The HR Professional’ Operational and Strategic Roles

Introduction: Operational roles

Operational roles of the Human Resource (HR) professional are routine in nature that may include employee’s advocate, reduction of costs and risks, and provision of functional services amongst other functions.

Employee advocate

Employee advocate or employee champion is one of the four core roles of a Human Resource (HR) professional as modelled by David Ulrich. The other three core roles are strategic partnership, change champion, and administrative expert (HRM advice, 2008). The role of employee advocate is perhaps one of the most sensitive and difficult work deliverables of any professional HR practitioner. In this role, the HR professional is meant to juggle between the demands of the employer against the interests of the employees.

There are contexts in which the interests of the employees greatly crash with those of the employers or there is a great discordance between the two groups. Such discordance between the interests of the employer and the employee occur due to various contextual dynamics dependent on individual companies, social economic variances, and market conditions amongst other factors (Sonnie,2006). The role of the Human Resource Professional in the context of employee advocate is to ensure that the employees’ concerns, interests, and grievances are addressed by the company’s management as satisfactorily as is practically possible.

Reducing costs and risks

The human resource practices and programs are critical in cost reduction and risk management of any given organization. Cost reduction can occur through various human resource practices and policies. For example, human resource can in put in place authorization procedures for employees performing overtime work. Such employees often need to be extra money for work done during the overtime period. However, if there are policies in place to regulate the flow of work as well as authorize any need for overtime work, then such expenses may reduce. This works by ensuring that employees are not unnecessarily undertaking overtime work in order to earn extra cash. The authorization of the overtime also ensures that the management is aware on the need for overtime. This would ensure that the management is able to gauge on urgency of the work and whether the work can rescheduled to normal work hours. Ways in which human resource can manage risks include regulation of access to sensitive areas in a company to avoid unnecessary access that may lead to loss incidents.

Human resource manages various legal contracts between the company and the employee such as employment contracts, pension schemes, and medical schemes amongst others. In this role, the HR professional is charged in ensuring that the company and the employees comply with the provisions of the various contracts. In the contexts where disputes arise between the different parties in relation to the various contracts, the HR may find itself in the arbitration role between the opponents or as a party in legal proceedings in court.

Providing functional services

Provision of functional services under the HR includes payroll preparation and administration, staffing and recruitment, and training amongst other functions. These functional services are critical for the optimum operation of the company.

Human resource strategic roles

HR professionals do have a strategic role in their day to day work functionalities and demands. In the modern day competitive business environment, companies go to great lengths to acquire and maintain talented employees in order to have a competitive edge over their rivals (Heathfield, 2012).In this context, the Human Resource department is charged in implementing strategic policies to improve on its work environment in order to acquire and maintain talented employees. Such incentives include salary bonuses, fair work life balance policy and paternity leaves amongst other factors.

Human Resource involved in training that makes its employees improve on their efficiency in their job execution and functionalities. In this context, the Human Resource may be involved in ensuring that their employees enrol in institutions of higher learning in order to gain requisite skills needed for their job execution. At times the Human Resource professionals may design in house training programs that give their employees a competitive edge over the competition in the same industry (Heathfield, 2012).The human resource often institute these programs as a strategic move to improve the competence and efficiency of its employees in order to collectively as a company gain an advantage over its competitors.

In this context, the HR professionals may be interested in managing and protecting the talented employees. The HR professionals may also be interested in knowledge management. In this context, the HR professionals may limit the movement of key people outside the company by stipulating the minimum number of years they may work for the company before they are free to move to different companies. This will often occur if the employees underwent extra training at the employer’s cost.

It is imperative for the HR and its initiated programs to be aligned to the overall organization’s mission and goals. Such alignment would include the requisite skills needed for the staff as well as policies put in work environment.


Heathfield, S (2012). The New Roles of the Human Resources Professional. Web.

HRM advice (2008). Ulrich’s HR Roles Model. Web.

Sonnie, S (2006).The Irony of Being Employee Champion. Web.