Making HR Cool: How to Boost the Image of Human Resources in Your Organization
If I had a dime for every time someone said to me, "I wouldn't want your job", I would be a very wealthy person. As a person who has to be involved in terminations, disciplinary issues and investigations of discrimination, people generally do not envy the decisions I have to make on a daily basis. However, I think there are a lot of misconceptions about the Human Resources field. Perhaps, I can set the record straight.
What is Human Resources?
Human Resources (HR) essentially serves as the hub for employee activity in an organization. While there are some variations as to what different department do, the primary functions are as follows:
- Recruitment and Staffing
- Employee Relations
- Labor Relations
- Risk Management & Safety
While many organizations combine areas listed above, have another related specialization (such as pension) or simply don't include one or two of them, it can be certain that every Human Resources function is geared toward supporting the employees in an organization.
Organization leaders are starting to recognize the importance of including Human Resources as a strategic partner in the organization. Appreciation for human capital and the direct relation of high performing employees to the bottom line is giving Human Resources a seat at the "grown up" table on the top floor. Company CEO's are finally asking for input from Human Resources representatives as they set goals and make plans for their strategic goals of the entire organization. Investing in the employees in the workplace is paramount to reaching strategic goals. Taking care of employees will develop trust and loyalty that will take an organization to new heights.
Human Resources, as a support department, should serve the employees in the many different aspects of their employment. Whether it be for the purpose of advising them on their options for FMLA (Family & Medical Leave Act), giving them choices for which insurances to select during open enrollment, or how to file a grievance over a dispute, Human Resources should provide guidance to allow employees the ability to make sound decisions. HR staff should make customer service a priority for serving all employees, from the entry level worker to the CEO. The more accommodating the HR staff is with employees, the more trust they will have for coming forward with concerns and constructive feedback. When HR needs to reach out to employees for cooperation about a new policy or program, employees who respect their HR staff will be more likely to work with them to make the policy successful. Furthermore, employees need to have faith in their Human Resources Department in the event that there is harassment, bullying, or some form of mistreatment occurring.
Some Closing Thoughts
Not many kids growing up will tell their parents that they want to be an HR Director or Manager. However, the individuals who do the job and truly enjoy the challenges and different aspects of it appreciate the contribution they make to create a better workplace. Employees who are willing to be open about their concerns because they trust their HR staff will play an integral role in making the workplace a better place for all.