After working for five years in a company, Rakib Hasan (pseudonym) was expecting a pay raise. When his expectations did not meet, all his frustrations fell on the Human Resources (HR) department of the company. In a different context, when the company made a huge profit through sales in a year, all the departments -- marketing, sales, finance, operations got their fair share of appreciation but the HR department didn't. What do they do anyway?
In the corporate world, these are some common scenarios amid many other misconceptions where the HR department suffers. This eventually questions the significance of the HR department, especially when the corporate hierarchy of most modern companies is comparatively flatter than before. Nonetheless, the actual job of the Human Resource department is to balance the company's profit with its people's or human resource's benefit. In recent years, Human Resources has come out of the shell of its traditional regulations of hiring, monitoring, and firing. Now the companies are service providers to their employees as well making them liable for making the organisational culture suitable for every employee to fit in.
Even when there are no hierarchical boundaries, a team is needed to ensure the fluid people relationship across teams and departments and create a positive dynamic. For this, the HR department needs to connect all the employees bringing the best collective outcome. Gone are the days where the only goal of the HR department was to minimise employee costs while maximising their outputs. HR has to facilitate the growth of an employee in his/her career and create a positive experience for the employee.
Regarding the relevance of the HR department in a corporation, Anindita Atoshi, HR intern at Unilever Bangladesh Limited, pointed out an important aspect, "In a world where everything is uncertain and industries are dynamic to prepare the employees and to maintain the balance of the organisation, an HR department is important."
A company should aim at giving its employees the best possible facilities to bring out their best potential and that is exactly where the HR department comes in.
About the negative mindset towards the HR department, Anindita added, "Employees often think the HR department's main work is evaluation, hence there are the fear and distance. It is critical to establish a trusted channel of communication and to let the employees know how important their feedback is for HR to create a better workplace for the employees." If the HR department succeeds in providing accurate reasons for its steps towards each employee followed by a guideline to ways of improvement, the perception is meant to change. In fact, nowadays the HR department works alongside other departments as business partners to accommodate their needs in particular cases.
HR practices are multifaceted now and are constantly changing to fit the current global trends in the business world. With that tide, many of the local companies of Bangladesh are changing their traditional way of running human resources and working simultaneously in multiple areas. The HR departments of many companies are now focusing on innovative ways of talent acquisition, in-house training process, and more constructive feedback providing, promoting the right balance of mental and physical health in the workplace, ensuring safety and adequate rewards and benefits for the employees.
Mohammad Arefin Chowdhury from the HR Tech and Talent Team of Robi Axiata Limited gave a clearer picture of such a trend, "HR has more aspects than just hiring employees. They are responsible for developing employees, shaping the organisation's culture, designing performance-based reward systems, and partnering with all departments to cater to their resourcing needs."
In this era of technological revolution, HR practices demand the touch of tech for the convenience of employees. Impressively, a lot of organisations are successfully converting all of their regular as well as particular HR tasks into digital processes like employee attendance and training sessions held online. Due to the pandemic, this digitisation has become a necessity. As Arefin said, "We also have a team for digitising and automating HR processes for bringing HR tools at the fingertips of our employees. Using our existing capacities as a digital telco, it was easier to digitise the HR processes."
For final thoughts, we can say that it is impossible to drive away from the need for an HR department in a corporation no matter how automated the operations become. However, what will become obsolete is the traditional practices of HR from hiring to training. Instead, the old practice will be replaced by newer and more inclusive methods that put the comfort and growth of individuals first.
The writer is a sophomore at IBA, University of Dhaka.