“…we need a new member of staff, the personnel department has to write a job advertisement.“
This is how the personnel work usually begins, as the Personnel Department accompanies a new employee already before he is employed. And this is how the Human Resources employee discusses and agrees with the different departments, phrases an advertisement for the homepage, the newspaper, a job exchange or briefs a recruitment consultant, assorts the incoming applications, prepares a shortlist of suitable applicants, again discusses and agrees with the different departments regarding possible dates for job interviews and accompanies and documents the job interviews at least.
After selecting a new employee, it is up to the Personnel Department to prepare the labour contract and where necessary conduct negotiations (within the limits).
When the new member of staff is finally employed the Personnel Department usually is the first place to go. Corresponding information are handed out and the candidate is brought to the department.
Usually the Personnel Department is responsible for further trainings. Therefore, the department takes the decision which provider of further trainings is appropriate for the company. Eventually seminars are communicated and organised by the Human Resources Department.
In the case of an employee generating a blunder, the Human Resources Department needs to be involved as consultant who supports the departments with preparing the necessary staff sanctions, eventually provide key data (e.g. the incapacity to work quota), supports and accompanies the department in personnel talks.
If all this still leads to a breakup, it is up to the Personnel Department to accompany the termination interview and finally provide the employee with the notice of termination.
In many cases the end of labour is upon retirement. At any rate, the friendly face of a staff member from the Personnel Department is the last company image which is presented to the leaving employee.
Therefore, Human Resources is the Department which accompanies the employee from the beginning to the end.
Especially in the shopfitting industry this task means a peculiarity, as the Personnel Department has to deal with many different types of people, like people who act very creative, as they deal with planning and conceptual design, or with process oriented Project Managers who always are under time pressure and have only little time for “any personnel programs“. There are employees from the Construction Departments who are always out and about, sometimes even internationally, where local and legal regulations need to be considered.
The essential components of Human Resources Management are:
Change Management is the systematic design and supervision of planned (pending) changes in organisations. The Human Resources Department operates as supporter of executives and actively assists to execute the reflection of its own role as executive in past and future Change Management processes. Change Mangement staff who are affected by a change, require communication and support or even the supervision for these issues. It is to divide into:
- Intra personnel issues
How we individually experience change and react to it.
- Inter personnel issues
How we interact with others while leading through changes.
The respective executive has the key role here. The HR Department is a close companion during the whole process and should be involved in the planning of such processes.
In times of skills shortages recruiting activities are looming large. The HR Department often holds intern interviews to find out which tasks need to be fulfilled and therefore, which competences are necessary to fulfil these tasks. Finally the HR Department ensures the active search process, consults the departments regarding the applicant selection and accompanies and documents the job interviews. Oftentimes the staff members of the Personnel Department are the moving spirit of the departments, so that necessary decisions regarding the candidate selection are taken, as the decision which candidate is the right one is up to the head of the department. If the decision taking concerning the selection of a candidate takes too long, it often appears that the respective candidate already decided in favour of another company.
A payroll does not only consist of details of the billing period and composition of earnings, but also provides particular information about the type and amount of surcharges, bonuses, other compensation, form and amount of deductions, progress payments and cash advances. In the case of questions appearing regarding the pay slip the Personnel Department is admonished to consult the people and help with expertise information to provide a useful advice. The Personnel Department records and processes relevant information for each member of staff, so that the figures at the end of an accounting period are coherent.
Planning and executing company internal trainings is often undertaken by the Personnel Department (e.g. Human Resources Development). It is important to interview the individual departments according to the need for further education (e.g. in the field of communication, foreign languages or IT- applications), to finally establish tailored education programs. The overview of the immense further education market, the acquisition of offers, the briefing of trainers and finally the supervision of realising company internal programs still belong to the responsibilities of the Personnel Department.
An employee of the Personnel Department again and again comes across the topic labour law, when e.g. a termination happens because of illness or behaviour-based, or to learn how a written warning is correctly phrased. Even if it comes to topics like workplace engineering or job advertisements, or negotiations with the works council are ahead and the common Works Council Constitution Act plays its part in such talks, labour law is a permanent companion of the Personnel Department.
Oftentimes the HR Department determines the system after which the enterprise plans and controls personnel expenditures and positions. A close collaboration with the company’s Controlling is necessary here. The personnel expenditures shall be booked to the respective cost centre. Here e.g. time type keys or labour cost types play a decisive role. It is also important which personnel expenditures (e.g. costs for further education or for job search) are planned or may accrue besides the actual labour costs.
Agreement on objectives
It is easy to find an objective, but it is not easy to build the instrument for fulfilling the objectives. The HR Department is consistently supervising the development, training and support of objective agreements. It is important for the organisation to express objectives so that they are measurable, as a head of department and a member of staff should always be able to comprehend the degree of objective agreement. Therefore the acceptance of this very useful tool can contribute to motivation and operating results. The regulatory framework which needs to be considered when implementing such programs, only represents a small part of the responsibilities of the HR Department.
The Personnel Department often deals with employer branding, to that effect that the representative effect is preserved. These company strategic actions where marketing concepts – especially branding – are used to portray a company as attractive employer and silhouettes itself from competitors on the labour market are an important factor for recruiting. Given the more and more increasing personnel and skills shortage in retail, many shopfitters and trading companies, or even consumer goods producers use this strategic instrument to position themselves as attractive employer and therefore achieve a contribution to recruitment and employee loyalty.
Health management is engaged in labour conditions and the environment of the workplace, but also often integrates with the HR Department. If health and motivation of the staff is supported on the one hand, the productivity, product and service quality of a company will increase on the other hand. As it is important to communicate the performed actions, employer branding is included as well. The Personnel Department often contributes here, as legal aspects and the diverse needs of employees, who are employed in various operative parts, need to be considered.