GraphsWelcome to the site! Hopefully you already know that “HR” mean “Human Resources.” The human resource function today is a critical part of every business and, like most functions, has two separate components: administrative and strategic. Human resources has traditionally been thought of as an administrative function. When you go to HR, you usually have to do paperwork. You might complete benefit election forms, choose your 401(k) deductions, sign up for healthcare insurance, submit a performance review or something else involving administration and paper. Human resources is finally emerging from the stacks of paperwork to provide more strategic direction to a business on how to manage its human resources.

What is the largest expense for most U.S. companies today? Salary and benefits. Naturally, if your largest expense is human resources, you want to look at that carefully because it directly affects your profitability. However, that’s also a danger, because if you look at human resources as an expense item, you’re bound to make some mistakes that might bring short-term gain but will hurt you in the long-run. Human resources aren’t an expense, they’re an asset. But unlike other assets such as a building and equipment, they are human, which means their performance will vary based on a number of very complicated factors. But I’m preaching to the choir, I’m sure.

While the strategic is where the human resource function needs to be, HR has to improve its administrative abilities before it can play in the strategic game, for two reasons. First, to get out from the paperwork and to have enough time to focus on strategic. Second, if you can’t get the administrative stuff right, how can you possibly get the strategic stuff right? So a lot of My HR Online might focus on the administrative, but that’s only to get you to the strategic position that every HR function should have across benefits, payroll, compensation, employee relations, safety, compliance and every other sub-function of human resources.

HR Online
HR is online! We may have been a little slower getting there than some other functions, but we’re gradually shedding our mounds of paper and trading paper cuts for bleary eyes as we stare at computer screens instead! But I guess that’s part of what being online means.

What does being online mean, anyway? For you and for HR it means a lot of different things:

  • It can mean software and tools that automate the human resource function and make it more efficient so it can spend time on more valuable activities that make it even more effective.
  • It can mean online resources and training for employees that lets them do it when it’s most convenient and frees you up from having to be there for every training class.
  • It can mean online resources for your own personal and professional development
  • It might be online networking with other HR professionals and with current and prospective employees.

You, HR and online have many possible permutations and combinations. At MyHROnline, we’ll explore how all of these will help your company create a better, more effective human resource function and help you grow professionally as you cultivate a high-performing workforce in 2012.

Human Resource ManagerIt’s always easier to find a job when you have a job. It’s a good idea to look around and see the kinds of jobs being posted to make sure you understand where the human resource function is heading and where the resources are being assigned.

Be sure to take a look at the Best Human Resources Jobs site. Make it a point today to go to the site and register for free. By registering you’ll be reserving your space to conduct any number of job searches on the Internet privately and confidentially. With registration, you get:

  • Free unlimited job searches
  • Free alerts when new jobs are posted
  • Easy and quick free registration
  • Confidentially controls over your own data

HR Efficiency and EffectivnessIt’s not uncommon to hear someone misuse the term “efficient” or “effective.” While they are often spoken about in the same sentence, they mean two completely different things. It’s helpful to understand what they mean so you can discuss them with others while you implement a process to put HR online.

Efficiency describes how you execute a process in terms of the number of steps and the number of resources involved. An efficient process can be completed with the minimum number of steps and without wasting any resources. Efficiency makes no judgment on how good a process is, however, and it’s quite common to see a company make a really bad process more efficient with the hope that the bad process will somehow turn into a good process with it’s more efficient. Guess what? It doesn’t.

Effectiveness describes whether the process produces the result you expect. It is a judgment on the quality of the process and it’s quite possible to have a very inefficient but effective process that gives the right result but is pretty painful getting there.

Sometimes efficiency can lead to effectiveness. For example, automating some HR processes may provide you with extra time that you no longer have to spend on an inefficient process. When you use that extra time to focus on more value-added activities that directly impact the business, you are making HR more effective and it’s an indirect result of making processes efficient.

Putting HR Processes OnlineEven in small companies, employees expect that HR processes will be automated. Today, a key component of any HR process automation is putting the process online and making it available, 24×7, to all employees from any browser. When you’re looking at converting everything from time cards and time sheets to pay checks and benefit forms from a paper to an automated, online system, it can be frightening. While you’re concerned with everything from data accuracy and privacy to system access, others are typically concerned about the final result: cost savings. This whitepaper from HR Information and Solutions helps you estimate the cost savings of converting from a manual to an online system.

Online TrainingI recently got my first speeding ticket ever. I was given the opportunity to attend traffic school and essentially have the ticket expunged from my record after successfully completing the defensive driving classroom training. I could either attend a 4-hour class during an evening or a Saturday, or I could go through the course online, on the Internet, at my own pace on my own time, provided I finished within a certain time period. Which do you think I chose? The online option, of course!

There is a lot of information that employees need to know and that HR has the responsibility to make sure they know. Sexual harassment awareness and preventing injury and illness on the job are two that come to mind immediately. Not all employees can attend training at the time it’s offered. Those who do it begrudgingly probably won’t learn as much as they would if the training took place at a more convenient time. However, if we had to arrange training around everybody’s schedule, the training would never happen. That’s where online training can really help.

Online training for employees is a real “win-win.” When you offer employees the option of taking online training, each person can perform the training at the time that is best for him or her. It’s more convenient, better received and often more entertaining, especially for more tedious, compliance-related training. Studies have shown that retention can actually be better from an online course than classroom instruction. Completion rates are typically higher when you give employees the flexibility to take training when it best fits their schedules. Best of all, online training puts hours back into your schedule by freeing you and your staff from preparing, orchestrating and delivering hours of classroom training.

Safety and ComplianceCompliance and Safety are about preventing injuries and illnesses in the workplace. It’s much easier and less costly to prevent injuries than to let them occur. The same is true of illnesses. Not only do you want to keep a safe and healthy work environment for everybody, the government mandates that you do so through the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Good publications and training materials are essential to keeping your workforce educated about health and safety issues and codes. We recommend the Compliance & Safety training materials to help you become compliant and stay that way. Whether it’s electrical safety; spills; trips and falls; hand, eye and back safety; or even sexual harassment awareness and prevention, Compliance and Safety has more than 600 excellent compliance training products to provide you with exactly what you and your workforce needs to remain safe, healthy and in compliance!

Compliance and Safety Videos

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, or OSHA, has published more videos in the v-Tools series. This series is themed around prevention. The videos remind workers why safety is so important and demonstrate common hazards, activities and accidents so help keep safety first in mind in all industries.

Here’s a video about the safety issues with carbon monoxide:

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And this video is about sprains and strains from pulling cable:

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