Compensation and benefits is yet another important role of a human resource professional. This functional area involves the process of analyzing, implementing, and conducting continuous evaluation of the overall compensation and benefits program for the employees. It is the HR’s responsibility to ensure that the organization’s employee compensation and benefits comply with the federal and local laws, implement a pay structure and benefits plan that is consistent with the organization’s objectives, regularly analyze pay scale based on employee’s worth and external market condition, and assume payroll functions.
A human resource professional should have the knowledge of federal and local laws regarding compensation and benefits, job evaluation and pay structures, incentive plans, benefit plans and international compensation laws for this particular HR functional area. Employee and labor relations is a HR functional area described in “Appendix A – PHR and SPHR Test Specs” (2004) as follows:
The processes of analyzing, developing, implementing, administering and performing ongoing evaluation of the workplace relationship between employer and employee (including the collective bargaining process and union relations), in order to maintain effective relationships and working conditions that balance the employer’s needs with the employees’ rights in support of the organization’s strategic objectives.
It is the part of the responsibility of the HR to ensure and maintain a positive working environment and organizational culture by implementing different employee relations programs and activities and check for their effectiveness. HR should also make sure that employees clearl understand the company’s policies, rules and regulations to avoid conflicts. An HR professional should exhibit knowledge of federal and local laws with regard to employee relations such as sexual harassment, antidiscrimination, labor relations and privacy in order to make good judgment should cases like these occur.
For a good practice of this particular functional area, it is also needed that the HR professional should have knowledge of facilitating employee relations activities, workplace behavior issues, union and non-union practices, and methods for assessment of employee attitudes and behavior. Occupational health, safety and security is another role of HR professional that involves ensuring physical and mental well-being of employees and keeping the workplace safe, secure, and free of violence.
The HR should ensure compliance of the workplace on all federal and local laws and regulations on health and safety by keeping abreast with all these rules and laws. HR should also be able to implement health and wellness programs, illness preventive programs, disseminate information about safety measures during emergency situations. An HR professional should be able to identify potential workplace risks and know basic health and safety practices and emergency responses. Certification Critique The certification being conducted by the Human Resource Certification Institute covers the different functional areas of an HR professional.
The certification exams test the ability of the HR professional in their chosen career. The certification determines how well they know about the different ideas, concepts, roles, and responsibilities of a good HR generalist. The exams are in the multiple-choice question format. There are scenario questions that determine the capability of the examinee to resolve the situation and do the right thing. I believe this HR certification is a good way to determine how well the HR professional knows about the job, its functions and responsibilities. It is a good measure of the person’s theoretical knowledge and ability.
However, in my opinion, getting a good score in the certification does not mean that you will be the one of the best HR professionals of the company. Most of the time, not only in the case of HR certification, theoretical knowledge and capability does not translate to a very good actual performance. There are times, even, that those who get good scores in the exams are the ones who have bad performance in the company. Having the exam scores and certification results is a good basis and starting point in assessing the HR professional’s knowledge. But this should not be the only basis in hiring an HRM professional.
Emotional intelligence is equally important in this profession. HR deals about different situations in the company from simple to the worst you can ever imagine. Proper frame of mind, rational thinking and good judgment are some qualifications also important for an HRM professional to possess. Let us say a certain company has the policy for probationary employees that a second instance of absence without notice will cause suspension. Moreover, it is also stated in the company’s policies that a probationary employee who gets suspended will not be regularized.
In other words, the employee will just need to complete the 6-month probationary period; afterwards, he will be forced to resign based on what the policy states. Rina, a probationary employee of the company, has already incurred two absences without notice within her first two months in the company. The first was due to an invalid reason. But the second was because she stayed in the hospital due to an illness. She had asked her brother to inform her supervisor but wasn’t able to do so. When Rina got back, she was welcomed with a memo of suspension because of the infraction she incurred.
No matter how she explained the situation, her supervisor would not retract the memo. Rina accepted the suspension but still went on with work afterwards. For the rest of her probationary period, she did an excellent job. She was never absent nor tardy anymore. Her performance was exemplary and she proved to be an asset to the company because of her dedication at work. For several years, the company has not had an employee like Rina and everyone in the management team agrees. On her fifth month, HR started assessing her performance and tracking her records. They found out about the suspension on her second month.
If the company’s policy will be followed, Rina should be ending her contract after her sixth month as she will not be regularized. Further investigation was done on her case and found out that the second instance of infraction could have been excused. After several deliberation of the HR team, it was decided that Rina will be regularized as she will be a critical player for the company. The example above just shows that it is not always necessary to go by the book. HR professionals should also use rational thinking and judgment. In Rina’s case above, it was not because of pity that she was retained.
I believe it was more of the invaluable performance she has shown during her probationary period. Also, her case about her second infraction can be disputed anyways as she has shown proof of her excuse. Thus, there should have been no need for her to be suspended should she have only disputed her supervisor’s decision. Therefore, HR certification is needed to test the person’s theoretical knowledge and critical thinking capability. It is not bad to take the certification. It, in fact, enhances the person’s knowledge and it reinforces what was learned in the classroom.
However, it is not enough basis to tell that a HR professional would be good. Other factors such as emotional intelligence and rational judgment are also important.
Appendix A – PHR and SPHR Test Specs. (2004). Human Resource Certification Institute. Retrieved May 13, 2006 from http://www. hrci. org/Certification/2006HB/APX-A/ Leonard, B. (2004). A Brief History of HRCI. HR Magazine. Retrieved May 13, 2006 from http://www. hrci. org/AboutUs/HISTORY/ About the Society For Human Resource Management. (2006) Society for Human Resource Management Online. Retrieved May 13, 2006 from http://www. shrm. org/about/
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