Gain a greater knowledge of the traditional views of human resources, as well as, how and why it needs to be "reset" in view of the topic of "people problems".
- What do you think when you hear HR? When I ask this question, no matter who responds, whether from within the HR community or outside, most answers aren't flattering. And very few reflect the hard work that most HR professionals contribute. Unfortunately, this type of view is very limiting and skewed and the tragedy is that some HR professionals see themselves this way too. And that's why I'm so passionate about elevating HR's reputation to one of competent strategic business partner.
Now, in order to achieve this, many of us need a reset. And to accomplish that, we need to recognize and acknowledge how we're currently seen and what we can aspire to. So let's start by looking at four popular views of HR. The first is the administrator, aka paper pusher. I can still remember my first day as a benefits administrator for a 500 member international group.
I sat behind my desk through the mounds of paper and said, "Look at all this paper!" And all the filing to do, I was overwhelmed! Yes, we're the keepers of the essential documents and they've got to be complete, organized, and ready at a moment's notice. The sheer volume and activity of this responsibility alone could define us, but we are so much more. For sure, documentation is essential yet many times those documents aren't related to policies being enforced.
Which leads to the second popular view, the policy police or the enforcer. We need policies. We have to have them and follow them. They establish boundaries for workplace behavior. And without appropriate enforcement, we'd have even more employee problems. But some of us monitor policy obedience with a bit of too much diligence and intensity and it can create an atmosphere of, shall we say a military state? Look, you and I know we're just doing our job.
We're just trying to hold the place together and keep the peace. And yet, the way we manage policy violations and the paperwork surrounding it can give us a bad wrap. That leads us to the third view, the company parent. An article by HR Acuity stated that human resource managers spend 24 to 60% of their time trying to resolve workplace conflicts. That's a lot of time spend resolving conflicts. It can make us feel and look like parents, breaking up fights and trying to get the kids to get along.
And it's easy to get in that mode and get stuck there. I had an HR staff member once who followed every rule to a T. Her demeanor in conversations regularly sounded frustrated and condescending. Her tone projected a message of, what's wrong with you? Don't you know how to behave any better? Or grow up, I'm tired of dealing with you. She was caught up in being the company parent and people avoided her and problems only got worse.
The fourth and last view is bearer of bad news. Yes, we do need to share negative information and deliver harsh truths. And so, our peers or direct reports when they see us coming might be thinking, here she comes again. And yet, we can't let this view define us nor undermine the value we bring. You see, these four views are dangerous because they can weigh us down and influence how we approach our work, and how we see ourselves.
And in the end, we may take it as our cross to bear since after all, we're in HR. So, let me invite you to refrain and rethink your brand and your department's brand. And as we go through this course, I want you to be thinking about how you'll create an exciting and successful transition to a valuable, strategic business partner.
- Leveraging your employee handbook and other documentation
- Managing assumptions and bias
- Establishing a reliable process
- Reevaluating the HR role
- Creating partnerships
- Preparing to coach
- Conducting coaching conversations