Recently the Human Resources function is witnessing an exception due to the growing importance of the human factor in companies. However, it is essential to insist that the human factor is not the most important thing in the company: the human factor is the company.
From a typically administrative orientation of the personnel function, the human resources management has moved to a strategic orientation inserted in an economic and social context. The administrative dimension was characterized by a low integration of the personnel area in the management of the company; therefore, human resources were a second-order issue, since the role was shared by other areas, such as production and finance, a consequence of a competitive economy. The companies that were leaders in the eighties won the battles related to productivity and quality. The company from the nineties and the one for the 21st century is a moving company capable of anticipating, adapting and transforming permanently. An organization formed by people with a common or duly agreed philosophy that will be characterized by work efficiency and satisfaction. Consequently, HR is so important to the organization that it cannot be separated from the general managerial function; people management is everyone's business.
In this context, the role of the HRD (Human Resources Department) is of particular interest and those responsible for the HR function face the challenge of adapting to the changing needs of organizations, clearly providing added value with their function in the companies.
From an organizational perspective, HR tends to:
- manage performance;
- manage knowledge;
- improve the results;
- create organizational environments in which the working person develops his/her career, and
- create communicative and information management spaces.
Companies should tend to decentralize the role of HR and be encouraged to develop teamwork, develop participatory systems, and above all, promote creativity and participation of all in order to achieve a continuous improvement of the organization.
The HR department is no longer the "Cinderella" of the company's organizational chart, dedicated almost exclusively to bureaucratic functions, such as payroll payments. The HR department must co-star with the management in obtaining better productivity by reconciling terms such as quality, efficiency and profitability. The HR department is a living and proactive entity that is provoking changes. That means gaining recognition and respect from other departments and areas as well as that of general management. This will be achieved from the utility and productivity of the work performed and its sum to the total productivity of the company, although it is often difficult to assess. This will be the best guarantee to demonstrate the added value that HR departments have in companies.
A HR department is operatively organized considering the different elements that define the organization or company to which it belongs, depending on the model of its structure, the size and location of the company, the technological level, the use of the facilities, the type of management, working conditions, the level of technical training of employees, etc.
In any case, we can point out that the mission in the substantive sense of an HR department, regardless of its operational organization, will be the "planning, acquisition, maintenance and development of the human resources necessary to fulfill the business project."
The development of this mission, depending on the organizational model adopted by the HR department, will incorporate and develop different specific functions from those mentioned above, and these in turn will be carried out autonomously or shared, assuming all or partly the responsibility of leading in the company the processes of human capital management, either with internal or external resources to the department itself or to the company itself.
In the first instance, an HR department must undertake the work of planning the HR of its organization, which implies an a priori action to forecast them. Next, it must organize and schedule the staff plans, recruit staff by capturing and selecting it, internally or externally. Next, it has to establish and maintain the most appropriate working conditions and relationships for staff to develop personally and professionally. It is an ongoing process, like an endless wheel.
According to the different position of the HR department in the company, the degree of implementation and development of its policies and the content and value of the functions that said department performs, we can conceptualize the organization of the Human Resources department from three perspectives:
- Functional or administrative perspective.
- Organizational perspective.
- Strategic perspective.
Normally, these three perspectives are not mutually exclusive, but represent a natural evolution in the mission, contents and functions of the HR departments; according to the different orientation that these departments have towards each of these perspectives, the others will have a greater or lesser importance; but at this point it should be noted that the strategic perspective is the most important, given that it conceives the management of the HR function as that capable of providing added value to the company's productivity.
In principle, the HR department has a portfolio of functions, internal or external, of a certain amount of resources allocated for their realization and three organizational perspectives. Originally, HR departments were conceived as those departments that had to have ready workers payroll. They used to get lost in the "papers" and their role in the company was like that of the letter "H" in Italian that is, a mute paper. But over time we realized that we had to change «the chip», that we could not settle for the place that others had imposed on us, but that we had to fight to get our own place, not borrowed, if we wanted to be taken seriously. For this we try to learn how to value ourselves within the company. That is to say, we realized that not only was it enough to deliver quality services and products, since that made no sense if they were not incardinated in the company's strategy.
At present, the role of HR departments is much more relevant and active. Day by day this effect is verified in our companies, the result of a natural process of evolution. This evolution can be observed by the fact that many internal functions are being carried out with many resources and with an administrative perspective, to perform both external and internal functions, with few resources and with a strategic perspective; without forgetting all the variants that can be established over time. This has been how the weight of the role in the administrative perspective has been giving way to a strategic perspective
1. FUNCTIONAL / ADMINISTRATIVE PERSPECTIVE
The role of human resources has evolved from guaranteeing disciplinary and normative positions, going through a more technical stage, to prioritize personnel development policies. In this sense, before personnel departments had a bureaucratic orientation, dedicated mainly to controlling whether or not the worker followed established rules. Subsequently, the orientation of the HR departments became socio-labor and legal, performing functions related to the negotiation of working conditions and collective bargaining. Currently, the HR department is oriented to the functions that help to integrate people into the organization not as the most important resource, but as the rationale for it.
2. ORGANIZATIONAL PERSPECTIVE
In this perspective, what matters is how the HR department provides its services to the organization. The functions are still grouped, but depending on some operational areas. It is another step in evolution to prop up the foundations of the strategic vision. The HR department tries to give a quality response by involving the rest of the company, trying to reconcile the needs of the different departments with the objectives of the organization. The instruments, tools and programs for the development of HR are shared in the organization, although under the leadership of the HR department. The other departments of the company participate in the definition and application of the tool. The HR department coordinates its development and evaluates the results obtained by the rest.
3. STRATEGIC PERSPECTIVE
Looking ahead, the HR mission is conceived as a staff, advisory and consultation function, next to the company's management. It is about reducing the hierarchy that still persists in the direction of human resources, decentralizing many of the functions that until now performed in order to prioritize strategic functions. Hence, the management staff of the HR department must be the undisputed animator of the company's strategies and the implementer of new tools with a clear message: abandon the operational functions and manage the human capital of the companies, teaching the organization itself.
The role of HR aims to be rather that of a consultant inserted in an organization that learns, innovates and does not forget to meet its objectives, since its existence depends on them.