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Is HR Really About Hiding Behind Paperwork To Appear Busy?

Supposedly, there is this notion that much of HR activities revolve around administration, payroll, recruitment, and misconduct management of employees, such as writing show cause and or warning letters. “So what’s the fuss about claiming that they’re always busy?” If busy, with what exactly? Processing salaries or drafting letters? Well, I was once in these shoes, albeit many moons ago.

The role of HR and an hr business partner indeed has evolved over the years. It can be said that the initial focus was on recruiting, scheduling interviews, and doing the necessary administrative paperwork to support this and payroll activities. However, as organisations grew with the availability of innovative and robust HR technology platforms, it became evident that the role of HR needed to expand and align with the organisational overall strategic and human capital talent management and development.

Getting into such roles exposes you to a full spectrum of people-related elements. So what does an hr business partner do, these range from assessment of core people talent skills addressing that gap with what you have and what a business needs, what and how to develop them, or fill in with what is missing, analysing the impact and articulating what that means than moving to encourage the people to achieve a sense of belonging to deliver, and creating longer-term value. However, many “HR practitioners” fall short of such practices, let alone the mindset required to provide substantially to any corporation and stakeholders.

Where an organisation suffers from disengaged staff that may not put in their best efforts, perhaps experience tardiness, increased absenteeism, and a lack of performance that is not addressed, or the distractions of HR professionals occasioned by administrative tasks or disciplinary management focusing only on exit, then this needs urgent action and remedy.
If the problem becomes recurrent, do you keep firing until you’ve got no employees? This is where HR professionals must rise above the administrative tasks and develop strategies and proactive solutions that, in turn, will drive the desired level of belongingness, fulfilment, and productivity of the workforce aligned to organisational goals and employee value proposition. This requires time, effort, energy, and a collaborative effort from HR.

If you think an HR job is for those who don’t like to work hard, you are wrong. HR professionals, as one can imagine, are now more occupied than ever before. When I say “occupied,” I don’t mean being busy with simply paper-pushing. For instance, there was a rapid and unprecedented transition during the pandemic. Many organisations had to shift to working from home, which requires different approaches to handling and managing whilst ensuring that productivity levels were maintained and engaged. While they are concerned about their jobs, HR managers were more concerned about ensuring that employees could cope with the new change and had the right equipment to work with and support their mental wellbeing.

Another critical shift that some industries experienced was the need for HR to reassure employees of their job security and handle salary affordability matters. This problematic situation increased tensions with some loss of trust from employees in experiencing uncertainty and fragility. HR managers play a significant role here, especially in maintaining open, transparent communication and exhibiting empathy and genuineness.

HR professionals must juggle different tasks simultaneously, with some functions unrelated to the fraternity, whilst maintaining a balance. Where is the main challenge? There is no one-cap-fits-all approach to managing some of these intricate tasks. Every organisation differs in terms of mission, culture, and employee population. At the same time, it is possible to be immersed in the wrong things. You know, such a situation where you keep working hard rather than wisely, feeling like a duck paddling hard in a swift-flowing current. When wanting to show how much you work hard, many bury themselves in a long list of “to-do” tasks rather than seek help where necessary. Although HR managers get to prioritise and complete missions based on need and order of importance, they hardly have enough free time. The reason is not farfetched from the fact that they constitute one of the highly sought-after personnel in the business world.

Even if they have many helping hands, HR managers wear many hats. They are payroll managers, social coordinators of organisational activities, recruiters, trainers, counsellors, and facilities managers, and they manage the well-being of employees and the organisation.

They do many other tasks that they find difficult to connect with the job description. They still have to shuffle the hats and complete tasks related to each hat. To sum it all up, irrespective of the company size, location, or culture, today, a typical human resource professional requires strong juggling skills catering to and handling different changing priorities. This requires that the HR business partner be accommodative, agile, and flexible. However, how the HR professional can cope and manage the countless tasks and facets highly depend on their personality, work style, approach, and mindset. Amidst these duties and key responsibilities, you still have to create time to unwind, so you don’t shortchange yourself while striving to make a difference for your organisation and employees.

To explore more on HR certification in Malaysia, join our Executive Master in Human Resource Management double certification in human resources with SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) and NOCN UK (National Open College Network).

by Dr. Roy Prasad
Group CEO EDUK8U Grad School Asia | VirtuePayz Outsourcing