HR, the most important resource a company has

Probably the most important resource a company has is the people who work within it because they are the main core way a company can create competitive advantage.  How human resources are dealt with and organized directly affects a how well a company performs (Lussier and Hendon 2022: p. 4).  Most businesses in any given industry have the same ability to produce the same quality of products, but the way they treat their employees can vary drastically and this is how human resource management has become such an effective arena for creating value in a business.  In the past, human resources was considered to be an easy management job and was really more of a cost center of a business and a division that simply administratively had to exist almost just clerically, but now human resources is considered to be much more of a revenue center that generates revenue and profit in an indirect way (p. 5).

Employee engagement is one of the key elements in human resource management. With higher employee engagement there is, according to a recent Gallup meta-analysis, for a business in the top 25% rating of employee engagement, a 41% lower employee absenteeism; 40% fewer product defects; 70% fewer safety incidents and 21% higher profitability than seen in a bottom 25% business (p. 5).  This means that with proper focus on employee engagement within the human resource management group of a business, there is a much more effective use of employee technical skills, interpersonal skills, conceptual and design skills and business skills, making HRM one of the most important elements of business to study.

To properly discharge the duties of a human resource manager, there are a whole set of technical skills which must be mastered and are included in the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) technical expertise competency (p. 13).  Technical skills are defined as: “the ability to use methods and techniques to perform a task” (p. 13) and in HRM they are the easiest to develop.  Technical skills for HRM include: knowledge of the laws, rules and regulations of HR, computer skills, interviewing skills, training knowledge and skills, performance appraisal process techniques, and culture skills (p. 13).  These are baseline skills that are built upon in HRM to develop Interpersonal Skills, Conceptual and Design Skills and Business Skills so that HRM professionals can help employees engage more fully with their jobs and increase the efficiency of the business.

Interpersonal skills in HRM are defined as: “the ability to understand, communicate, and work well with individuals and groups through developing effective relationships” (p. 13).  To complete job tasks, employees must rely on the resources of other people inside the business and outside the business (p. 13).  HR managers must have strong interpersonal skills and develop empathy to lead employees while not being gullible and automatically believing a sob story (p. 14).  Empathy requires the ability to understand what another person is feeling while still remaining detached (p. 14).  SHRM has an interpersonal proficiency inside of their competency model that identifies the skill set required in HRM and it includes the ability to work well with others, the ability to work in teams, the ability to persuade others, the ability to mediate and resolve conflicts, the ability to gather information from others, and the ability to jointly analyze, negotiate, and come to a collective decision (p. 14).  Using interpersonal skills is in a way the HRM professional’s ability to deliver the rest of their skills to the employees and to the business so that employees can engage better with their jobs and so that the business can be more profitable.

Conceptual and design skills in HRM are defined as: “the ability to evaluate a situation, identify alternatives, select a reasonable alternative, and make a decision to implement a solution to a problem” (p. 14).  Organizations place a premium on being able to trust that their leaders will make proper decisions in the course of their days at work and therefore businesses train their employees to improve their decision making skills because today’s decisions will have ramifications for years (p. 14).  Because this is true, it is very important that an HRM professional has to have the ability to understand and conceptualize what is actually happening in a business as far as it’s processes and big picture concepts that guide operations (p. 14).  A big part of conceptualization and design is making sure to stay within the limits of what a business is supposed to be doing and the flip side of that is making sure to actually complete the tasks that the business is supposed to be doing (p. 14).  Design skills entail putting together solutions for the problems that have been identified using conceptual skills and SHRM leadership proficiency competency deals with Conceptual and Design skills (p. 14).  Understanding concept issues and coming up with solutions keeps people in a business engaged with their jobs and keeps businesses from having to train new workers because it is possible to keep skilled workers longer this way.

Business skills in HRM are defined as: “the analytical and quantitative skills, including in-depth knowledge of how the business works and its budgeting and strategic-planning processes, that are necessary for a manager to understand and contribute to the profitability of the organization” (p. 14).  The SHRM business-oriented proficiency competency is competency that includes these business skills and they are on the easier end of the spectrum to develop the same way technical skills are (p. 14).  Understanding the technology, the business processes, the financial issues, industrial issues and organizational issues of a business are required of HRM professionals if they want to be proficient at their work in human resources (p. 14).  Without a broad knowledge of general business skills and issues, concepts, designs and interpersonal skills will not have their proper context.

To help a business be more profitable and efficient, the HRM professional must develop a set of different categorical skills in order to keep employees engages in their work.  Engaged employees are more profitable for longer and cost less and simply add exponential knowledge and skill to a business making businesses more valuable to their shareholders and to their clients and customers.  Technical skills, interpersonal skills, conceptual and design skills and business skills each have their own SHRM competency categories and it is a must that HRM professionals think about daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and career long issues and goals along the lines of these categories if they are to truly demonstrate that HR has moved from a cost center to a revenue center as a part of business.

Bibliographic Information

Lussier and Hendon (2022). Human Resource Management, Functions, Applications, and Skill Development (4th ed., pp. 2-33). Sage.