HR Consultant Judy Slutsky helps us understand why HR departments are evolving & how companies can recruit, compensate & retain effectively.
What’s the best approach to hiring HR professionals? The function has evolved rapidly in recent years, forcing many companies to reconsider a generalist approach to the HR function at work. A myriad of job titles have sprung up within the Human Resources department, each with their own job description and compensation level. The same can be said about other departments as well, as companies reinvent their approach to business. While it can be confusing, it’s important that companies take a proactive approach to defining their roles and compensating appropriately. Independent HR Consultant Judy Slutsky helps us understand recent developments and how best to respond.
Understanding Modern Human Resources Roles
“HR roles have historically been very administrative,” says Slutsky. “These needs relate to employee benefits, payroll, and so on, which continue to be very important.”1
While these tasks continue to be essential, companies have come to realize that they’re just the tip of the iceberg. As a result, traditional HR titles like coordinator, manager, and director, have given way to a wide array of new positions in recent years.
“There’s now a need for more diversification and specialization of skills,” Slutsky explains. “We have senior advisors, HR business partners, performance improvement managers, change consultants, labour relations, culture consultants, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and other HR roles.”
Today’s HR departments will often find several of these roles working together under a
Director or VP of HR.
“Each of these jobs have very specific, defined metrics about what they’re supposed to do,” Slutsky says. “It’s no longer viable for a generalist to perform all specialized HR roles out of the side of their desk.”
Dividing Responsibilities at a Large Public Organization
Slutsky cites an example where a large public organization in British Columbia hired for an HR manager role several years ago. Today the organization is once again hiring, this time for several new positions.
“The role has now been divided into four: change management, organizational design, organizational development, and diversity, equity, and inclusion,” she explains. “This is a very large public organization that realized that a generalist approach to human resources doesn’t work.”
Compensation Planning Takes Centre Stage
Companies that want to effectively recruit and retain for these HR roles, as well as other positions within their organization, will have to think strategically. Outlining company needs and defining each role is paramount, as is gaining an understanding of compensation expectations for each position.
“Businesses have not always been proactive in terms of hiring,” says Slutsky. “When a problem lands on somebody’s desk that they can’t address, that’s when they ask “who can solve this?:””
According to Slutsky, compensation has been dynamic and in constant flux in recent years, and thus requires specialized attention and distinct skills.
“When evaluating compensation strategies, people have traditionally turned to Mercer or Western Compensation for salary data,” she says. “More recently we see compensation consultants and compensation reviews falling under the purview of human resources. If you have a traditional approach to compensation, you may not be able to attract qualified people, nor retain the talent you already employ. You’ll go through the mill, hiring people then watching them leave.”
HR Consultants a Good Option for Many Companies
While some organizations prefer to handle all of their HR work in-house, others have found consultants to be a good option. Slutsky says that organizations with under 50 employees will generally still hire HR generalists, then turn to outside help as the need arises.
“When specific issues arise regarding employee relations, performance management, compensation, or policy development, it’s beneficial to seek specialized help,” she says.
Slutsky says that her client companies range in size from seven to 3,000 employees. She helps them determine appropriate compensation for various positions by using Payfactor compensation planning software, with which she has 17 years of experience. According to the independent HR consultant, however, creating a good plan is about more than simply cross-referencing numbers. This is where her broader knowledge in the field comes into play.
“In order to arrive at a competitive salary per role, we use job evaluation tool to ensure that we’re comparing apples to apples” she explains. “You have to tie compensation to the job itself. Slutsky also works with external recruitment firms to ensure that hiring is based on a competitive compensation band.”
Evolving Workplace, Evolving Compensation
Slutsky explains how circumstances have motivated companies to redefine many of the roles within their organization, with job sharing and evolving responsibilities growing more commonplace.
“Covid really put a fine point on the requirements for different skills,” she says. “Companies are elevating their workforce planning as they take on new strategies, new directions, new clients, and a new way of doing business. They’re becoming more savvy about anticipating future workforce needs, and HR is at the forefront of this.”
These shifts are requiring companies to place special emphasis on their hiring and compensation strategies.
“Clients want to know how they can hit the ground running,” says Slutsky. “What are our financial goals for the next quarter? What do we need to make it happen? These are the questions I hear.”
While much is being asked of HR professionals, they are up to the task. Slutsky clearly enjoys tackling the issues that her clients bring to her and is always ready for a new challenge.
If you’d like to explore HR consultation on any aspect of compensation, schedule a complimentary call with Judy today!
1 Direct communication with HR Consultant Judy Slutsky