A guest post from ECO Canada
Check out this guest post from IAIA Corporate Member ECO Canada. ECO Canada runs environmental employment programs and services -- from job creation and wage funding, to training and labor market research, they champion the environmental professional career path.
The Human Resources (HR) department handles a wide range of responsibilities, yet many people don’t exactly know what HR professionals do. We will explore some of the common areas of responsibilities that HR departments typically handle; however, it’s important to note that the specific functions of HR can vary depending on an organization’s size, industry and structure. So, what is the importance of human resources?
Recruitment & Hiring
Effective recruitment processes are important to save time and money and ensure that the right talent is hired and increases productivity. HR professionals typically handle the bulk of the process but start with collaborating with hiring managers to identify the needs of a particular role. From there, HR will source qualified candidates by creating job descriptions, posting roles across various job boards, conducting pre-screening and interviews, conducting background checks and preparing offer letters. A major part of recruitment and hiring is also maintaining positive candidate experiences through consistent communication.
Employee Onboarding and Offboarding
Once someone has been hired, HR will work to ensure that the new employee is set up and prepared for their first day. This typically includes collecting payroll and benefit paperwork and coordinating with the payroll and IT departments to set up accounts and equipment. HR will also typically present an orientation and provide handbooks, internal guides or manuals to help new employees learn about the organization and its culture.
Similarly, when an employee leaves, HR helps coordinate the return of equipment, the cancelling of accounts, and conducting exit interviews.
Training & Development
The HR department may also provide opportunities for employee training, learning and development. HR may analyze skills gaps in the organization and offer training courses or development activities to help employees reach their potential and improve operational performance. There are also opportunities for HR to conduct leadership or coaching training for managers.
While HR may not be directly involved in performance reviews, they are responsible for creating and initiating processes/systems for managers to complete appraisals that are consistent and fair. HR may become involved when poor performance is identified to provide guidance, support performance improvement plans, and coach managers through disciplinary actions and terminations.
Compensation and Benefits
Another function of human resources is conducting compensation benchmarking to ensure that fair and competitive wages are being offered to employees. This is done by comparing internal salary ranges to other comparable organizations through the analysis of compensation reports. HR also typically manages benefit programs and administration (including enrollments, changes and cancellations) and may also process payroll for the organization.
Employee relations refer to the interactions between employees and the employer. Human resources play a role in ensuring that employees are all treated consistently and fairly by developing policies around employee conduct, anti-harassment and discrimination. HR also plays a role in conflict resolution by investigating complaints and facilitating discussions. Another function of HR is encouraging social interactions and creating opportunities for engagement through events, initiatives or programs. HR may conduct employee surveys to collect feedback, address areas of concern and identify areas for improvement.
HR provides resources and assistance to individual employees – such as mental health resources, information about employee assistance programs, benefits program information, wellness initiatives, and assisting employees that may request accommodations in the workplace.
Policy Development and Compliance
HR is responsible for ensuring that the organization has a clear set of guidelines to outline values, culture and benefits, support decision-making, streamline internal processes and provide a safe environment where employees are accountable for unacceptable workplace behaviour. This is done through the creation and maintenance of internal policies, procedures, manuals and guides. An important piece of policy development is ensuring that the organization is operating in compliance with appropriate local and federal regulations and laws, such as employment standards, human rights obligations and workplace safety. HR professionals must stay informed with evolving laws, communicate changes to employees and update internal policies as necessary.
HR Information Systems
Another function of HR is tracking employee data and maintaining employee records. As part of the federal labour standards in Canada, employers must keep employment records for 3 years, so employee records must be kept up-to-date. As employment changes occur, HR also must coordinate with payroll to make any changes to pay, salary, bonuses, employee working hours and benefit deductions.
A significant role of HR is strategic planning within the organization. HR professionals are responsible for understanding the organization’s current and future workforce needs to meet strategic objectives. HR will analyze internal employee and workforce data to identify skills gaps, departmental staffing needs, turnover rates and succession planning to ensure stable and productive operations.
For smaller-sized enterprises, tackling the functions of HR can be overwhelming. Oftentimes, it is done on the side by employees balancing other roles within their organization – that’s where ECO Canada can come in and support! We have a team of experienced HR professionals that are ready to take the stress and workload off your plate by providing customizable solutions based on your organizational needs.
(Written by Kayla Rodgers, Marketing Communications Specialist, ECO Canada)