The nature of the Human Resources (HR) role of an Executive Assistant (EA) or Office Manager (OM) will depend greatly on the size of the organisation.
Larger companies need to specialise in functions such as marketing, finance, administration etc. and HR is no exception.
HR is a key function in the modern enterprise as the quality and ability of the people within a company will have the main impact on how effective the company is within the marketplace and in turn how its culture is formed.
In a larger environment, the EA or Office Manager may be an interface with the central HR function/department often synchronising staff appraisals and making related appointments, circulating HR initiatives and communicating directly with departmental staff on HR issues.
In smaller firms, and in the absence of a formal HR department, the role may be quite different. Here the EA/OM function can be the central HR delivery point. Functions may include any or all of the following:
- Holiday, Sickness and Leave Calendars
- Appraisal Process
- Disciplinary or complaints
- Administering the Training Diary
- Interface for employment legislation
With only three or four employees this is not a full day’s work but even then the importance of the function should not be understated as we are handling each individual’s career and aspirations.
The HR function at any level or size of the organisation has a dual role which can sometimes become a difficult issue; the function needs to act as an interface between the needs and wants of employees and the overriding commercial objectives of the management.
Office Managers and Executive Assistants
We cannot also forget the impact of personal issues on employee performance and for this, the EA/OM needs to have good people skills enabling empathy and sympathy as required.
As an organisation grows, these functions will become ever more time-consuming.
In some smaller firms, the HR function is regarded as a necessary chore detracting from the main issues of generating sales leads and in turn sales. This attitude needs to change as growth takes place and it will eventually become a major block on genuine future company expansion.
At his stage the company needs to decide formally on its culture and develop clear corporate objectives in a formal way; at this time it is not possible to ignore HR as a central pillar of growth.
The Business Plan needs to incorporate HR objectives as one of its central issues.