The administrative roles of human resource management include policy formulation and implementation, housekeeping, records maintenance, welfare administration, legal compliance etc.
i. Policy maker: The human resource manager helps management in the formation of policies governing talent acquisition and retention, wage and salary administration, welfare activities, personnel records, working conditions etc. He also helps in interpreting personnel policies in an appropriate manner.
ii. Administrative expert: The administrative role of an HR manager is heavily oriented to processing and record keeping. Maintaining employee files, and HR related databases, processing employee benefit claims, answering queries regarding leave, transport and medical facilities, submitting required reports to regulatory agencies are examples of the administrative nature of HR management. These activities must be performed efficiently and effectively to meet changing requirements of employees, customers and the government.
iii. Advisor: It is said that personnel management is not a line responsibility but a staff function. The personnel manager performs his functions by advising, suggesting, counseling and helping the line managers in discharging their responsibilities relating to grievance redressal, conflict resolution, employee selection and training. Personnel advice includes preparation of reports, communication of guidelines for the interpretation and implementation of policies, providing information regarding labor laws etc.
iv. Housekeeper: The administrative roles of a personnel manager in managing the show include recruiting, pre-employment testing, reference checking, employee surveys, time keeping, wage and salary administration, benefits and pension administration, wellness programmes, maintenance of records etc.
v. Counselor: The personnel manager discusses various problems of the employees relating to work, career, their supervisors, colleagues, health, family, financial, social, etc. and advises them on minimizing and overcoming problems, if any.
vi. Welfare officer: Personnel manager is expected to be the Welfare Officer of the company. As a Welfare officer he provides and maintains (on behalf of the company) canteens, hospitals, creches, educational institutes, clubs, libraries, conveyance facilities, co-operative credit societies and consumer stores. Under the Factories Act, Welfare officers are expected to take care of safety, health and welfare of employees. The HR managers are often asked to oversee if everything is in line with the company legislation and stipulation.
vii. Legal consultant: Personnel manager plays a role of grievance handling, settling of disputes, handling disciplinary cases, doing collective bargaining, enabling the process of joint consultation, interpretation and implementation of various labor laws, contacting lawyers regarding court cases, filing suits in labor courts, industrial tribunals, civil courts and the like.
In some organizations, the above administrative functions are being outsourced to external providers in recent times, with a view to increasing efficiency as also cutting operational costs. Technology is being put to good use to automate many of the administrative tasks.
These roles are tactical in nature and include recruiting, training and developing employees; coordinating HR activities with the actions of managers and supervisors throughout the organization and resolving differences between employees.
i. Recruiter: “Winning the war for talent” has become an important job of HR
managers in recent times in view of the growing competition for people possessing requisite knowledge, skills and experience. HR managers have to use their experience to good effect while laying down lucrative career paths to new recruits without, increasing the financial burden to the company.
ii. Trainer developer, motivator: Apart from talent acquisition, talent retention is also important. To this end, HR managers have to find skill deficiencies from time to time, offer meaningful training opportunities, and bring out the latent potential of people through intrinsic and extrinsic rewards which are valued by employees.
iii. Coordinator/linking pin: The HR manager is often deputed to act as a linking pin between various divisions/departments of an organization. The whole exercise is meant to develop rapport with divisional heads, using PR and communication skills of HR executives to the maximum possible extent.
iv. Mediator: The personnel manager acts as a mediator in case of friction between two employees, groups of employees, superiors and subordinates and employees and management with the sole objective of maintaining industrial harmony.
v. Employee champion: HR managers have traditionally been viewed as ‘company morale officers’ or employee advocates. Liberalisation, privatisation and globalization pressures have changed the situation dramatically HR professionals have had to move closer to the hearts of employees in their own self interest. To deliver results they are now seriously preoccupied with:
l Placing people on the right job.
l Charting a suitable career path for each employee.
l Rewarding creditable performance.
l Resolving differences between employees and groups smoothly. l Adopting family-friendly policies.
l Ensuring fair and equitable treatment to all people regardless of their background. l Striking a happy balance between the employee’s
personal/professional as also the larger organisational needs. l Representing workers’ issues, problems and concerns to the management in order to deliver effective results HR managers have to treat their employees as valuable assets. Such an approach helps to ensure that HR practices and principles are in sync with the organisation’s overall strategy. It forces the organisation to invest in its best employees and ensure that performance standards are not compromised.
An organisation’s success increasingly depends on the knowledge, skills and abilities of its employees, particularly as they help establish a set of core competencies (activities that the firm performs especially well when compared to its competitors and through which the firm adds value to its goods and services over a long period of time, e.g. ONGC ‘s oil exploration capabilities and Dell’s ability to deliver low cost, high-quality computers at an amazing speed) that distinguish an organisation from its competitors.
When employees’ talents are valuable, rare, difficult to imitate and organised, a firm can achieve sustained competitive advantage through its people. The strategic role of HR management focuses attention on how to enable ordinary employees to turn out extraordinary performance, taking care of their ever-changing expectations.
The key areas of attention in this era of global competition include effective management of key Resources (employees, technology, work processes), while delivering cost effective, valueenhancing solution.