The HR team works in a pattern in which the managers of each function reports to the HR Director: recruitment, administration usually together with payroll, training usually together with development, industrial relations and compensation and benefits, often shortened to Comp&Ben. So, an orga chart of 5 teams. Here is what they do:
Recruitment manages the selection of candidates to cover the vacant positions, decides together with the hiring manager on the profile of the candidate, the adequate recruitment channel to be used and the message which correctly communicates the role. Recruitment team monitors the process so as it ends with presenting an offer to the candidate who is the best fit with the manager’s expectations and the requirements of the role.
We hear a lot of talk about “the best candidate”. In my experience, the right candidate is not always the right one. One may be the best candidate as one has all the skills or expertise required in the job ad or because one wants the job the most. But the right candidate is the one who understands correctly what the role entails and what the company expects from him or her and agrees with that, is willing to fulfill those expectations and thinks that the company, at its best and at its worst, responds to his or her expectations. So for me the right candidate is the one who best fits with the organizational culture and will integrate in the team.
Administration is responsible for the relationship with the employees related to all issues of employment, from the moment the offer is accepted to the moment the work contract is closed: changes in personal data, granting of bonuses, salary increases, all changes in the work contract, all certifications needed, attesting to the employment, to the salary, seniority and insurance, suspension of the labor contract for maternity or any other reasons. Admin team is in fact dressing up with papers all the changes and evolutions occurring throughout the employment relationship.
Payroll is responsible with salary calculations, takes into account the medical leaves, the suspensions, the overtime, offers details and explanations related to the payroll calculation and pay slips, manages the timesheets and the reporting to the state authorities related to all documents required to be submitted so as to allow payment of salary related taxes.
Training team identifies the need for training and provides classes, courses, programs and solutions to address those needs for each employee, to the extent to which they are correlated to the company’s expectations from the role of the respective employee. To be more precise, companies will be willing to offer English lessons or Excel courses to employees if they need them in order to properly carry out their duties but will not agree to sponsor MBAs for entry level employees just because that is what people would like. Training teams often manage the performance appraisal process, if such a process is implemented. Ideally, it allows not only for as objective an evaluation as it is possible of the level of performance of employees, but also it facilitates the identification of their individual training needs.
Development goes further and finds specialized ways to offer solutions for the employees to develop, grow and improve their knowledge and skills allowing them to occupy other roles in the organizations, vertically or horizontally. It is a proven retention method and it is also very useful in the process of naming and training successors. The development team thrives when working on career path, talent pool, succession planning and key people retention.
Comp&Ben manages the HR budget, the criteria for granting salary increases (equity, competitiveness), market salary surveys, annual bonuses, incentive schemes designed internally to address the company’s particular need to reward certain behaviors or specific sales indicators. Comp@Ben also manages the financial and non-financial benefits granted to employees. This area has developed significantly over the past few years and companies, really trying to motivate people started offering them meal tickets, phones, cars, medical insurance and then gradually upped the offers to more and more, up to books in the office, fresh fruit baskets, massage in the office and access to gyms and so on. After the pandemic, I hope that with all that we learned, all these will be completed by the opportunity to access more the option to work remotely, for a plus in flexibility and autonomy.
Industrial relations are the area of HR that no one wants as here we talk about restructuring, disciplinary hearings, performance evaluation hearings when the employee is underperforming, internal policies and procedures, code of conduct, whistleblowing, the relationship with the trade unions or social partners. In these roles you will find mostly legal extraction professionals or HR experts passionate about labor law.
But looking beyond the formal roles of these teams, their value resides in humans and their human qualities. As I look at all the teams I led, in my experience the recruitment team has seen everything and has had such diverse interviews that nothing can surprise them anymore, the admin&payroll team is the virtual shoulder that all employees come to cry on and who knows if anyone is thinking of leaving the organization sometimes even before that person articulates the thought, the training team creates, innovates and is always thinking about new ways in which they can deliver a message in a way that’s captivating to the audience, the development team looks at each soldier and sees a Marshall, constantly following the progress of everyone and their potential, the comp&ben team are masters of Excel and pivots and the industrial relations team are highly skilled professionals with expertise in several HR areas and experience in real life, accumulated in difficult and confidential “battles”.
This structure of the HR team, with all functions reporting to the HR Director is one of the two most widely spread models of HR delivery. The other one has been introduced for the first time in 1997 and will be the topic of the next article. Stay tuned!