By Sharoq al-Malki
There are no free lunches; that’s a fact. So most of us (except for a ‘lucky’ few) have to get up each morning and get to work to earn our living. Imagine how it would be if you absolutely hated your workplace.
Yes, even if you do love your love, it is possible to hate your office due to several reasons and this will make it quite impossible to get through the day! What is the solution to this problem?
The HR department plays a crucial role in creating the right work environment for you. The HR or Human Resources department is concerned with managing the people within the organisation. People (like you) are nothing short of assets and resources for the organisation. After all, it is people who work towards achievement of organisational goals and pave the way for the organisation to earn revenue and enhance its profitability. Hence the management of human resources is a crucial responsibility, which has been entrusted to the HR department.
So how does HR fare?
Unfortunately, in several organisations, HR is perceived as the ‘bad guy’ and people actually hate HR. There is a perception that HR knows nothing about the actual market realities and practicalities and focuses only on blind adherence to rules and policies. But that is not true.
It is now time to change this perception. HR is as important as any other department in the organisation like marketing or sales in helping the organisation achieve its objectives. HR helps by providing an environment that is conducive to helping employees work better and perform more efficiently. Of course as with other departments, the HR team is also not ideal. But organisations should strive to create a dream HR team, which accomplish all this and more.
Let’s carry out a simple exercise here. Why don’t we close our eyes and imagine for a moment what the dream HR will look like and what it will do.
The dream HR department has a ‘5E’ approach with respect to the organisation. What are the 5 Es and why are they important? Read on to find out.
1. Enabling a healthy working environment: An open, bias-free working environment where employees are assured of fair treatment is crucial for creating an atmosphere where employees give their best performance. HR is at the forefront in making this happen by incorporating the relevant guidelines and policies in the employee manual.
No doubt, the core initiative for this attitude has to come from the senior management and should be an integral part of the organisational culture. But it is the HR department that communicates the same to employees. And without clear communication, employees will have misconceptions about their working environment, which will affect their performance.
2. Enhancing motivation and productivity: HR is responsible for creating motivational programmes for employees. Strategies and policies with regard to fair performance assessments, recognising and rewarding good employee performance are drawn up by HR. These factors enhance motivation levels and improve the overall productivity within the organisation.
3. Engaging with the employees at all Levels: Employee engagement is a crucial factor to keep employees satisfied. One of the biggest reasons employees feel disengaged with their organisations is when they are unaware of the bigger picture, HR can and does facilitate regular employee interactions with senior managements where organisational mission and vision can be communicated to everyone.
HR can also take the responsibility of creating regular newsletters or other forms of communication to keep employees informed about organisational matters- awards received, new products developed etc. Often employees in one department have no clue what’s happening elsewhere,
Such a practice helps keep employees aware of the big picture and they feel good about being part of it.
Engaged employees are less likely to quit, which reduces employee turnover significantly, having a positive impact in reducing recruitment and training costs.
4. Empowering employees to do their work: Imagine the scenario, where you go to work everyday, but have no clue what to do or how to do it. Of course this is an exaggeration, but the fact is employees need continuous training and skill upgradation as required to perform their jobs well.
There has to be a degree of confidence in employees about their ability to do the job. And this will come only from appropriate and adequate training and development programmes, which are strategised and implemented by HR.
In fact the ‘Dream HR’ team should follow the 70- 20- 10 approach to learning and development. According to this model, for optimal learning to occur, 70% learning has to come from on the job training, 20% from social learning including interaction with peers and 10% from formal classroom based training sessions.
HR should create learning and development programmes for employees, which factors in all these three approaches in the right proportions.
5. Exploring newer avenues such as social media: In today’s Internet-based world, social media has taken over our lives in practically every aspect and business is no different. Companies need to have an active social media presence to succeed today.
HR can play leading role here by offering adequate support to employees in their social media initiatives. Creating and maintaining an organisational intranet helps fosters greater interaction amongst employees contributing to their social learning. Enabling access to social media such as LinkedIn and other industry related social networks enhances interaction with industry peers, which is good for individual learning and which will also contribute to organisational success.
Besides, HR also should embrace social media in their own functions such as recruitment. More and more HR professionals today are posting vacancies on their company social media pages to receive relevant applications, and experts in the industry are admitting that a social media background of potential candidates is now the norm rather than the exception.
Thus the dream HR team has a lot of aces up it sleeve to transform your workplace into a fun, healthy and more importantly a productive environment. This will be a place where you can look forward to exploring your maximum potential and where you can grow both professionally and personally.
But there is a hitch; after all, it is a ‘Dream HR’ team. And for dreams to become a reality, hard work is needed. So employees, management and HR personnel themselves need to work to create the dream HR team.
So what kind of ‘Dream HR’ team did you envision when you closed your eyes? Was it similar to the one I have sketched out? And (answer honestly) do you have a dream HR team in place? We would love to know.
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