It is always a privilege to lead a workshop for the Pietermaritzburg and Midlands Chamber of Business. This week it was a half-day workshop on Human Resource Management (HRM).
The subject of HRM is broad, complex and, some would say, messy. In many smaller companies it is the Admin or Finance Manager, the Marketing or Ops Manager who gets the added responsibility of HR. To condense post-graduate studies and 25 years of experience into four hours is quite a challenge.
Where to start? What do we have to keep our eye on? What compliance issues are there? Help!
In a half-day workshop, we can give enough to ensure that folk new to HR know what to keep their eye on and what compliance issues there are. However, it always feel inadequate, because it is obvious that participants need so much more than a mere overview. Nonetheless, it is a helpful start, and participants are encouraged when they discover others in the same boat and are able to enlarge their network. They have an idea of the next step and where they need to focus their attention and their education.
One of the challenges faced by part timers is that they have the responsibility for HR without the authority. HR is reduced to a paper exercise — fill in the forms and make sure we comply. The strategic element underpinning our human-capital decisions is ignored or lost. Hiring, for example, becomes a fill-the-gap-quickly exercise. It’s about who we need in this position rather than about who we might need in the organisation.
One of the freebies that participants attending a Simply Communicate workshop receive is an email hotline. They are able to send any simple HR or people management query to Ian and receive help. More complex issues are dealt with as a normal consult if they wish, but the freebie for quick queries has helped dozens of past participants.
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