The Changing Role of the HR Function
Of all the support functions, the HRM (Human Resource Management) function is a critical component of any organization. Apart from finance, which serves as the lifeblood of the organizational support functions, the HRM function more than any other support function, has the task of ensuring that the organizational policies and procedures are implemented and any grievances of the employees are taken care of. For instance, it is common for the HRM function in many organizations to combine hiring, training, providing assistance during appraisals, mentoring employees, and deciding on pay structures and grades. This means that the HRM function has its task cut out wherein it has to take care of the “people” side of the organizational processes. Considering the fact that the ascent of the services sector (IT, Financial Services, BPO) has meant that people are the key assets for organizations, the importance of the HRM function has grown by leaps and bounds thanks to the preponderance of the services sector. This has given impetus to many aspiring HR professionals to try and make a career for themselves in the HR field thanks to the burgeoning demand for HR professionals.
Change in Conception from Reactive to Proactive
Many people think of the HR manager as someone who attends to complaints from employees, appears at the time of appraisals, and generally is useful only when there is a genuine need for him or her. This is the classic old world thinking wherein HR managers were confined to these activities alone. The reason for such conceptions is that most of us are used to our parents and other older generation people referring to HR managers as labor officers whose sole function is to take care of payroll and disputes. However, times have changed and in the recent decades, the HR function has emerged as a key function in itself wherein the HR professionals are proactive and preemptive in nature. What this means is that HR managers anticipate the crises and preempt them from happening instead of waiting for the crisis to appear and then resolve it.
Further, unlike in earlier generations where there were chances of strikes and lockouts of the organizations in the manufacturing sector, the services sector does not have any place for these and hence, the role of the HR professionals have evolved to a point where they have moved from reactive mode to proactive mode. This means that in many multinationals, the HR professionals regularly have what are known as one-on-ones or individual meetings with the staff to try and understand their grievances, seek feedback, and overall focus on how to prevent any kind of crisis from happening.
The HR Professionals and Demand for HR courses
Indeed, apart from hiring, training, and payroll, which still have lot of importance to the HRM, function, the addition of the activities mentioned above has lent a touch of glamour to the otherwise staid and dull profession. It is no wonder that in institutes like XLRI have seen a surge in demand for their courses in HR. Moreover, even in other management institutes, there is an increase in the number of graduates who are choosing HR as their specialization. All these trends point to the conclusion that the HR profession is now well sought after and something that is not relegated to the sidelines.
HR Professionals Have Fun as Well
The changing role of the HRM function is especially visible in the IT and BPO sector where they are also engaged in organizing offsite events, which are held in a resort or in a hotel and which provide the employees with a chance to brainstorm about issues in a relaxed and slow manner outside of the confines of the office. This trend has made the HRM function very busy because a lot of planning goes into organizing these events and indeed, in multinationals like Fidelity, this is now handled by dedicated HR staff apart from the regular staff.