In case there is an HR professional out there that has a delusion that you run things, here is your bubble bursting awakening. You don’t drive the train or blow the whistle, but if the business derails you can be sure that you will share in the blame. Unless the business of your company IS human resources, the expertise necessary to plan and execute operations to make money comes from other corporate minds. Having stated the obvious, it is also critical that the individuals responsible for managing the people aspects involved in company operations understand the inner workings of the business, the factors that impact productivity, and the individual and collective motivations of the employees. Like a doctor examining a patient’s mind, body and spirit to determine overall health, the human resources function must keep a finger on the pulse of the organization, diagnose problem areas, and prescribe actions by means of expertly influencing management.
The Mind = Organizational Memory – Similar to amnesia in people, businesses often lose their memory of how to do things. High turnover influences that churning of ideas and things that tried and failed before will probably be tried and fail again. Sometimes it is at executive level when a new CEO looks at data and with a few quick decisions can undo previous decisions and start down a different path. Other less notable changes happen when budgetary constraints and downsizing changes or eliminates the responsibilities of key individuals. The cost in lost productivity is only a fraction of the lost momentum and stress caused in rank and file employees. Recognizing negative trends and implementing programs to maintain employee communications and training is a major step toward the healing process.
The Body = Employee Engagement – The purpose of workplace engagement is ultimately to move a company forward toward its objectives with management and all employees contributing to the effort. Sensing that lack of engagement can often be measured in increased cost of operations, but keeping a finger on the pulse of the company means actively listening. Encouraging feedback from employees and making that feedback system a 360° process of communication will generate a feeling of involvement and caring. Employment attitude surveys and spot checks cannot just go through the motions, but must provide action on problem areas that are of common concern. Rewarding participation and engagement in reaching objectives makes hard work worth the effort.
The Spirit = Corporate Culture – The word “spirit” is an accurate description because there are certain things in the work environment that are only felt and not seen. Organizational culture reflects the values, beliefs, and norms that characterize the organization as a whole. This gives a very broad description of a culture in a company, but the one thing that is critical is to remember that it reflects the entire organization and not just one part. Culture may be steered by management through encouraging practices that involve participation at all levels, but it begins within. It is the sum total of bringing the right people into the organization, providing the resources and training to allow the magic to happen, and letting go to stimulate innovation and creativity.
Well Doctor Human Resources, your patient’s company’s life is in your hands. Encourage those who actually are driving the train to join you in preventive care and holistic health of the organization. You may not be the most important person in some eyes, but act as if you are and people will follow.
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