Statutory Warning: If you are an HR professional reading this, know that this is not an attack on your way of life. We know and understand the myths and misconceptions that people have about HR. You know, the ones that start with ‘They are never around after 6:00 p.m.’ or our personal favourite ‘They don’t understand the business!’ We’ve heard these and many more. It’s time to get others to take HR seriously. But for that, just like anything else, you have to be the change.
Making it mandatory that every individual adjusts to the work culture is just one aspect of your life. You are not the ‘warden’ and people know that. Apart from bearing responsibilities like recruiting, arranging for external resources to conduct training, deciding whether to outsource or not, you also play a role when it comes to maintaining harmony at the work place. You are from the team that multi-tasks & coordinates with everyone to ensure that employees are engaged.
So what should the course of action be? What can help alter this stereotypical mind-set that HR professionals face every day?
Ditch being ‘politically correct’
Got you smiling have we? Be a friend, a guide, even a mentor to a certain extent, but never the superior. Also, HR teams know stuff. Before it gets rolled out. Your decisions matter and get people promoted or in some cases, demoted. It’s not like you have a task to remain mum you know. And if someone does not make it to the ‘bell curve’, tell them straight up. It might be ugly, but things will be more peaceful there on. Being politically correct all the time can not only leave a bad impression but also, take a toll on you as a person.
Foreseeing versus Forecasting
Knowing comes from experience. Be more responsive. Give your colleagues the right amount of push to outlive their reckoned potential, to grow individually and within the organization. And if someone pressures you to recruit, ask them this “What would you prefer? A one month delay but getting someone who stays longer or someone who joins tomorrow but leaves next month?” Follow the answer and make sure you document this if someone chooses the latter.
Mission Employee Satisfaction
No one likes the ‘whispers you hear in corridors when you pass by or how the volume in the cafeteria goes down when HR joins you for lunch’. Try having lunch with different departments every week. Never stick to one group. Remember, your actions are judged the most. This also gives you an opportunity to keep your pulse on what’s really happening. If you have their trust, you will win the battle. You will need to take decisions that will impact others. For the good or for the bad. Remember, you cannot please everyone all the time. While employees will always appreciate if the decisions taken by HR are in their favour, getting people involved and extending your communication across all departments will ease the blow [in case you are about to give one]
Widen Your Gaze
Will a cross departmental training prove to be beneficial? It will. There is nothing wise about staying in your own pool of HR Think Tanks. Step out. Do a stint in another department and then come back. See the impact that creates. So what if you have never done Marketing before? Think in terms of keeping yourself in place of the employees’ and not the management. If HR has the power, it needs to be utilized wisely.
Compatibility? What’s that?
Sensitive enough to lend a listening ear but rational enough while taking a stand. Doing the right thing while being a counsellor as well as non-indulgent; even under external pressure is crucial. When one of the many work mates feels that something is missing, or something can be bettered; taking a keen interest and finding solutions to setting things right should become a priority. If rules demand to be adhered to, they should be applicable to one and all. Ensuring that any kind of bias is kept at bay while making decisions is more than a mere responsibility. Employee welfare should always take precedence and you should be leading the change. For example, stand in the same line that you expect others to stand in while you wait for a few statutory documents from the finance team.
Walk the talk
Setting an example is the best way to get a message across. Involve the senior management to be a part of the day to day lives of the employee and you will see a vast change in the way things function. More often, HR is looked upon [myth] as ‘royal suck ups’ and treated with aloofness. Ones who instead of bridging the gap are faulted for creating difficulties. An addition that the company could do without; or rather, manage internally. Implementing and making the journey employee friendly can prove to be quite wearisome, if not supported by the entire staff. You will only be taken seriously, when you show some initiative, when you have a case study to present and when you have a loyal clan supporting you through thick and thin.