Process Industry Consultant / Soft Skill
Training, Motivational Speaker, Writing,
B K BHATIA
Director Of Company
To begin with, you must appreciate the fact that the basic human traits are the same. In the case of employees, the overwhelming majority would ideally love to have less work, more pay, more holidays and longer weekends. Against this backdrop, the general view is that HR influences these and that HR has the tendency to conspire with management to deny employees their perceived ideal work condition.
In reality while HR is an influencer in HR policy making, it is management that has the final say. It is HR that conveys both the pleasant and unpleasant decisions taken by management. Unfortunately for HR they become the favorite whipping boy for employees when unpleasant decisions are conveyed whilst credit is given to management for the favorable and pleasant decisions. This is one of the job hazards pertaining to HR. A corollary could be seen where the salary department is often seen as the villain for Income Tax deductions, where as they are merely doing their statutory obligation. It is therefore pointless taking umbrage at this quixotic behavior or perception of employees.
However HR can take some proactive steps to ensure that they are seen in a more positive light and as employee friendly people by the employees. To begin with ensure that systems are geared up to ensure quick and effective interaction and communication with employees. This must begin right from the time one takes interviews ( see that candidates are properly guided and delays are minimized be it at the time of interview or even for their reimbursements where applicable). Make induction programs more innovative, interesting and welcoming so that new employees notice the professionalism as well as empathy of HR.
Listening is a key skill that HR must learn and imbibe. Most feelings are assuaged by a patient and empathetic hearing given to employees in distress. It would also help if systems are developed/ set in place for FAQ of employees. Develop SOP's for crisis management pertaining to employees e.g. an accident to an employee or the loss of credit card of an employee traveling abroad. Listening can also help you get some innovative solutions from employees which you can implement. Also give credit to those employees whose suggestions have a material bearing when utilized by HR. HR must also be sen as being fair to employees whilst addressing their grievances. It s this concept of fairness that if interpreted poorly by employees that does more damage to the perception of HR.
I am sure some of my suggestions will trigger more ideas relevant to your current work place and that you will be able to introduce and implement them and thereby positively influence your employees in having the right perception of their HR.
15th November 2012 From India, Mumbai
Mr Jacob has done an excellent job, in addressing your concern.
The best part of it is, he has viewed it impartially and has presented the facts from both the ends.
HR's role as the middle man becomes an enviable one, as seen by an employee.
The management places its faith on the HR to be an effective interface, between them and the employees.
HR should understand that the employees are their customers.
In this competitive world customer is the king has become a very strong slogan and rightly so.
The solution, lies in identifying the internal customer needs and the efforts taken in fulfilling the reasonable ones.
Those that cannot be fulfilled have to be carefully explained.
V.Raghunathan..................................... ............................. Navi Mumbai
16th November 2012 From India
A big thank you to Saurabh, Tajsateesh, Bhardwaj Ramesh, Pk Jain, V. Raghunathan, and Srilakshmi for their feedback and appreciation.
Mr.Raghunathan has made a pertinent point that employees must be seen as Customers by HR and immediately the approach of HR would be geared up to fulfill the customer expectations.
16th November 2012 From India, Mumbai
Remember, any employee shall feel happy to see one's own name, personal details, photograph, particulars of dependents, salary details, pay slip, Job Description and also his/ her KRAs/ Goals for the year. These are the basis on which one performs & grows in one's career. These are the aspects which inject transparency. H R technology is tending to be a big enabler for all types of on-line transactions. For example, why shouldn't an employee be able to see one's attendance records, leave details etc.. and be also able to apply for leave on line & obtain approval of the Manager/ Supervisor? If an employee has done something innovative, why shouldn't he/ she be able to share it instantly with others? Why can't the HR facilitate such a sharing of knowledge?
We, the HR people, mostly tend to isolate ourselves (by living in our own pigeon holes) and sometimes believe in exhibiting our power through denial of the legitimate, want people to approach us for every bit of information, are afraid of automating our processes & prefer that all information about HR should go to the management through us. We spend hardly any time in understanding company's business, the financial ratios on the Balance Sheet, Company's growth objectives, the type of competencies/ skills needed to achieve these objectives (an aspect of talent management) & are thus not focused strategically. We seldom update ourselves in the HR field, though we give sermons on the value of self-learning/ internet based education and so on. How, under these circumstances, do we expect others to look at us?
There are, however, many amongst us different from others. This breed of people could be termed as 'HR thinkers' - they prefer to be at par with those in operations & with others managing the business of the organization. They are designing 'Balance Score Cards', not only for HR staff, but for other functions too. They are helping functional heads & managers in creating Goal Sheets for the key people & enabling a linkage of these goals to those of their subordinates. They are developing performance indicators for each goal. They are looking for systems which help in tracking performance with respect to these goals. In brief, they are truly contributing to the company's business.
17th November 2012 From India, Delhi