Return to your ideals
I came across a blog post a few weeks ago that said many employees don’t consider HR staff helpful in solving problems. That’s because when they have approached HR in the past, they got little action. They walked away feeling like the HR staff member was uncaring and too focused on bureaucracy.
The author of the blog, Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., suggests that HR professionals need to balance their dual roles of upholding company policies with their roles as employee advocates.
But why should HR bother? Don’t HR pros have enough to do without taking on the added responsibility of holding employees’ hands? The following statistics may convince a reluctant HR professional to change his or her mind. Ninety-one percent of employees responding to a CareerBuilder survey said they were willing to switch jobs. At the same time, 55 percent of leaders aren’t expecting significant turnover. That means more than half of management teams have a big surprise coming when the job market improves.
Riggio offers some solid advice. HR pros have to take a step back and return to the ideals that attracted them to the profession—helping people lead better work lives. For example, the author suggests that HR professionals need to be better counselors. That will build rapport with employees.
Here are a few more ways HR pros can make themselves more accessible to employees:
• Focus on individuals. Listen to each employee’s problem with an open mind. Don’t assume that just because workers have certain jobs or educational levels, that they have the same viewpoint.
• Institute an open door policy. Don’t make it hard for workers to see you. Manage your time by setting certain hours for drop ins.
• Don’t overstate company policies. Workers have the employee handbook. Point out the policy once and move on. Consider an employee’s problem and make suggestions based on what you can do instead of focusing on what you can’t do.
Are these suggestions realistic or has the business environment become so demanding that there is no room for employee advocacy?
HR: Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place