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Changing Roles of the Human Resources Professional

“You can take my factories, burn up my buildings, but give me my people, and I’ll bring my business right back again.”- Henry Ford

Such is the importance of human resources in the growth and sustenance of any business. Any organization or business relies greatly on its ‘people power’. Oftentimes, it is the dedication and devotion of the employees rather than availability of external resources that take an organization to the pinnacle of success. However, the people power in an organization can truly succeed only if it has an efficient HR machinery to drive it. Earlier, Human Resources Management was considered to be an arm of management that was formulated to execute policies and procedures. Thankfully, this notion is fast becoming obsolete and an HRM is considered more of a strategic business partner rather than a mere executioner of procedures.

Traditional HRM to Strategic Business Partner

 The changing roles of human resources professional are defined by the fierce competition in the market and constantly evolving business trends. The roles and responsibilities have become strategically aligned with those of an organization’s. Similarly, the outlook has become ’employee-centric’ rather than ‘organization-centric’. The traditional and modern roles of an HR professional can be categorized as under:

  1. Compliance and Enforcement
  2. Management Advocacy
  3. Strategic Partner
  4. Employee Advocacy

Out of these roles, the first two are traditional, whereas the third role is being advocated by many HR and OD consultants. The last role is non-existent, but can impact an organization’s future in a big way.

Compliance and Enforcement

Although, it includes monitoring and enforcing the execution of organizational policies, the approach has changed drastically. The complaints are mitigated and the disciplinary issues are being tackled by taking proactive measures.

Management Advocacy

HR has always been considered as the management arm and a point of contact between the management and the employees. This is probably a reason why these professionals come across as formidable and intimidating. However, this scenario is changing, as HR policies are being targeted towards employee empowerment.

 Strategic Partner

It is expected that HR professionals should be well informed about the strategies of the business and be able to play variety of roles, including strategy planning. They must be able to anticipate the changing trends in the market and formulate strategies accordingly.

Employee Advocacy

Although, this role is still in its infancy, it can bring radical changes to an organization’s HR and OD practices.

Ideally, an HR professional must be able to strike a balance between all four roles, for effective implementation of HR practices.

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