Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with HR, part of Onboarding New Hires.
To be honest, the role of human resources in the onboarding process isn't complex. It is interesting though, because it's representative of the transformation HR is now facing. More on that in just a second. First, let's be clear about HR's main responsibilities. With regard to onboarding, in most organizations they have three. The first is strategic ownership of the onboarding process. Typically this type of work is housed in HR or the talent management area, itself a function of HR. Operationally, the new hire interacts with HR only a little.
Most of the time, the new person is sourcing information on line or interacting with their boss, buddy, or mentor. However, it's HR who owns the process and works behind the scenes to ensure people are executing their roles as needed. HR reps serve as staff experts others can call for assistance with any part of the process. Next, HR will facilitate and lead the data collection process we've previously described. They're responsible for the forms and tools to be used and getting everyone familiar with how to use them.
The're responsible for scheduling data collection and communicating outward to keep people in the loop about participation. They're also responsible for data analysis and coordinating the team who occasionally works to tweak and improve the process. Finally, they play a vital role in the initial employee orientation. Having one or more reps there to explain payroll, benefits, and other relevant policies is essential to ensure your new employee starts out with a feeling of security and understanding.
In a nut shell, those are the main duties of HR in the onboarding process. That's not the real story here. HR is currently going through a fairly rapid transformation in most orgainzations. In the past, HR began as the personnel office. That's where we kept all of the forms associated with employees. In most offices this included everything associated with benefits and very often compensation. In addition, HR traditionally completes what became known as a job analysis so that new roles have job descriptions and management understands the knolwedge and skills needed for success in each role.
Over time, a never ending series of compliance concerns have been created by companies and local, state, and federal governments. These are actions that a company must undertake to formally demonstrate that they're in compliance with some rule, guideline, or law. In fact, many people view HR as a compliance bully, always asking people for some checklist or form. The rise of compliance reporting was necessary in many ways. Here's the issue.
It doesn't have to be housed in HR. There are two sides to HR today, the side focused on following rules and keeping us out of court, that's compensation, benefits, and compliance. Then there's the side of HR focused on creating more talented employees and leaders for the future. That's onboarding, training, leadership development, executive education, and so on. These two sides are completely different. HR has been making huge strides in the last few decades in terms of their people development activities with onboarding being a great example.
Honestly, HR might benefit by outsourcing the mechanical, rule following work so they can become unified around one overarching purpose, developing great talent. Onboarding is a perfect example. After hiring great talent, HR then facilitates the process of getting the person comfortable, connected, and productive. In the end, HR should be about developing people, not just following rules.
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