6 "gifts" HR would love to see under the tree
Doesn’t everyone have a holiday wish list? We in HR do, too. Here’s a short list of the things my colleagues and I often wish for when we’re sitting around dreaming……
Understanding: For people to realize we’re there to help maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization’s human capital. For the most part, we’re not there to act as employee advocates (at least not exclusively), so people need to stop being offended when we approach an issue from the employer’s perspective.
Don’t shoot the messenger: we’d like senior management (and everyone else, for that matter) to stop thinking we’re too focused on compliance. The ever-increasing legal and regulatory burden placed on business is astounding, and isn’t our fault, so you need to stop "shooting the messenger." Ignoring legal risks won’t make them go away. Ignoring legal risks can sink your business. And just because we care about managing and preventing legal risks doesn’t mean we can’t be effective strategists too. It’d also be nice if managers, supervisors and employees would stop thinking we just sit around and dream up rules and policies for the fun of it. Trust me, it ain’t all that much fun.
We need accountability. Responsible human beings are accountable for their actions and decisions. Responsible supervisors and managers need to be accountable, and be held accountable for their actions and for supporting the mission of their employer. Don’t play the "HR made me do it" game when relating expectations to your employees. Don’t agree with company policy? Fine, discuss it with your manager; but please don’t ignore policies and procedures or employment laws and regulations, and don’t tell your employees to ignore them. If you can’t, or won’t, act as a responsible supervisor or manager, get out of supervising or managing.
For that outdated "warm and fuzzy" stereotype to go away. HR is now seen by many business leaders as a legitimate business discipline as essential as marketing or finance, so it’s time to stop seeing HR as the party planners and baby sitters and start seeing us as the strategic business partners we can be. Speaking of strategic, how about including us in those strategic business discussions instead of just informing us after you’ve all made decisions? How about treating us like the members of senior management you say we are? You might be surprised at what we’re able to add to those conversations. We can be much more useful to business leaders if we’re in the loop from the beginning and have the opportunity to contribute to the discussion. Simply bringing us in to implement what you’ve already decided is short-sighted.
Trust us. For more organizations to trust their HR departments to participate in, and even manage such areas such as business ethics, whistleblowing, corporate governance, employer branding, the use of blogging and social media in a business context, etc. Trust is an issue that comes into play in many areas. If you don’t like a law or regulation, that’s fine. But, just because you don’t like it, don’t assume that what we’re telling you is wrong and continually force us to "prove it". Trust that we’re the professionals you’re paying us to be. Trust that our knowledge and ability to apply that knowledge is solid and will add to the bottom line.
For everyone to remember that we’re human, too. Yep, that’s right. We’re just as much one of those "human resources" as any employee is. We want to know we’re appreciated, that we’re valued and are heard. We make mistakes (and fix them); we work hard and we care about the job we do, and most of us, most of the time, care about the organization for which we work so hard.
I hope your wish list is a bit more fun. Happy Holidays!!