When first introduced to the term "human resources management," I reacted with indifference. Most graduate curriculums in psychology exclude information about managing anything except our time or finances. At the time, graduate school demanded the management of our schedules, study time, and reports to be completed. If we had any extra time, we were told to relax.
Most graduate students work part time. I found a counselor position with a non-profit organization that worked with foster homes, and we were expected to provide one-on-one time with children from ages 12 to 15. In addition, we offered group activities in self-regulation and conflict resolution. If there was anyone managing human resources in this small organization, it was the person who worked in the administration office and interviewed prospective employees. In the military, there are layers and layers of officers and non-commissioned officers who have the day-to-day, hands-on experience of training troops, managing the delivery of supplies for those in combat, planning and administrating family services for the family members of troops, and organizing and monitoring security forces. In fact, the Army is so large it is difficult to compartmentalize such tasks. These two examples are of radically different organizations purely by size; however, they serve a similar goal: maintaining the integrity of the mission of the organization. Whereas the nonprofit organization had one person handling most of the employment tasks, the U.S. Army can have thousands dealing with employment or employer-employee issues at any given time.
About 13 years ago, I started a group practice in San Antonio, Texas, which eventually had about 24 employees, including professional and administrative personnel. It was an exciting time because the group came together fairly quickly and found some major resources for our specialties, and the demand grew. Over time, my administrative duties cut into my therapy time. One of the major projects that took my time included the delegation of responsibilities, such as developing the tasks of the ethics committee that would deal with any issue the group had or any complaint from a patient or an employee. The compliance book grew in size as monthly meeting notes were added. In the beginning, we had no need for an employee handbook. But as the group expanded, one was started. Then there was the business policy and procedures handbook, which dealt with the company's mission, vision, and values and how the group was expected to function as a team, as well as fulfilling professional expectations of therapists. Then there was the need for someone to be an administrator for the group who would interview potential new employees, ensure compliance with all EEO requirements, and handle any employee problems (i.e., not showing up for work), and he developed the benefits and negotiated the group insurance policy.
Over the course of time, the value of creating a team-like work unit grew, as did the need for more and more information. It became clear that we needed to hire certain people with skills and experience mat no one on staff possessed. While we were too small to create different departments, we were able to hire two people who were experienced in human services and another one who handled marketing and networking duties. Thus, we delegated the human resources and administration tasks to one specialist and the marketing and networking to another. The human resources specialist served to make sure that the company mission, vision, and objectives were kept in focus as we developed other policies and services. The marketing manager was in the field every day, visiting doctors' offices, probation offices, and schools.
In larger organizations, the human resources director guides and manages the overall provision of human resources services, policies, and programs for the entire …