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Ignore HR at your peril!

An organisation’s most valuable resource is its people. Why is it then that the HR profession is often disregarded or viewed with scepticism?

Across maritime we are still many years behind other industries in the development of Human Resources generally. The HR departments and functions are often little understood, and as yet the benefits of a well-constructed and professional HR team have yet to be fully seen, felt or appreciated.

We must not confuse the management of people across the company with the line manager’s responsibility of the day to day people management. In years past, a line manager would pass all issues relating to the staff to the personnel (staff) manager, who understood what needed to be done and did it for them. This included hiring, firing, training, performance management and communications. In today’s world HR’s role is to provide or offer a toolbox of people management instruments (tools), for effective use by the management and staff across all layers of the organisation.

By breaking HR down into functional areas, it is easier to understand the opportunities and potential benefits. Basic functions can include:

• Compensation and Benefits (Reward) Management
• Learning and development/ Management development/ Talent management
• Recruitment
• Workforce planning and resourcing

So in the same way that you have specialists such as Charterers, professionally working on the negotiation of terms and charter parties, the HR department are working across the company focusing on your people.

Ignore HR at your peril! In times of a recession ensure that you work with the HR team to enlist their help and support. The HR team can be your best investment to ensure you stay afloat.

Karen Waltham, Managing Director, HR Consulting

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