what does HR do?

Study questions if COVID changed the role of HR

Spread the love

A recent study has been published by ADP in Canada, the multinational payroll company, where they question if the role of HR has actually changed during the pandemia. As a HR blog written by HR people sharing updates with entrepeneurs , we thought it might be interesting for you to know what professionals see about HR.

How is this going to help you? If you are about to hire the first HR professional at your company, it might be useful to know how to change that perspective if needed.

What does HR actually do?

Recruitment and hiring, firing, and doing payroll – these are some of the tasks that often come to mind when general employees think about the HR functions, no matter the country you are in.

Luckily more people start to understand that human resources teams, or one person departments in small companies handle so much more. As an Start up or small / medium business owner you may not be aware of the increasing complexities and challenges today’s HR functions have, as you might be doing them yourself and thinking…. is this a HR function? (If you are thinking that, please subscribe to our blog on the right bar, you need us 🙂 )

ADP Canada and Maru/Blue conducted an study over the summer to learn what Canadians thought of HR. For this survey, a sample of 1,538 Canadian employees (full time or part time), aged 18+, who work for a company with an HR professional / HR department. The survey was completed online using Maru/Blue’s online panel, including 301 self-defined HR professionals. The margin of error for this study was ±2.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.  

Results of the study

They found that over one-third of working Canadians surveyed have no idea what HR does. Surprising right? It is true that some of the things HR deals with are confidential. This means that just the board usually knows what they are working on. However, it proves the need of a better communication from HR professionals but also the recognition from the BOARD on what they do.

On the positive side of things, there were some good news for us, HR people. The good news is that over half of respondents recognize the role of their HR team has become more difficult during the pandemic,. They still have a lack of understanding of the complexity and importance of HR’s role, ADP says, but it has improved!

ADP Canada (CNW Group/ADP Canada Co.)
ADP Canada (CNW Group/ADP Canada Co.)

The survey, that compared insights from both working Canadians and Canadian HR professionals, also found that 61 percent of HR professionals believe their role has become more difficult during the pandemic for several reasons.

Those interviewed mentioned that some of the new challenges caused by COVID-19 include protecting the health and wellbeing of employees, ensuring business continuity and staying on top of rapid policy changes. Which was one of the main priorities on the first months.

Over half of HR professionals surveyed also cite supporting the transition to remote work and supporting employee mental health as significant challenges. Given these new challenges, 43 percent of HR professionals feel the role of HR has changed because of COVID-19.

Most Canadians believe the primary functions of HR include the basics, like recruitment, payroll, benefits and planning for long-term staffing. Only less than half recognize responsibilities like conducting performance evaluations and creating workplace policies, training new and current employees, providing recognition for performance or scheduling fall under HR’s authority.

Bearing this in mind, it’s not surprising that 48 percent of themdo not know how their workplace would be impacted if HR were to leave suddenly.

HR’s role has become increasingly challenging over the last several months, yet a lack of understanding and awareness of the important role of HR persists in Canada. The role of HR professionals is so much more than just recruitment and payroll – HR is critical to building a positive workplace culture, maintaining employee engagement, and to the success of every organization,” says Heather Haslam, Vice President, Marketing at ADP Canada.

“The role of HR professionals is multifaceted and demands thoughtful, hardworking, and perceptive people who can solve both short and long-term challenges through strategic solutions.

Some other details from the survey included:

  • Appreciation of HR in Canada remains relatively unchanged:
    • Half (53%) of Canadians feel that HR is appreciated in the workplace
    • 16% feel that HR is underappreciated
    • Millennials (25%) are most likely to believe their HR team is very appreciated compared to the overall working population (18%)
  • HR challenges related to remote work:
    • 66 per cent of HR professionals said that ensuring staff have functioning technology at home is a challenge during the pandemic, along with ensuring staff are appropriately engaged remotely (61%), or managing productivity and performance at home (58%)
    • Challenges of remote work were more prevalent among older HR professionals (55+)
  • When HR calls, some Canadians are still waiting for bad news:
    • 15 per cent think they will be told about changes in the workplace
    • 9 per cent think they will be asked to fill out forms
    • 8 per cent think they are in trouble
    • 6 per cent think they will be asked to do something new/above their role
    • Only one per cent believe they will receive recognition for good work

If you liked this blog post with recent studies and news about HR, you can receive our regular updates and get a free job description template by clicking below

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *