Role of HR in a software company, or how to combine business, people, and the company culture

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Many years of work in Human Resources convinced me that there are no two identical companies in terms of company culture. Just as there is no one universal pattern of what HR department is responsible for.

Expectations of a mature company with a well-developed leadership structure will differ significantly from those of a young organization. As HR Generalists, we build processes and guide our employers through the infant stage of their companies’ development. The variables that determine the responsibilities of the HR department are impossible to count. Starting from capital, the industry, ownership relations, size, the presence of trade unions, or even the working time system. The work of an employee of a human resources department of a fully remote company will be nothing like the work in a company with a 4-shift schedule.

So, what are the roles and responsibilities of HR in RST Software?

My first impression after joining the team can be merged into a single phrase: close to business. Banal as this conclusion might look, both my own experience, and that of my colleagues, shows that the role of HR Business Partner is far too often nothing more than mere paragraphs listed in the description of HR responsibilities.

Here at RST Software however, close cooperation with the management board, a group of directors and technical leaders is not out of the ordinary. We participate in assigning employees to projects, issue opinions on the results of corporate workshops and advise on initiatives that are put forward by the management board. In practice, each project implemented by our team involves people from the business units or technology experts (eg the description of roles in delivery teams). Thanks to this approach, we can offer our employees initiatives that address their needs and are in line with the priorities of the organization.

From my perspective, nowadays, it is essential for the human resources department to maintain balance between the company business goals, work culture and the well-being of our staff.

Our business awareness and cooperation must not be detached from our treatment of employees as partners. This part of our daily tasks is fulfilled by everyday support of the Scrum teams, openness to the employees who want to talk about their self-development, or expectations related to overall cooperation. At the same time, we make sure that they fully understand the values and principles of the company, and respond to difficult situations that are part of working with other people.

The close cooperation of our ‘House of HR’ with development teams gives us an upper hand when addressing the strategic challenges of the IT industry of today: retaining top talent and nurturing engagement.

We are not, and we do not want to play the role of ‘the saviour’ (Karpman’s drama triangle), a one-man army or a special force. Teams involved in the management of human resources are supposed to play a part much more significant than dealing with all unaddressed issues of a company. Which is why we collaborate closely with the departments responsible for recruitment, employer branding, administration, sales, as well as with leaders – clearly defining the boundaries of our engagement in tasks outside our competences. It is a healthy agreement that provides a huge group of employees with an opportunity to prove their worth, as they fulfil their potential in the right department or an organizational unit within our company.

Sometimes we also get gifts. But only sometimes… (Because the HR Day is only once a year, not because they don't like us…)

We strive to ascribe a quantifiable value to our work and demonstrate how the HR department’ activities affect the development of the whole organizational structure. Measurable indicators of work are becoming standard in teams that support companies in achieving their business goals.

I believe that focusing on really important numbers and figures is one of the major advantages of working here at RST Software. In line with the idea of KISS (keep it simple, stupid), which I personally value a lot, we analyse the most critical indicators (turnover, retention, etc.) on an annual and quarterly basis. This way we know what we deliver to the business is as concrete and relevant to the decisions made as possible.

Feedback culture at RST Software

Wrapping up, I would like to mention one more aspect of our work that significantly affects my level of motivation and commitment. At RST, we put tons of emphasis on nurturing a culture of feedback. Sounds like a buzzword? Well, not to me. Honesty and transparency at both the team level and while collaborating with the business is something that strongly supports my self-development and my goals as an HR employee. Being able to confront my ideas with colleagues, striving to be better at what we do, embracing mishaps and mistakes (provided we learn from them) are all the things that RST offered me in the recruitment process and that it delivers on in our daily relationship.

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