There are many calls for HR to concentrate on getting the basics right. So what are the “basics” when it comes to HR? Paying people on time is a basic requirement — yet this service can be provided through the finance function. Providing clear contracts of employment is a basic requirement — yet this service can be provided through the legal department or the company secretary. Recruitment is a basic requirement — yet is often done best by the line manager. Clearly, getting the basics right could be achieved by eradicating the cost of providing an HR department!

There are many calls for HR to concentrate on getting the basics right. So what are the “basics” when it comes to HR? Paying people on time is a basic requirement — yet this service can be provided through the finance function. Providing clear contracts of employment is a basic requirement — yet this service can be provided through the legal department or the company secretary. Recruitment is a basic requirement — yet is often done best by the line manager. Clearly, getting the basics right could be achieved by eradicating the cost of providing an HR department!

Ironically, in trying to establish the credibility of the profession by changing its name from Personnel to Human Resources, practitioners may have unwittingly devalued the function. The term “HR” is now almost exclusively linked to the activities of the people-related function. However, strictly speaking, human resource is not a department! Rather, human resource is the total capability of the people and the way that they are organised and managed.

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