Although the role of the Human Resources office can still be limited within some organizations, in my experience, it is in both the best interests of the company and the staff to have a Human Resources department. The work of theorists Maslow, McGregor and Likert give great insight as to what issues modern day Human Resources departments should be addressing.
The non-profit that I volunteered and worked at for almost 10 years did not have a Human Resources department when I first became involved with this organization. I am not sure that they would have ever realized the need without the organization’s participation in a strategic development grant gifted to our organization by the company IBM.Upon completion of the grant, the IBM team gave our organization a long list of strategies to implement for organizational growth and advancement.
There was a lot of information shared, but the largest red flag that our organization was cited with was the critical need for a Human Resources department. Evidently, there were many abuses occurring in our organization. Most employees were working for years with outdated job descriptions, no annual reviews and going years without raises. In addition to the previously stated challenges, there were large pay gaps between female and male employees that performed the same duties.
The review team discovered employee morale was low and very few of the staff’s basic needs were being met. Once an HR director was appointed one of her first objectives mirrored a portion of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs—to create a workplace…” where individuals can realize their full potential and remain continually motivated to do so” (Eisenberg, Goodall, Trethewey, 2014, p. 83).
The team also noted several abuses in power due to what can best be described by Likert’s principle of supportive relations (p.85). The overall organizational management style was cited as primarily exploitative/authoritative and the HR director made it a core objective to development more open communication between the management and staff. Unfortunately, at the time of my exit, the staff were still experiencing many of the same issues as before the HR department was created.
Have you ever had a Human Resources officer help resolve an issue for you?
Eisenberg, E. M., Goodall, H.L. Jr., & Trethewey, A. (2014). Organizational communication: Balancing creativity and constraint. 7th Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.