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Who should take care of HR?

Who should take care of HR?

By Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B., Managing Editor, HRinfodesk.com---Canadian Payroll and Employment Law News, July/August 2009

Modern human resources management can certainly pose a unique dilemma, requiring a business owner to possess payroll and accounting skills, knowledge of compliance and a background in risk management. There is a connection between risk management and liability. Business owners also need to provide necessary human resources training as well as insured and employee benefit programs. All of this leads us to wonder, who takes care of HR? Or better yet, who should take care of HR?

According to our latest HRinfodesk poll, out of 358 respondents, 67 (18.72%) indicated that HR professionals with a degree and HR designation take care of their human resources (recruiting, hiring to termination). Following closely behind, 61 (17.04%) respondents stated that supervisors and managers are directly in charge of the recruiting and employee relations at their organization. While 53 (14.80%) respondents have personnel managers with no HR degree or designation taking care of HR, and 42 (11.73%) have HR professionals with degrees but no HR designation. What was surprising and contrary to popular belief is that only 3.07% (11) respondents stated that payroll was in charge of HR; and that 41 respondents (11.45%) have a full-blown HR department.

Several respondents commented that they are considered HR specialists, have no human resources-related degree, but have a Canadian Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation. There are a lot of HR professionals with the CHRP designation who do not have a university degree. Some respondents indicated that they only have a college diploma.

Others commented that each department head or manager in the organization looks after employees, from hiring to termination, but a controller or executive looks after accounting, payroll and group benefits.

The data results are provided in chart form below.

HR is critical to an organization's success

Most large businesses have a human resources department with a number of HR specialists or professionals covering the department's functions. On the other hand, most small to medium-sized businesses do not have an HR department, or even an HR professional, although some opt to have a generalist who fulfills such functions as well as payroll and recruitment. However, where there are employees, be it 1 or 100, there are human resources issues. And both small and large companies need to address such issues in relatively the same way.

According to a 2003 global study conducted by Harris Interactive for EDS (an independent information technology services company), the most valued contribution of the HR department-the peak performance areas-are transactional and administrative, such as payroll and compliance.

According to the Human Resources Professional Association of Ontario, no function in the global shift to a knowledge economy has been more central to organizational success than human resources. Costs related to pensions, benefits, salaries, Workers' Compensation, short- and long-term disability are considerable and are all managed by HR. The effective management of these costs has a direct impact on the overall financial performance of a company. The HR team also has an impact on revenue. Companies with strong talent will post strong financial results, and in leading the development and execution of talent management strategies, HR can have a direct impact on revenue generation.

Human resources management consists of functions and responsibilities from recruiting to orienting new employees, from writing job descriptions to tracking attendance, and from instituting and monitoring policies to monitoring benefits. It usually includes scheduling, compensation planning, compliance reporting, organizational management, employee training and human resource optimization.

Thus, whether the person who takes care of HR at your organization has an HR designation or not, they must have knowledge; and knowledge that is consistently current and updated! In addition, they must know how to apply that knowledge in all HR functions and responsibilities with strong results and HR solutions.

Whether it's determining how many staff are needed to deliver your organization's goods and services over the next year or how performance will be monitored, HR management practices and activities need to be learned and planned. An HR operational plan and learning includes some of the following topics:

  • Employment legislation and standards
  • Guidelines to developing HR policies
  • Hiring the right people in the right jobs and keeping the right people
  • Learning, training and development
  • Compensation and benefits

HR management practices and knowledge should be reviewed on an ongoing basis, every two to three years, to ensure that they still meet organizational needs and comply with legislation.

That is why, as of January 1, 2011, in order to qualify for the CHRP designation, a candidate will require a minimum of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. A diploma or certificate alone will not meet the CHRP criteria. Unlike degrees from accredited colleges and universities, there is no national or international standard for diplomas.

In addition, HR professionals with a designation need to recertify every two to three years to maintain their knowledge and designation.

Knowledge for non-HR specialists

Non-HR specialists also need to acquire that knowledge.

The HRPA of Ontario and First Reference deliver an online training program in recruitment and retention to address gaps in the human resource management knowledge and capacity of small- and medium-sized enterprises in Canada.

This employee recruitment and retention program is designed for non-HR professionals, business owners and managers who are responsible for carrying out HR-related functions within their organizations.

The program will help participants:

  • Understand the importance of good human resources management within the context of their business and its impact in the broader Canadian community
  • Enhance their knowledge of employment legislation and the employer's responsibilities to employees
  • Apply best practices in recruitment, selection, orientation, training and retention

HR eSource® is a series of 40 human resources management e-learning units for effective human resources management.

Focused on the essential skills required by people managers in every organization, this bilingual solution provides practical HR education and includes customizable forms, checklists, samples and resources.

Visit the First Reference website to learn more on HR eSource®.