Getting to the heart of HR
Amazing changes have taken place over the last 20 years while I have been specialising in Talent and Human Resources.
Whether you still call it ‘HR’ (Human Resources) or ‘P&C’ (People and Culture), organisations are all trying to get the best out of their people and develop amazing cultures.
No matter if it is developing your ‘EVP’ (Employee Value Proposition) or implementing an ‘EAP’ (Employee Assistance Program), there always seems to be an endless list of things to do to improve your company’s ability to attract and retain the best talent.
But there has been one constant over this time, and it is about valuing your people. From my experience, what organisations really need to get good at, is getting to know the talent they have. This involves truly understanding what drives each person and valuing their uniqueness and what they can bring to their organisation.
While this sounds like a simple task, it relies on having people leaders with well-developed EI (Emotional Intelligence – sorry another HR acronym) to find the ‘sweet spot’ or intersection between what drives the individuals with the values and goals of the organisation. But this can only be achieved in high trust environments where employees are truly respected, valued and encouraged to use their full potential.
Let me give you a simple example, I was recently supporting a Manager who was struggling with a conversation she had with one of her employees. She questioned ‘why should I pay my employee for overtime when she came in late for work last week and didn’t give me a reason’?
It was clear to see that the way the employee was being managed was via a low trust relationship, where ‘unders and overs’ where tracked in a ‘tit for tat’ way.
Consider an alternative where the relationship is based on high trust, where time is not tracked and where the output of work from the employee is valued over the number of hours he or she spends in the office. In this scenario, would it matter if the person came in late a few times?
So how do you get to a place where you have high performing employees? It’s really about getting to the ‘Heart’ of the person. And just like in our personal relationships, that can only be achieved through a trusting and nurturing relationship where the two parties genuinely understand and care about each other.
In an increasingly competitive global environment, where young and dynamic millennials are creating exciting and agile start-up companies, the ‘traditional’ approach to managing people and ‘policing’ staff no longer works!
So, what is at the heart of HR? It is about getting to really know your people, understanding what motivates them, creating the freedom for them to be the best they can be (albeit with defined boundaries) and getting out of the way so that people can do their best work.
When the individual relationships are great, the collective company culture benefits and the true personality of the organisation develops.
What then does it take to have a great HR Function? You need to proactively implement strategies that support employee engagement, have clearly defined and lived organisational values, continually provide clarity of purpose and implement strategies that support high performance.
And in addition to all that, if you want to improve your culture, it needs to be done from the top down and the ground up, one conversation at a time, one great relationship at a time.