For any company or business establishment, managing the human resources is one of the most important functions. From handling payroll to ensuring the appropriate deployment of learning and development within a company, HR functions are far ranging and generally not clearly understood by the workforce.
From these far-reaching functions and services provided by the HR team, HRKatha tries to ascertain which are the services that employees deem the most important and valuable.
Indrani Chatterjee, CHRO, AllCargo, feels that there are two critical functions that employees expect their HR to perform diligently. First is the proper fitment of their compensation and benefits. “This includes market benchmarking, maintaining internal parity and putting employees in the right brackets,” says Chatterjee, adding that these should be considered as the most important service provided by HR to the employees.
“There are two critical functions that employees expect their HR to perform diligently. First is the proper fitment of their compensation and benefits and second, helping employees with career progression”
Indrani Chatterjee, CHRO, AllCargo
The second important function is helping employees with career progression. This means, “facilitating employees’ growth in an organisation by helping them ascertain a proper career path, showing them what is next and how to grow in the organisation”. She goes on to elaborate that the guidance would involve handling employees’ next step, “their next job within the organisation and further including succession planning for them and honing leadership skills in them.”
Chatterjee believes that talent management should ideally begin with a thorough internal assessment, where managers assess the good and the bad — strengths and weaknesses — in their team members based on immediate performance and the potential of the employee.
Here, the HR also has the capability to carry out the assessment by subjecting them to third-party assessment programmes. “Through third-party assessment, we get a report, based on which individual development programmes (IDPs) are created. These IDPs talk about how a career should progress. Managers can only help cover the technical aspect of the work, whereas HR can help them build the behavioural and leadership qualities necessary to further their career. They can generally guide them to become the best professionals in their journey,” explains Chatterjee.
“HPE takes a two-pronged approach to automation. The first is making the information about automation of a process available to all the employees. Second is implementing a 24×7 helpline called AskHR”
Sailesh Menezes, CHRO, HPE
Sachin Agarwal, head – HR, B2B E-commerce, Ajio Business, feels that the most important function of the HR in a company is dependent on the overall business strategy and business needs of the company at that point of time. “Currently, as an organisation, we are in the growth stage. We are scaling up our operation significantly. So, for us, acquisition, training and learning and development of talent become core to our business growth,” Agarwal ascertains.
He elaborates that business strategy dictates a large part of what would be the key focus area for HR in a financial year. This keeps changing year to year. “For instance, during COVID times, the key focus area for HR in our line was employee well-being — primarily providing them with adequate mental-health assistance and support. Now, when we are in a super growth phase, the process of hiring and ensuring the subsequent training of employees has become one of the most important services HR provides to the company, and hence, its employees,” he adds.
Payroll and benefits
Sailesh Menezes, CHRO, HPE, thinks that the two most important functions of HR from an employee standpoint would be payroll and benefits, and employee lifecycle management.
“Digital services is something that HR has been unable to deliver successfully, but still seems to be a key function that the employee base of many companies expect”
Praveen Purohit, deputy group CHRO, Vedanta Resources
“We have been using technology for payroll and benefits or shared services for many years now. We have automated many such processes. HPE takes a two-pronged approach to automation. The first is making the information about automation of a process available to all the employees. Second is implementing a 24×7 helpline called AskHR. An employee can bring forth any query related to these functions to the HR online,” Menezes explains.
He shares that the employee lifecycle process is also automated in the company, including maintenance of employee records, assessment, management, learning and development, and even the exit of an employee from a company. All track records are maintained by the HR.
Menezes says that the value of the HR team has increased significantly even since automation has come in to the picture. “Now, we are expected to work with the leadership to make the business more successful. It’s about business enablement. We are no more here to control, since everything that HR could control has somewhat been now automated. This has given the team more time to ensure enablement,” he points out.
Employees look at the kinds of services and facilities we provide them. In my experience, many yearn for digital systems to monitor the details pertaining to their employment benefits and service with the company,” Praveen Purohit, deputy group CHRO, Vedanta Resources, tells HRKatha.
“Business strategy dictates a large part of what would be the key focus area for HR in a financial year”
Sachin Agarwal, head – HR, B2B E-commerce, Ajio Business
He feels that employee digital services is something that HR has been unable to deliver successfully, but still seems to be a key function that the employee base of many companies expect.
“Employees look for platforms where they can manage their provident fund, insurance benefits, ESI, attendance, leave records and so on, at the click of a button. They want their employers and thus HR to provide them with a suitable platform where all of their personal issues can be tracked,” he asserts.
Sadly, not many companies have been able to provide such holistic employee dashboards. “People claim that their dashboards integrate all these services but I have rarely encountered such platforms. This, in my opinion is one of the key services that employees seek from their HR,” Purohit concludes.