Working in Human Resources in the twenty-first century can feel like the epitome of being caught between a rock and a hard place. While most people in a corporate setting owe their positions, at least in part, to the HR employees who recruited and interviewed them, few corporate denizens hold any love for HR professionals.
Those of us who work in HR are charged with maintaining a company’s most important asset – its talent pool. However, we are rarely given the power or even the opportunity to implement policies in the best interest of the workforce because our jobs are tied inextricably to the bottom line. As a result, the perception persists that HR is the single greatest roadblock between workers and their success. What can be done to make this situation better?
Strive for clear communication
HR professionals are famous for buzz words. At times, even those within our industry don’t know what we’re talking about. Phrases that may mean something to us after returning from SHRM conferences may not relate clearly to the real world, which can lead to confusion and can complicate implementing policies.
Keep recruiting in house
Outsourcing recruiting may seem like a smart business decision, but it often leads to hiring decisions that may be detrimental to company culture. Using in-house recruiters provides the best chance for making smart hires that not only fit your open positions, but also suit your company culture.
Establish pre-employment assessment protocols
Using pre-employment assessments can create a more accurate picture of candidates considered for hire. This, in turn, makes the recruiting and hiring less resource-intensive, leaving more time and energy for other HR priorities.
By working to demystify the HR process and by making HR an integrated part of company culture, you can promote better understanding and reduce hostility towards your company’s HR protocols.
Like all stereotypes or opinions formed through negative experiences, the best way to correct them is to BE DIFFERENT. Be an advocate of employees, be a partner for managers, and ensure that employees are treated respectfully, as individuals, with compassion and understanding. Ensure consistent application of policies, and explain the reason for a policy so that even if they don’t like the policy they understand it. This is sometimes difficult – bridge building is not for everyone. It is often a thankless job, but then there is that one employee you help through a difficult situation or season, like the supervisor who needed help with improving morale or developing and implementing a Performance Improvement Plan that turns someone’s performance around, and knowing that you had a part in that makes it all worth it.
We are advocates for the employees, the management, and the company. Too many times this is a blurred relationship, and management wants to use HR as the “heavy” that does all the performance coaching and terminations, etc. HR people need to stand up for themselves and push this back on those who are responsible for leading and coaching the work teams. Then we can apply the tips in the article and be better in our roles as recruiters, building company culture and maintaining it with both existing employees and new hires.
The re-branding of “personnel” to “human resources” (back in the ’80s) signaled that employees had become resources to be managed like any other capital, such as finances, office equipment and property. It suggested that humans were like copy machines, to be used as much as possible and discarded when they wore out or their usefulness came to an end. I think a lot of HR people forgot their purpose is to work with people and for people.