage their personal lives in a productive way it means that they focus better on work responsibilities. A good HR presence can assist even small companies to provide resources in terms of health and wellness.
Social Media: Job centres and the Internet do not necessarily mean that a company will discover elusive, high-quality candidates. The appropriate use of Social Media will attract the likes of University graduates to find employment. HR can encourage employers to use these Social Media in a relevant way to both attract and retain quality workers. Tools such as LinkedIn will allow company bosses to build a network of productive relationships.
If you are interested in working within the finance sector within HR - check out the current opportunities that are on our site.