Why every business needs effective HR support


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Over the past few decades, the role of HR has greatly expanded and evolved from the light “personnel” touch to the highly valued and critical HR (human resources) model. One aspect is that HR oversees and facilitates employee onboarding, which includes recruiting, interviewing, and hiring. But the relationship with staff only begins here. HR, when executed well, is the link between a company’s management and their employees, helping to maintain company culture and create a safe working environment with the opportunity to develop and grow a career within the business. HR resources also ensures the day-to-day business continues on a smooth and harmonious path.

The role of HR in the modern workplace

Creating and maintaining a positive business culture is of course more than words and a distant objective. HR is central to making this a reality through the continuous improvement of employee engagement, productivity, and development. Managing people from all different business areas and backgrounds requires diplomacy and tact – soft skills which many senior leaders find tricky to navigate but are part of the package with a solid HR department. But if there’s no robust HR framework in place, or there is one but it falls short in certain areas, there is a risk of both employee negativity and alienation, which can impact the wider success and profitability of the business.

With this level of HR excellence in mind, Howden has been fortunate to add AHR Consultants to its portfolio of services and schemes. Clients who wish to outsource their whole HR programme or just elements of it, can now engage the specialist people skills of the Howden team (enriched by those from AHR Consultants) to implement best HR practice and improve what’s already in place.

How a good HR team can solve common employee and workplace issues

The most typical issues that are part of HR’s remit are the deployment of employment law and the slew of problems that an employee may face, from cases of work-related stress to the possibility of workplace bullying or intimidation. While employment legislation and documented procedure may sometimes look like a very different area to individual staff issues, a strong and knowledgeable HR team will understand how one can affect the other. Therefore, underpinning any good HR programme, you will need policies and procedures that extensively cover the following categories: 

  1. Documentation and compliance
  2. Recruitment and selection
  3. Learning and development
  4. Performance management
  5. Disciplinary and grievance 
  6. Equality and discrimination

Having these foundations of good HR practice isn’t just advisable – it’s essential. Even without just one of these, HR can slip into bad behaviours, leaving both employees and management feeling unsupported and confused, which in turn will impact business performance. Thanks to social media, an internal incident that becomes common knowledge may quickly escalate into a more wide-scale situation, creating reputational damage. This may cause current employees to reconsider their place in the company if morale declines, and additionally deter potential talent from joining.

The benefits of partnering with an HR consultancy

For many organisations facing specific and difficult challenges, utilising the services of an HR consultancy takes the weight off the shoulders of those directly employed by the business. This is especially relevant if perhaps the internal HR department is in some way involved.

Howden has the history, experience, and bank of solutions to work with your business, delivering tailored outcomes and programmes any time you need additional support and expertise.

We also know that one size doesn’t fit all, so our methodology is to really get to know each and every client so we can identify problems and start to predict where future issue may arise.

By connecting our solutions to related risk, the pressures associated with the commercial environment, and the existing cultural values of your business, we deliver value-rich outcomes while also developing an authentic relationship with you and your people.

Below are just some of our typical support scenarios, and the benefits that come with working with us:

  • Impartial, thorough, and fair on-site investigation and support with disciplinary, grievance, and performance management issues
  • Delivery of HR due diligence, and dealing with the HR implications of acquisitions and disposals regulated by TUPE regulations
  • Management of redundancy programmes, including collective consultations, meaning internal management can keep an objective distance and focus on the longer-term business plans
  • Development and delivery of bespoke training programmes to ensure your senior teams are equipped and motivated to deliver their best selves in the workplace
  • Rolling out recruitment and selection exercises so you can choose the very best candidates for each role
  • Provision of end-to-end HR audits, to ensure your own HR team is as effective as it can be
  • Delivery of diplomacy and negotiation strategies to reach settlement agreements at all levels

HR, People, Personnel – whatever you choose to call that department – remains the heartbeat of almost every organisation, regardless of size. In order to keep it healthy and accountable (especially if there are challenges around redundancy, employment law, or workplace changes) to both leadership and employees, the assistance of a specialist outside consultancy can be the missing element of your toolkit.

If you already have a specific HR project in mind, or would like to know more about how we can support your business through our HR consultancy services, visit Howden Risk Management.