Saturday 20th May 2023 was World HR Day, and we are all elated for yet another annual celebration that is gaining ground among HR practitioners – especially in Ghana. Today, HR is a science with formulae and methods to measure productivity or performance of the workforce, their output, return on investment, revenue and business progress.
In today’s world we see the increasing rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which has become inevitable in society. The presence of AI is perceived by experts, with varied lenses, as a necessary blessing and also a curse to humanity. AI is seen as a means to greater productivity but also a threat to jobs being done by humans. Many industries will achieve a breakthrough in research, invention and creativity with the use of AI; and will boost both a higher level of productivity and return on investment, but with a price to pay in job cuts.
Many are worried that the invasion of AI will lead to a lot of job losses; however, this may not be in immediate communal and relationship-based societies where a lot of the interactions are more human and based on the development of personal interactions and relationships.
The Human Resource (HR) practitioner must draw up, implement and insist on policy adherence, rules and processes which at times leads to application of sanctions. Training is also critical in the growth and career development of the person ultimately achieving company goals and plans, and it is the responsibility of HR to work with Line Managers to make this possible. Deloitte’s study (2020) shows that investing in employee training can improve retention rates by 10 percent.
In marking World HR Day, this article seeks to provide insight into some core activities that are critical to the Human Resource function.
In any business operation, effective communication is crucial – and the HR department is no exception. Communication plays a critical role in managing employee relationships, resolving conflicts and promoting employee engagement in an organisation. Communication in HR can take various forms including face-to-face meetings, written correspondence, digital messaging, and training programmes.
Effective HR communication is crucial for engaging employees. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that good communication is crucial for employee engagement and well-being. HR professionals can foster engagement by providing regular updates, responding promptly to concerns, and ensuring that employees feel valued. Social events, recognition programmes, and training opportunities can also boost engagement.
HR must communicate to engage employees, resolve conflicts, provide training and development opportunities, and ensure legal compliance. As such, HR professionals must continually develop their communication skills to be effective in their roles. Effective communication is critical to the success of HR operations.
Events in HR
HR events are critical in promoting the overall success of an organisation. These events are designed to support the development and growth of employees, facilitate team-building, and foster a culture of collaboration and inclusivity. This is to highlight the importance of HR events and provide examples of events that are commonly held in organisations.
Apart from employee engagement and bonding which fosters unity, successful team-building takes place – leading to better understanding and collaboration among workers irrespective of their level on the work structure or reporting lines. This leads to learning and development of careers, upgrade in skills and mentorship; sometimes without the people realising it. Training on the job take place, developing workers into leaders of the future business.
Ensuring health and safety at the workplace as an HR practitioner
Ensuring safety and a healthy work environment is crucial for the well-being of employees and the overall success of an organisation. A company that prioritises health and safety not only reduces the risk of illnesses and injuries, but also enhances employee morale, productivity and job satisfaction. Protection against accidents, injuries and illnesses: A well-implemented health and safety environment prevents workplace accidents, reduces the risk of injuries and illnesses, and safeguards employees from occupational hazards. Establishing clear communication channels for reporting (potential) hazards, injuries and illnesses is encouraged, leading to problem-solving.
Performance management is a corporate management tool that helps managers monitor and evaluate employees’ performance. Performance management’s goal is to create an environment where people can perform to the best of their abilities and produce the highest-quality work most efficiently and effectively.
In practice, performance management means that management is consistently working to develop their employees, establish clear goals, and offer consistent feedback throughout the year. For the HR department, performance management is an important system for developing and retaining employees, as well as reviewing their performance.
Additionally, it provides an opportunity for exchanging feedback between a staff and the line manager, fostering communication and feelings of inclusiveness. It increases employee-retention because higher performers are identified and rewarded. Those staff who need help will then be assisted with training initiatives to help build them up. The goal is to boost productivity and instil the right feeling of values in the staff member, so that they are appreciated and encouraged to improve their skills – thus growing in their careers.
Annual leave & its relevance to work
The concept of leave is one that has been around for a very long time, and its importance cannot be overstated. In many countries, including Ghana, laws have been put in place to ensure that workers are entitled to a certain number of days off work each year. In Ghana, the Labour Act 651 (20) clearly states that employees should be given some days from work.
There are several types of leave, including annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, and paternity leave – and the number of days differ from one organisation to another. Many studies have shown that overworking can lead to burn-out – which is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. When employees take time off work, they are able to recharge and rejuvenate their minds and bodies; which allows them to return to work with renewed energy and focus.
This in turn leads to increased productivity and better overall performance. Taking leave from work also provides employees with an opportunity to spend time with their families and loved ones, pursue hobbies and interests, and travel. All of these activities help to promote a healthy work-life balance, which is essential for maintaining good mental health.
It is imperative for employers to understand the relevance of providing their employees with adequate leave entitlements and employees must adhere to their organisational processes on taking leave to ensure that leave days are fully observed without interruptions and work-flow is smooth.
The future is bright for HR practitioners, and we have to improve our skills; re-examine the way we function in our various organisations so we get involved in the various businesses; and understand the core business of organisations where we work in order to provide better service to the line managers and departments that need it. This will ultimately make the organisation build a better culture and be an employer of choice.
As we celebrate HR practice, let’s aim to touch lives, businesses and communities.
>>>Article by Global Media Alliance’s HR Team: Fafa Gbeho, Benjamin Coffie, Vida Osei Bonsu, Sweety Stella Aklika, Christiana Berko & Portia Laryea