This article is a follow up on the same topic that was published in the issue of this newspaper for week 14 to 20 October 2021. The writer herein presents additional senior human resource practitioner (SHRP) responsibilities and duties. He/she will also expand on “communication” which was featured in the last issue.
Responsibilities and duties that were covered are as follows; the creation of a human resource department (HRD) that must carry out human resource management functions creatively and effectively, developing an effective communication strategy that supports his/her role, aligning human resource management strategies (HRMS) to business operations objectives, develop and implement a succession plan to provide for filling up vacant positions on the hierarchy, providing advisory service to management and employees, develop and implement a compensation structure fair to both management and employees and carry out all human resource management functions (HRMF).
Others included were; supervision of his/her department, institution of the disciplinary process, provision of training to personnel, introduction of a safety programme at the workplace, the provision of medical assistance, performance management system to evaluate staff performance and the formulation of human resource management (HRM) policies.
We now turn to the additions for this article:
Resolution of grievances and complaints; Both management and employees will from time to time have grievances or complaints that need attention. In certain circumstances these must be addressed urgently to avoid employees undertaking strike action or remaining disillusioned. Employees can be disillusioned and complain if management fails to pay salaries on the prescribed date and management can also complain or submit a grievance where it has information that workers are intending to sabotage equipment because of a grievance that has remained unresolved for what employees perceive correctly or wrongly to be a long time.
The SHRP must develop strategies that encourage employees to bring forward grievances or complaints immediately any of these come to surface. A grievance and complaints procedure should be part of the strategy. He/she should set a threshold which triggers a warning that an urgent investigation should be conducted to determine cause of increases in the number of grievances or complaints.
Provision of welfare service; Welfare matters are usually neglected by many organisations except where these have been regulated by government and yet these are prerequisites for an employee’s well – being. For an example an employee who has no accommodation has difficulty to find a place to rest at the end of his/her shift or day. It will be amiss to expect an employee who has not had adequate rest to return to work the following day and perform as desired.
The SHRP must treat staff welfare as an active matter on his/her department’s duties. He/she should investigate the least welfare services his/her organisation can provide to staff.
Compliance with statutory requirements; The SHRP has responsibility for ensuring that reports or returns that the government requires are filled in with the correct information and delivered to the relevant offices on stipulated dates. Examples of these are accident reports of injured employees, National Social Security Authority (NSSA) remittance advice Form P4A pension and insurance funds returns, and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZRA) pay as you earn remittance Form P2.
An organisation that fails to submit for an example, NSSA remittance advice Form P4A on the 10th of every month means that its employees are no longer covered by NSSA insurance. Where the submission of the statutory returns, are not processed by the HRD, the SHRP must ensure that the department which does so is carrying out this duty as designated.
Other statutory reports or requirements need not necessarily be submitted to government for example employee leave days payment is a statutory requirement in terms of the Labour Act Chapter 28:01. This is recorded and stored in the organisation’s files unless requested by a labour officer arising from a labour dispute between an employee and his/her employer. The SHRP must ensure that a correct record of any of these is securely stored.
Complying with statutory requirements is a regular duty that has consequences for an organisation that fails to adhered to the requirements of the law.
Interpreting policy; In the last issue of this paper, we explained that the SHRP has responsibility for formulating HRM policies. These are many and are meant to regulate the manner in which employee affairs are uniformly treated and handled. An example of a policy is the provision of school fees for employees’ children.
He/she must plan an education programme to disseminate in simple language policies affecting the various employee grades. Employees must be made to understand that some policies apply to all employees whilst others do not. For instance, motor vehicle policy usually applies to managerial employees only. Employees should understand the implications of their organisation’s policies on them.
Labour law education; Employers and employees are governed in their daily work interactions by the LA. The experience of the writer is that most organisations attempt to educate their managerial employees on the LA leaving out workers. It is a good practice though because it is managers who interpret and implement the laws, however, leaving out workers who the laws are also intended without them understanding these laws is unfair on them.
It is therefore the SHRP duty to include in his training and education programme the teaching of labour laws that pertain to the various levels of workers. Workers should be given an appreciation of the relevant labour laws. In itself understanding the laws is a deterrent to indiscipline among the majority of staff in the writer’s view and experience.
HRM metrics; At https://marketbusinessnews.com/financial-glossary/metrics-definition/ a definition of metrics is given as “Numbers and statistics that we use to measure or track performance”. It is explained that in a business, we use metrics to assess how well a department, production unit, sales team, or website has been performing. Put simply; it is a system of measurements. This definition and its explanation, show the necessity of business metrics which should interest any SHRP.
The SHRP should not only be concerned with overall business metrics but also dedicate himself/herself to developing metrics that relate to the human resource. He/she can use the metrics to demonstrate under or correct usage of the human resource. For, example “how does the salary bill compare to production achieved in a designated period” or “what is absenteeism costing an organisation” or “what difference does training provided to employees indicate against untrained personnel” or “total labour against production attained” or “tonnage produced by each employee” or “the number of accidents per employee per annum”. The metrics can be manipulated to suit any desired need.
The figures can be in ratio or percentage terms. How the metrics are used is entirely the SHRP’s prerogative or as needed by management to base decisions on. These can be recorded and compared over periods designated. They will demonstrate areas of success or needing improvement.
Feedback; The SHRP must make it his/her duty to constantly liaise with management officials, employees and employee representatives on all matters that affect the organisation. He/she must utilise the information gathered to make the workplace relationships improve work performance and reduce conflict.
He/she must not hold on to information that must be relayed to the concerned parties. Constant feedback reduces tension among stakeholders. Sudden major conflict could be traced to a poorly organised HRD whose responsibility for avoiding it lies with the SHRP.
Introspection; The SHRP must review all the functions in his/her department at his/her set periods with a view of locating areas that desired results have been achieved and work to improve those that were below expected standards. He/she must seek management and employees’ views on his/her department’s performance and attend to their concerns speedily.
The SHRP has huge responsibilities to make the workplace conducive to labour satisfying production needs so long as he/she applies himself/herself diligently and effectively to his/her duties.
The writer is a Past President of both the Zimbabwe Institute of Management (ZIM) and the Institute of People Management of Zimbabwe (IPMZ). He writes in his personal capacity.
Kingfrey Chizema MIPMZ. Hon FZIM