What you need to know about Human Resources

There are two ways of understanding the work of human resources in a company. One is to see it as the person in charge of satisfying a company’s needs. The other is to see it as the person in charge of solving a problem the company is facing. 

Fact: both are compatible. Also a fact: we could understand one’s role within a company in the same way

That is precisely what human resources work is all about: people are the tools that a company has at its disposal to meet its needs and solve the problems it encounters

So, what is the role of the person in charge of what we call “human resources”? To make sure the members of the small (or large) orchestra that make up the workforce are well settled in their seats, with their instruments in tune and entering at the right tempo so as not to step on the note of the colleague playing next to them. 

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Let’s dig deeper and find out what is the role of these professionals: 

Human resources: much more than recruiters

There is normally a very simplistic view of the human resources area. We think their job is simply based on selecting future employees (as if that were easy!). This reduces their functions to finding candidates for an offer, interviewing them, and making a decision about it. 

However, the reality is quite far off: human resources job is enormously complex, both in big organizations and freelance professionals. 

They must find the right person for a specific job, but also to take care of multiple aspects which are related to their experience as a company’s internal client

Human resources managers’ role consists of taking care of employees’ “journey” within the organization, even if that journey is a short one and doesn’t go past the first interview. 

Wherever there are people, human resources will be there

Elsa Gutiérrez Rico, Senior human resources Director for a multinational, helps us complete the puzzle. The selection process, “is just one area in the person’s life cycle as an employee”. It’s clear that the aim is to attract the right talent for your company: they are the people who stand out. However- she adds- that is just the beginning, we then need to retain, develop and manage human capital. 

How do they do it? Creating training plans, supervising payrolls, encouraging talent retention, making the organization an attractive place to work at, creating feedback surveys within the employees, offering training, or modifying staff’s structure to optimize productivity. 

Thanks to proper coordination with the Marketing department, human resources managers can also use some metrics to quantify the motivation and commitment of employees.

Then there are personal skills, fundamental to all human resources professionals: good listening skills, curiosity, courage, and vision and not be someone who “merely executes processes”. “In general -stated the executive with years of experience-  I do not believe that these competencies are very different from those of other leaders.  An HR Generalist will indeed express them differently than someone who leads the HR function, but in both cases, you need to be brave because there will be many occasions when you have to say, ‘this is not right, have you considered this?” 

“My work- explains Gutiérrez Rico– consists of achieving corporate objectives through people. This starts before the person joins the company and up until the day they leave. To achieve these goals it is necessary to create cultural change, both short and long term. We help define behavior and policies of brand recognition, in the selection and tracking of talent which fits with our company culture, and in their further development through retention plans. Where there are people, human resources will be there

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It’s not an easy task but it is an important one. Therefore companies must take time and care to set up this area correctly and, provide those who are in charge of it with the necessary tools to perform their work as human resources managers to the best of their ability. 

Managing people in a digital world

Mariano Ventura has worked as a freelance tech recruiter for over twelve years.  He points out that, in contrast to what happens in other areas, the technology and eCommerce sector is an area in which there are more job offers than qualified people to fill them. “That makes digital profiles highly sought after,” he says, “and you have to sell a position very well and hard for someone to give it their all in an interview.

This reminds us that, to retain talent you first need to capture it, and you can’t capture it if the person responsible for doing it is missing something essential. That is, the ability to convey the company’s culture to the candidate and the economic and emotional salary benefits that they can have when they join. This is also human resources responsibility.  

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Another challenge mentioned by this expert has to do with what we call the employee journey. For example, knowing how to take care of the contact with candidates who are not selected allows their experience with the company to be favorable even if, at the time, a partnership is not initiated: “It is important to give the candidates professional, accurate answers that add up as to why they have not been hired and it is not always easy to coordinate with those who have made the decision but are not going to communicate the news,” he says. 

On the other hand, companies continue to face the constant challenge of managing work-life balance and deciding which work method is most efficient for productivity without neglecting the psychological well-being of workers: remote work, on-site, or a hybrid of both?

This reflection has accelerated as a result of the pandemic, and human resources departments are no strangers to it: “Those of us who work in human resources,” says Ventura, “have to make employers and managers understand that the market has new demands and a person who wants to combine on-site and remote work or work remotely will not necessarily perform less well. This is an added difficulty to our functions“. 

How do we define human resources? 

As analyzed, the human resources world is complex and encompasses different professional profiles that serve different objectives. 

To successfully perform these functions requires skills and, as in all other professions, a handful of good opportunities. In the meantime, the profession is developing

For example, Mariano Ventura stresses the importance of intuition in his daily work, something that – according to him – is not learned in any master’s degree. “You have to have more common sense than psychology, to know that the job interview is a declaration of good intentions but that the real chemistry will be seen later“, he says.  

For Elsa Gutiérrez Rico, the essence is “the importance of asking questions and always offering your point of view. Human resources have to act as a partner of the business and for that, you have to ask a lot of questions, even if some may seem ‘silly’ because that will help you to be a better advisor“. 

She also adds a key aspect for proper people management that we often lose sight of: “We encourage constant dialogue and create spaces for people to talk and tell us, ask us questions. We do engagement surveys, open sessions, breakfasts with leaders. On the other hand, we constantly share results, where we are, where we are going, being transparent. All this helps us to detect problems to solve them by reorganizing priorities, adding more resources, and, many times, letting the person vent, but always with a plan of action. People are the ones who get the job done and they are the only thing your competitors can’t copy, that’s why they play a very important role!”.   

We couldn’t agree more. That is why ifeel has designed an emotional well-being program for companies that take into account the importance of people. Through this program, employees can take care of their mental health through a structured service at different levels, including online therapy with registered psychologists specialized in a range of areas. 

On the other hand, HR managers can receive ongoing, tailored, and data-driven advice to help them support the psychological well-being of their teams and create the necessary conditions for maximum productivity

Get in touch with us today and request more information.

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