Not so long ago, human resource (HR) professionals were viewed as the long-armed police of upper management that pushed around a lot of paper. But the times are a changing.
Today’s HR professional must meet the rapidly evolving needs of the organization – and they have to become more adaptable, resilient, and customer-centered, and be able to change direction quickly to be successful.
Within this new environment, the HR professional is a strategic partner, an employee sponsor or advocate and a change mentor.
“Certainly, service for an HR department is first and foremost,” says Walter Watts, training professional for the HR department at Sycuan Casino and Resort. “Yes, you have a lot of functions that you need to perform, but you also are delivering those functions, too.”
Among the most important functions is setting the standard for how others perceive the business of HR. “You have to look at service first and how to communicate and deliver things to people in such a way that people feel good about your organization,” says Watts. “And, no matter what profession it is, education gives you a foundation. Education keeps you up-to date on what’s going on and it also allows you to be much more forward thinking.”
Things today change so rapidly. Take the social media aspect and how it affects customer service. If someone has a problem, that individual is likely to tell 20 other people, but with social media one can multiply into 100.
“Education and understanding the changes are important for everybody, especially anybody who’s going to work in HR,” says Watts.
“I think the reason for communication is connecting on a much different level now. I’ve got friends who are school teachers and they talk about students texting and the language that they use.”
Watts does warn that even though there is heightened use of technology, the personal aspect of HR still exists. “People still want that interface of talking with a real person, and technology does cost a lot of money and not every organization has the funds to install it. On the other hand, many organizations actually hire people to manage Twitter and Facebook accounts. All these things play a part in how your HR function runs,” he concludes.