The core roles of a human resources professional are grouped into four broad roles whose duties must be carried out: a strategic partner to the organization, an administrative expert, a change agent, and an employee champion.
As a strategic partner, the HR professional must be able to partner with the organization in developing plans that will align the firm's human resources with its long term corporate goals and vision. He or she should be able to contribute to business strategy development by aligning HR jobs with strategic goals, and provide tools and create an enabling environment to actualize these goals. The HR professional should be able to analyze work processes and recommend improvements where necessary. He or she should develop policies that will benefit the firm, management, and employees alike.
As an administrative expert, the HR professional is expected to carry out administrative duties like providing the tools needed for the organization to operate successfully. He or she should be able to manage the overall labor costs in the organization and plan for administrative budgets. As an administrative expert, the HR person should be an information manager, and should be able to discover new and evolving trends that will be beneficial to the company. The HR professional should be able to manage HR budgets (recruitment, selection, training and development, etc), and should be a good negotiator in times of salary decisions.
As a change agent, the HR professional should be able to find new ways of doing things that can move the company forward. He or she should be able to convince management of the need for the change and address employees about changes. He or she should coordinate and facilitate the change process, and provide the tools and structures needed during the change period. As an expert, he or she should be able to create a new organizational change without disrupting the firm's business.
As an employee champion, the HR professional should be able to manage the staff selection, recruitment, training, development, career planning, performance management, succession planning, and retention exercises.(Figure 1) He or she is responsible for determining the firm's long-term human resources needs, assessing current resources, and determining areas where change is needed. He or she should determine whether human resources needs can be sourced internally or externally. The HR professional is to conduct training needs assessments and determine the type of training that will benefit the staff and organization. The HR professional manages and carries out career management in a way that aligns the employees’ dreams with the organization's requirements.
The HR expert is also expected to carry out performance appraisal exercises to determine staff performances in their present responsibilities; he or she determines those that will be rewarded, promoted, demoted, and recognized. As an employee champion, he or she should be involved in handling grievances and disciplinary issues in the firm. The HR professional is to handle all employee related matters like leave issues, medicals, pension matters, housing, and general welfare issues.
In summary, an HR professional should be able to perform the following functions:
- Manpower planning
- Compensation and salary issues
- Employee development and administration
- Training and career development
- Labour relations and discipline management
- Personnel transfer and movement
- Performance management
- Human resources information systems
- Organizational development