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Behind the scenes

Released at: 08:32, 20/10/2014

Behind the scenes

The efforts and results of a company's human resources department needs to fully appreciated and recognised.

by Ngoc Anh

The contributions of business and marketing departments are usually hailed when discussing a company’s business performance. It’s the company’s talent, however, that completes the associated tasks, build the company’s brand, and sell its products, making the role of the human resources (HR) department and HR directors a key factor in success.

According to Ms Nguyen Thi An Ha, Marketing Manager at HR consultants TalentNet, Vietnam remains in the development stage and the function of the HR department is also in its formative stages. The function of the HR department was previously restricted to administrative and other basic functions. However, at foreign-invested and large domestic enterprises in the country the function of the HR department is assessed more accurately and the department participates in the process of building and deploying business strategies and coordinates with other departments’ business plans when introducing suitable HR programmes and plans. “Large companies have a clearer recognition of the role of the HR department in their success and better invests in the department,” she said.

Many large domestic and international companies recognise the importance of having quality leaders in their HR department and are willing to pay monthly salaries of $300 to $500 for heads or deputy heads and $1,000 to 2,000 for HR directors. With such a relatively high salary, though, comes a greater degree of responsibility in the company’s success.

Mr Erman Tan, President of the Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI), said that it is often said that while the product features and pricing of a company can be overtaken by its competition over time, the customer service and customer experience can’t be easily replicated. “Here is where the HR director plays a pivotal role in creating a company’s brand, through hiring and retaining quality employees to provide good customer service,” he said. “It is also this superior customer experience that creates a superior brand. But how is the customer experience created? It is derived from customer engagement brought about by excellent employee engagement. Ultimately, it is the contribution of the HR director towards excellent employee engagement leading to superior customer engagement and experience that creates a superior brand.” Ms Ha added that HR directors are producers of activities to attract talent and to nurture and retain them. They also are the ones who develop factors that make staff want to stay long term and also develop suitable salary and bonus policies to encourage staff to devote themselves to the companies’ activities and business targets and take the image of company to a higher level.

However, implementing the role of hiring and retaining quality employees for their companies is not easy, especially in the context of economic difficulties and increasing demand among companies for senior and experienced personnel. HR directors are under major pressure and need to have experience and a far-reaching vision to make important decisions in employee recruitment. When seeking senior personnel, for example, if the HR director fails to properly evaluate candidates’ ability then failure is sure to come. “A leader can exhibit their capacity in one environment but there is no guarantee of success at another company,” said Mr Pham Hong Quan from Piaggio Vietnam.

The HR department, especially the HR director, must also promote the image of their company as part of employer branding efforts to attract talent. Ms Thanh Nguyen, founder and CEO of Anphabe, said that amid the harsh competition for talent, the HR director not only implements the company’s recruitment plans but also foresees changes in its HR structure. In approaching candidates, the HR director acts as a bridge linking the company and potential candidates and then promotes the employer brand to candidates to attract them to work for the company.

Therefore, in order for HR directors to fully fulfil their role it is necessary for them to receive support from company leaders. For example, in building employer branding, which needs a major contribution from the HR department, it is essential for company leaders to spend time sharing the company’s development purposes to help the HR director have the same vision.

With the aim of encouraging them and recognising their contributions to the company’s success and reputation, Ms Nguyen believes that company leaders must supervise, encourage and assist HR directors to fully complete their tasks and roles. Moreover, they should be recognised and rewarded suitably when they achieve the company’s recruitment targets.

For Mr Quan, depending on each company’s scale and structure, HR directors have the greatest responsibility for resolving any and all problems with the company’s human resources in terms of operational processes and strategy. “At my company the HR director is a member of the board, with the role of supporting departments and the general director in the company’s operations,” he said. “HR directors need to be specifically recognised in such a way.”

Mr Tan said that the HR department of a company can be recognised internally through presenting its staff with year-end bonuses, overseas incentive trips or one-time cash rewards. Such awards can then be publicised widely in the company as recognition of the department’s superior performance. However, a far superior recognition of the performance of the HR department is winning national awards, such as the SHRI Awards. “Recognition awards for the HR department will reinforce its good performance and encourage it to perform even better in the future,” he said.

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