In too many of the organizations we have been engaged with, we find an HR group or person that is bogged down in policies, processes and red tape. They are seen as more of an obstacle employees have to deal with, rather than supportive of the employees in being successful. Combine that with Managers who have either never experienced a positive HR relationship, or are inexperienced in the workplace, and you will take a serious hit to employee engagement and morale.
HR departments or practitioners that provide outstanding service do things differently. They approach the employees of the organization, no matter what level, as customers. They are there to serve and support. They:
- Place talented service providers in service roles. People get their questions answered – the first time. They are not referred on to someone else, pushed off the plate. If the first person doesn’t have the answer, they find out or they connect the right people. They don’t send the employee to do it.
- Establish a set of standards for dealing with their customers. How soon do we commit to getting an answer? How quickly do we respond to emails? What tools do we need to provide so that employees can find the answers to common questions or concerns easily? How do we educate them on where to find the tools they need?
- Are proactive. In addition to responding to issues, as and when they arise, HR departments also need to ensure they are dedicating time to planning and strategy. By having a proactive HR team, you are able to ensure your business has the right skills, people, structure and processes to maximize the potential of your business through your capable employees. You will also be able to ward off many employee issues before they arise with the correct HR practices in place
- Measure and observe. It is really important that HR is held accountable for what they introduce into a business and that they are adding value, not introducing cost and process for little return. Make sure your HR department, person or consultant is working to enhance your business and make life easier for you and your employees. Good HR can provide your staff with the tools and support to reach their full potential.
Whoever is responsible for the HR function needs to know what is happening with their people. They need to check in with employees and managers regularly to ensure their needs are being met. And if they aren’t – fix it, immediately.
Most employees and managers can figure out what issues are handled in HR. However, when you have a multi-person HR department, they may not know who exactly to go to. Every person in the department needs to be able to answer a basic question about another area of the same HR team – not being able to do this screams “not helpful” and “silos.”
Poorly managed or careless HR can leave employees stifled and frustrated. It can even drive your best employees away. HR needs to have the same vision and focus as that of the overall business strategy. Every member of the HR team needs to know the Organizational strategy and the HR strategy, be aware of the operational and financial performance of the organization, and represent HR as a supportive place where questions about people can be answered.