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HR, the underscore of the software development production
Ineke Burger

HR, the underscore of the software development production

In every theatre production, there is an ever-present element of an underscore which we sometimes stop hearing, but the silence will surely be noted once it is gone.

Running a successful software development life cycle can be likened to an on-stage production; produced by people for the people and with a performance of people. No production can come to life without an underscore.

Welcome to the stage, HR.

Human resources (HR) supports the people, from the CEO and MD as theatre managers to the performers in this production on various levels and in various acts. Some roles are more familiar as they are in the spotlight like onboarding, induction and offboarding. There is a constant stage presence that may be in the background, but this supporting act is needed for a successful main production.

Let’s have a closer look at HR's supporting function:

  • Line Manager support during the hiring stage:
    • Has a legally binding contract in place to protect both parties and make conditions of employment clear.
    • Ensures that all background checks are done.
    • Contracts are carefully guarded by HR to protect the company and to ensure legal compliance.
  • New employee support during induction and onboarding: Ensures that the new employee is welcomed, understands the rules of engagement and is fully on-boarded on all systems including payroll.
  • Ensures fair and equal treatment of all employees and aids as an advisor to managers and staff.
  • Oversees the performance of each employee via performance reviews and gives relevant feedback to enable each individual to improve performance where necessary so that they can achieve an optimal level of performance.
  • Supports all the performers with props – aka admin support when it comes to payroll, personal details, sick notes, timesheets, confirmation of employment etc.
  • Performers should always know their steps and actions. HR provides disciplinary guidance through the paces of the process i.e. what to do, when to approach HR and what to have on record.
  • Grievances - Guides an unhappy performer to find an answer to the problem.
  • Data feedback – Data doesn’t lie. Current data is showing that software developers have an 18-month tenure with an employer.
  • In the world of tech and systems, HR acts as the guardians of the data galaxy. Data change requests are like shooting stars and require swift action across the stage.
  • Ensure that employees take a bow with a smile. Give applause. Good IT and software development market skills are scarce and we should protect the players we have for our production. Explain clearly how the last payment will be processed and remember to conduct an exit interview.
  • Post-performance feedback to line managers. This is the time for constructive criticism. Learn how to do things better. Learn from those who left. Learn how to retain staff.

The HR role demands plenty of energy and multi-tasking skills (with a large bag of patience) to support all the performers, directors and stagehands. Quite often the value is perceived to be backstage with the lights on the lead performers, however, the support HR provides, is vital.

After all, the show must go on.

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