Many medium and larger companies opt to have a Human Resources department in-house and there are obvious good reasons for this bearing in mind people are an Organisations greatest asset but also create some of the most difficult issues.
The function of HR depends on the organisation but also the size and skills of the HR department itself. However, generally speaking, common functions will include :-
- Planning and implementing training for staff
- Employee welfare and absence management
- Health & safety
- Creating employment law policies and dealing with employment law issues arising
- Devising employee pay, pensions, other incentives and benefits
- Advising management on all of the above.
- Audit role –ensuring all HR policies are effectively complied with.
Clearly, all of the above tasks are absolutely vital in any organisation of size and depending on the size of the team, the HR department certainly have their work cut out since many of the areas detailed above require specialist knowledge which will need to be constantly updated, bearing in mind ongoing changes to employment law, Health & Safety and tax to name but a few areas.
However, what is conspicuous by absence from the above list is risk management in the broader sense. This might encompass the ability to monitor aspects of the workplace which could enable an employer to spot pending risks or threats and to pre-empt them.
The HR department will tend to have a wealth of data. As an example, higher than normal or unusual trends in staff turnover rates, if spotted early, might raise concerns about incompetent or problem management or fraud.
Additional threats are developing fast for many businesses which do not fit easily in the historical HR function. Take, for example, the fast growing trend for working remotely, either at home or generally out of the office. This presents many threats such as security of data and office equipment, the potential for moonlighting or other disloyal staff behavior and issues concerning the extent to which the employer is entitled to monitor the employee whilst not in the office.
In many cases, risks and necessary controls are natural bedfellows for the traditional HR function, but generally, these are not part of the typical HR function, especially in companies which have become big enough to need an HR department but not yet big enough to need a team of HR professionals , all of whom have a slightly different specialism, perhaps including risk assessment, investigation or other specialist skills.
At Blackhawk, we offer specialist consultancy and advice for HR departments or Business Management who understand that there are threats which their HR team may not spot based on their role and training, or opportunities to work with the HR team to develop ways to use their insights and data to prevent or reduce risk, to the organization in an integrated way.
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