“Many HR pros think their greatest values are protecting managers from less-than-smart decisions and helping managers keep on track with compliance and or administrative measures,” writes Burke.
“That’s how we help. That’s how we are relied upon. Only thing missing: It’s not how you are respected.”
Burke doesn’t argue HR teams shouldn’t support managers or that they shouldn’t want to be relied upon. Instead, she asks HR professionals to redefine the value they’re able to add to the company, and make sure the company understands what the HR role can be.
HR has a lot of opportunities to add value to the company’s daily function as well as its long-term strategic goals. But these HR pros have to step out of the sidekick position and take steps to make their role integral to the company’s success.
Here are 4 roles HR professionals can take on to capitalize on the potential in their position:
HR has to know about the company’s industry. From compliance issues to talent acquisition, the HR department knows the nitty gritty of what the company does. This means they are also in a great position to be teachers for the company’s employees. HR can host professional development sessions or organize lunch and learn workshops to inform employees of new industry best practices or to share new trends.
Incorporate these workshops into employees’ formal training, or find a way to informally but regularly educate employees through weekly newsletters or trivia. There are plenty of opportunities for HR to take part in the company’s overall education.
The HR department’s business is people, and every company’s best recruiting tool is its people. As such, HR professionals can play a huge role in developing an employer brand for companies to attract and hire new talent. HR understands and helps influence company culture, so they can contribute to marketing this culture to others, and most HR professionals are uniquely positioned to articulate what makes the company different. On the other hand, if the company is struggling with engagement and turnover, the HR department should be involved in reversing the trend.
HR professionals can play a huge role in creating, developing, and maintaining the culture of their organization. First, identify the fundamentals of the culture – whether it’s yearly retreats or Bagel Fridays, determine what practices perpetuate the company’s values and make employees happy, engaged, and proud to work there. Then survey employees to find out what they may think could be improved upon – is there a benefit they wish the company offered, or a perk they think employees would enjoy?
Create new, additional programming or traditions that reflect and improve on the company culture. Plan social events outside the office to encourage inter-department bonding. Host happy hours for new hires so they can meet their coworkers. HR has the resources and the knowledge to meaningfully and effectively sustain the best parts of a company’s culture.
This may seem counterintuitive for HR professionals who want to take a more integral role in the company’s growth and development, but being a “Human Concierge” department instead of a Human Resources department means you’re ready and willing to help with anything employees need.
Whether they want a restaurant suggestion for a first date or they need help through the adoption process – be there for them, and be ready to help. It doesn’t relegate the HR department into a subservient, wingman role. Instead it elevates the department into a resource employees know they can trust and rely upon.