Work Life – Befriending HR
(Originally published on Sunday, April 18, 2010)
by JHOANNA GAN-SO
Before I got involved with the fascinating world of human resource development, I used to think of HR as simply a department that monitored my attendance, processed some paperwork, handed out my pay slip, and organized the once-a-year sports fest.
But after learning the ins and outs of HR in the process of professionalizing our company structure some years back, I witnessed firsthand its critical impact on companies and people. I got a glimpse of how good HR practices can significantly make employees happier and how it can give harmony to the workplace. This prompted me to seek out other HR practitioners and learn with them. It made me appreciate what HR is all about.
You see, HR is a major part of everyone’s work life. Whether you are job seeking, employed, moving up the ranks, or moving on, you will encounter and need the assistance of the Human Resource Department.
For many jobseekers, the HR professional or recruitment officer is the gateway to getting employed in a company. In a way, we hold the power to getting you through the door as we are the ones who filter resumes, set interviews, and process hiring. We also orient you and help you get settled in as soon as you get hired.
Once employed, the HR department oversees many other functions. Yes, we monitor your attendance in order to process your pay slip. We do the paperwork and documentation needed by the company, and we organize employee events and team-building activities.
But that’s not all that we do. HR also plans, seeks approval for, and organizes training development programs. We propose and manage benefits and everyone’s favorite: leaves. We monitor performance so that deserving employees get promoted. We even pick out uniforms to make you look cool and chic (or otherwise, depending on our taste). We make sure that policies are followed so that the workplace can run smoother. We also have to do the difficult task of disciplining and apprehending violators of company policies and carry out the emotionally-driven episodes of resignations and terminations. It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it.
With all the HR tasks at hand, one would think that HR professionals have superhuman abilities to make all of these happen. But to be honest, we are more like supermoms—normal people who have to juggle tasks and work very hard to make the people we are caring for happy and satisfied.
And like supermoms, things can get overwhelming since many HR departments have minimal staff. Yet HR people work very hard to do all of these things because we know that it will help the company and employees. We know that we have to take care of these necessities for you, so that you can go out there, face the world, and focus on your work. And at the end of the day, you will feel secure knowing that your benefits are processed so that you can take care of your families back home.
After doing all of these things though, many HR practitioners feel unappreciated and unrecognized. During HR Club Philippines’ regular meet-ups and the HR seminars that we conduct at Businessmaker Academy, participants often share issues and difficulties in getting support for their initiatives from both management and even employees.
For instance, after going through hundreds of resumes, conducting interviews, and finally hiring and orienting a new employee for a certain position, their hearts break when after just a few months, the employee decides to leave.
Or after toiling for hours to prepare a performance appraisal form, they get frustrated because some managers take forever to answer and submit these.
Or after going through hoops to get management to approve and provide budget for training, there are some employees who act lazy and unenthusiastic about the training.
These are just some of the many heartaches of HR practitioners and that is the reason why we established HR Club Philippines. Aside from providing HR education, we wanted to provide a support group for HR practitioners. As one member dramatically pointed out, “Araw-araw, kailangan natin alagaan ang mga empleyado natin, pero paano naman kami, sino ang mag-aalaga sa amin? (Everyday, we need to take care of our employees, but what about us? Who will take care of us?)”
And so I am writing some insights about our “dakilang (dedicated)” HR people. I’m here to tell jobseekers, employees, and employers that the HR people we rely on to make our work lives happier and more rewarding need a boost too. Just like everyone, HR people need to feel inspired to continue doing what they do. They need to feel appreciated and recognized for their hard work.
The best way to do this is very simple. All that’s needed are words of encouragement or some deed that says, “Thank you.”
Since HR people pretty much assist and have an influence in getting you hired, getting you acquainted with the company, developing your talents, managing your compensation and benefits, and overseeing your career growth, it would be great to show HR that you care too, and that you appreciate them. So befriend your HR staff; it’s the wise and right thing to do.
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