S. Amir Kohan

What is the Role of HR Professionals?

The strategic role of HR professionals is to strengthen the relationship between the
employees and the employer.

The Evolving Role of HR Professionals
The role of human resources has evolved over the years, probably more so than any other
department function in an organization. In the old days, HR managers simply shuffled
paper, keeping payroll records and benefit assignments straight. In the early twentieth
century, HR as a specialized function began with a narrow focus on hiring and keeping
records of employees, an operational and administrative function. Changes in HR have

been stimulated by external changes, and a major change has been the need for HR
professionals to participate in strategic planning and then the implementation of those plans.

HR’s staff typically provided three types of support: advice, service, and control.

Advice Advising line management on workforce matters including policies and
laws, providing solutions and procedural steps and offering assistance and guidance on
employee issues, diagnosing problems or gathering facts, and providing resources
Service Maintaining records, hiring, training, answering and clarifying
information within a broad customer base, including management, employees, legal
and regulatory agencies, applicants, retirees, families of employees, and vendors
Control An authoritative role involved in the consistency of policy application,
evaluation of employee performance, corrective action, and designing or
implementation of employee programs.

While the focus continues to have a foundational basis in the day-to-day operational
role (acquisition, development, resolving issues, and communications), along with
administrative transactional activities (maintaining a human resource information
system [HRIS]), the significance of HR’s contributions have become more apparent as a
business strategist with a forward-thinking, long-term global focus that includes
protecting the organization from potential risks. HR professionals have earned a seat at the
executive round table, contributing to the organization’s direction with strategic solutions
for talent management, creating organizational culture, formulating and developing
strategies, and balancing the external and internal environments to help the organization
achieve its goals. The title of chief human resource officer (CHRO) is common in
today’s large organizations—a recognition that indicates HR has come a long way up the
perceived value-added scale. In today’s globally competitive business climate, the HR role
must contribute in quantifiable business terms, outlining a return on investment (ROI)
that ensures the effective and efficient use of its human capital.

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