The Curious Case of HRs!

The Curious Case of HRs!

The year was 2006; the place was Aluva (a region in Kochi City, 15 km away, in the southern state of Kerala, India). It was during the second round of my first job interview for my first job that I realized there exists a particular group of professionally trained, expertly groomed individuals whose outward appearance can baffle the smartest of intelligent employees.

I saw what an HR would look like (glamorous, of course), what they sound like (diplomatic and politically correct), and what they make you feel like. Even as I reach my 17th year of professional life, approaching and involving in communication with them is tricky and quite tangling.

Human resource professionals – fondly called HRs, human managers – are integral to any organization’s operations and success. They are employed by organizations to ‘handle’ and ‘manage’ human resources within them. They are responsible for planning, recruitment, training, developing, and – when needed – ‘restructuring’ employee workforces. They are instrumental in forming and framing policies, procedures, and programs needed to design and develop the human capital of any organization. (When I say organization, it is a group of people with a structure, order, and mutual understanding of responsibilities, you can read this as a side note)

Human resource professionals are also the employees of their organizations. They are not cheerleaders; they are not union leaders; they are not advocates of employee welfare and well-being. Although they may do all of the above, their responsibility and accountability primarily lie in the organization’s growth and success in line with the land’s labor and employment rules and regulations (of the land, sea, or air, wherever they exist). Perhaps, their role is to enable employees to enhance their performance towards various duties assigned to them. Managers and team leaders will do a similar function of ‘enabling’; however, it will be limited to their job descriptions’ technical and professional affairs. HRs rise above such job-specific boundaries and can aid employees in personal and even family matters that have organizational repercussions.

HR professionals’ roles and responsibilities are clear and defined – to help the organization achieve its goals and objectives through its workforce by enabling them with their deserved privileges and potential. Though HRs are not working exclusively for their employees, they can and will help employees enhance their performance to contribute towards organizational growth and success.

For an employee – as they would like to see – HRs are their representatives, which is correct to some extent but not wholly. HRs can and will help them find a solution within their administrative duty boundaries for any personal grievance and requirements affecting their organizational performance. As with any profession, in Human Resource Management (HRM), some exceptional individuals walk that extra mile to exceed their responsibilities – towards both organization and employees. Since direct beneficiaries of HRM are both organizations and human capital, HR professionals are often destined to walk through many tightropes trying to satisfy their employers and employees alike, ending up breaking the hearts of either or both. Communication is essential for HRs to excel in their roles, and so is diplomacy. But, keeping ethical and moral values are the core challenges they face every moment of their professional life.

The glamour, diplomacy, and political correctness – which I saw 17 years before and to the day – are the cornerstones of their identity and existence. It’s not their mask but their element.

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