A recent study by the firm of Towers Perrin on the human resources function in business came to the following conclusion – that the role of human resources is changing from a more isolated, independent department to one that is now more integrated with the other areas of the company, and one which works with managers throughout the company to help the business achieve its goals.

It used to be that human resources just handled things such as recruitment, personnel records, salary and benefits, and labor relations. It was a paper mill and counseling clinic, according to Nor Franco, an expert with more than 30 years’ experience in human resources.

But human resources now does more than just handle these employee functions. It has become a full-fledged strategic partner with other departments in the company in helping a firm achieve its goals. Training and development has acquired a new importance in beefing up the bottom line for businesses.

This has several advantages, Franco says.

In the past, employee problems and issues used to be handled by human resources, but now, with the changing role of the department, these tasks are being taken over more effectively by line managers. Employees are taking their grievances and conflicts to their managers and the managers are mediating these issues. This is a big improvement, because it is these managers who can best understand the issues affecting the workers and the context of these issues. The role of human resources now is to train the managers in how to mediate effectively and how to work to boost employee motivation.

Another advantage of these changes is that they allow the human resources department to focus more on the strategies and programs that will enable the business to become more competitive in the marketplace. Human resources can focus on bringing together and using the policies and goals of the company to make sure the business is prepared to face the challenges of its competitors.

Franco says there is no department better equipped to handle this mission than human resources. He added that as new markets develop and new businesses start, human resources will continue to evolve to meet the demands faced by these companies.

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