Five Ways the HR Department Can Earn Employee Respect
Todayís human resource departments are fighting for credibility. HR wants to be seen as a resource and a trusted advisor to management. Likewise, HR needs to be seen as credible in the eyes of e...
Todayís human resource departments are fighting for credibility. HR wants to be seen as a resource and a trusted advisor to management. Likewise, HR needs to be seen as credible in the eyes of employees. If employees donít respect and trust the HR function, the value of HR services is diminished. In my years of consulting with HR departments, Iíve noted five actions many HR departments could take to build respect in the eyes of their employees:
1. Be a constant source of information. I continue to be amazed by the number of employees that I meet who say they donít know what their HR department does. They are not familiar with the services provided or they have a gross misunderstanding of how HR functions. This is an easy issue to address. HR must constantly "drip" information to employees on a wide range of employment issues through a variety of media.. A detailed quarterly newsletter wonít work. Rather, provide information on a weekly or daily basis on a variety of topics that directly impact or benefit employees. Use as many communication methods as possible. Theyíll soon come to see you as a resource, rather than an obstacle.
2. Make your role known. Oftentimes, employees misunderstand how HR operates. They believe that HR information is ďconfidential.Ē They believe that HR should be ďon their side.Ē Then, when they donít get what they expect, they come to mistrust the entire HR function. How do we combat this phenomenon? Advertise your job, including your mission, your role, and your services. Make it known how you handle ďconfidentialĒ information. Donít be afraid to do a little education about the HR world. The more they know, the more they trust and respect you.
3. Get your ducks in a row. The quickest way to lose credibility with a workforce is to make mistakes. Not meeting deadlines, making "minor" errors, and not following through on promises will come back to haunt you every time. HR is watched by many eyes. We cannot afford to be sloppy or incomplete.
4. Constantly ask for feedback. Iím amazed at how many HR departments have no idea (or no interest) in how they are perceived by their customers. Conduct annual surveys and customer focus groups to find out what your employee customers think. Pursue continuous improvement as a result of the feedback. Those who are always getting better are always more respected.
5. Know your stuff. In this complex, litigious world, we cannot afford to be out of the loop. Respected professionals continuously learn and stay up on the trends and issues of their industry. If you canít attend regular HR-related conferences, at least read the journals. HR Magazine and Workforce are great sources that will keep you up-to-date on whatís happening in our world. If you arenít up to date, why would employees want to come to you for answers?
HR departments will continue fighting for credibility and respect if they donít address these simple things. All the analysis and documentation in the world canít change the fact that itís the little things that will get you!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marnie Green, Chandler, AZ, USA
Marnie E. Green is Principal Consultant of the Arizona-based Management Education Group, Inc. She is the author of Painless Performance Evaluations: A Practical Approach to Managing Day to Day Employee Performance (Pearson/Prentice Hall). Green is a speaker, author, and consultant who helps organizations develop leaders today for the workforce of tomorrow. Contact Green at http://www.managementeducationgroup.com