Misconceptions about HR and How to Get Over Them Essay

Human resource is a complex, multifaceted field that requires professionals to have the ability to juggle priorities and excel at a number of tasks—from the sometimes tedious to the often strategic. It takes knowing what to hone in on and what to delegate, staying on top of the latest trends in compensation and always having a finger on the pulse of employee relations. And, often, with so many misconceptions about HR, it involves staying ahead of the curve through continuous education in an attempt to drive what the role will entail for the company.Being in HR requires having a number of talents and is not for the faint of heart.

The role brings with it the potential to make a big impact on the lives of individuals working for the company—its most important assets—and, simultaneously, can leave managers feeling less than appreciated, when contributions to the bottom line are questioned. Perceptions of HR as a cost center and others, explained below, are just a few of the myths that often surround HR and can prevent practitioners and companies from getting the most from this important role.HR as a cost center The view of HR as a cost center may be one of the hardest to overcome. How executives view the HR department and its role often plays a huge part in its perception and function, including whether the job is managed in-house to begin with.

Frequently HR must take every opportunity to be its own proponent in providing greater education on the value of its offerings.Other companies realize that HR managers contribute more directly in taking care of their most valuable assets, handling a range of responsibilities, including: recruiting; interviewing; providing, presenting, and delivering medical, dental, vision, life, and other ancillary benefits; job training; instituting programs for retention and growth of employees; establishing tools and guidance for management reviews; and reviewing and selecting technology to support HR functions, to name a few. Each of these, in fact, contributes greatly to the bottom line when all hard and soft costs of doing usiness are considered. Group benefits, for instance, are a major part of the compensation employers offer to entice and retain productive and reliable employees and maintain the organization’s competitive nature. The methods by which these compensation elements are derived and presented are key to a company’s success.

In retaining good employees, companies can save thousands, if not more, in rehiring and training costs. HR must be prepared to justify its case with a strong knowledge of its employee base and a rationalization of these types of obvious and not so obvious costs.HR’s role: strategic and/or tactical Whether dictated by management, assumed by the practitioner, a function of “fighting fires” on a daily basis, or a combination of the above, HR’s role in the organization is all too often tactical over strategic, often to the dissatisfaction of practitioners themselves. This point is illustrated by USC Professor Edward E.

Lawler III, who noted that HR professionals reported spending only 23% of their time in 2005 “being a strategic business partner” – no more than they reported in 1995. And line managers, he found, said HR is far less involved in strategy than HR thinks it is.Though company culture often sets the stage, HR practitioners must actively seek key areas for improvement for themselves, their roles and for the company and take action to defend their role where possible. Employee capabilities/technology’s prevalence If employees and executives are guilty of downplaying HR’s role, often so too is HR in assessing employees’ ability to manage information.

Computers first appeared in schools over 12 years ago and today are used by 75 percent of Americans to access the Internet for three hours a day on average.Still, many in HR are reluctant to give up basic self-service benefit management tasks that would save a tremendous amount of time and allow them to better address company objectives. While it is true that online benefits management can be a scary prospect for those who may be less computer savvy, having access to employee benefits online is another way to provide greater employee satisfaction through accessibility and choice. In fact, many employees will expect online access, especially today’s younger generation for whom iPods and IM are part of everyday life.

Self-service HR has become so invaluable that a September 2006 Forrester Research report termed it “an essential core application” for businesses. The report pointed to the ability of Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS) to help manage personnel costs, operate efficient business processes, comply with regulations and manage legal exposures, and optimize the value of human capital. Not all HR tools are created equal Another way that HR can heighten its role and increase strategic input is by using technology to better access, manage, and report on information.But, as with any industry, it is hard to cut through the clutter and hype surrounding proposed solutions to select the best technology to meet organizational needs. Though one provider may declare it offers self-service capabilities, for instance, it may not be the same level needed or offered by others, providing disappointing results.

For an HR manager that has met with false promises in the past, doing the homework on proposed solutions is even more important. Selecting the best tools requires assessing key factors, such as the ability to: * Grow and scale with the organization Provide full ownership of the data * Simplify processes through wizards * Provide full security for backups, servers, added protective layers, etc. and transfer data within secure encrypted sessions, secure sockets layer (SSL) (128 bit encryption), or be encrypted prior to being sent * Provide authority to decide who will be allowed access and to what degree * Offer a robust eligibility engine for company enrollment activities and rules * Link with carriers with clean, validated transfers, beyond basic ANSI files * Offer 24-hour service from a direct contact that can help.In conclusion, though managing human resources is certainly not without its challenges, perhaps individuals are drawn to this role in the first place because of “the challenge” and the opportunity to make a difference at companies and in the lives of individuals. Frequently, HR managers can accomplish more and further prove their worth to the company by relying more heavily on employees and technology that can help them to focus on the most important issues.

* Important Elements of a Successful Leadership Development ProgramAccording to Sir Antony Jay, a famous English writer, broadcaster and director: The only real training for leadership is leadership. While that is true, I however believed that a good, well-planned and well-executed Leadership Development Program is necessary in order to produce good, if not great leaders within any organization. Many people assume that if someone is successful it is because they have good leadership skills.

Some people assume that if a business is successful it is because it has good leaders. Leadership isn’t something that is particularly easy to pass on to other people.Sometimes a company is successful because a past leader was very skilled as a leader and the current leader simply has kept things running the same as before.

Great leadership is a rare skill. For most people it doesn’t come naturally. It is amazing how many organizations are successful even though they have only marginally competent people leading them. These people may be aptly called, “accidental leaders. ” Many times this is because the structure of the organization helps make up for a leaders short comings. Sometimes it is because a particularly talented staff that makes up for the leaders deficiencies.Any leadership development training should take into account some of the basic leadership issues, which ought to be made available to the individual concerned for developing his leadership skills.

Here are three important elements to make your leadership training program successful: * The leadership training program must adequately deal with the most important issues on effective leadership, and not limit the understanding of the term to its restrictive sense. Any reference to conventional typecast leadership should be shunned.The training should also incorporate a comprehensive understanding of leadership virtues as applicable to individual requirements, and highlight the subtle differences between leadership and management. * The leadership program should also take into account the attitude of people towards the qualities of a good leader.

It is imperative that leadership development training should be ideally structured in relation to the advancement of the individuals concerned, instead of looking for strengths in personal qualities. While great leadership skills can make someone successful, the inverse is not true.Being successful doesn’t make you a good leader.

If you are looking for leaders to learn from make sure you are looking for people who actually have good leadership skills and not just someone who is successful. You can’t assume that someone is a good leader just because they have had success. Many times people try to emulate people who have had success and try to follow their leadership styles. While this might be a good thing people often end up mimicking the bad habits of individuals. * The leadership development training should also make it clear that collective requirement are of greater importance than individual necessities.

Leadership development training tries to develop the quality of an individual to see a vision and look into the future, and develop his ambitions and aspirations. * One crucial virtue that such training emphasizes is that potential leaders should have the capability to see how details fit into the big picture. Such training also stresses the need to have the attitude that helps one to view things from the point of view of other individuals, and also able to comprehend in the proper manner the most suitable approach towards them.