When thinking about the purpose of human resources in an organization, one often thinks of the tasks of the field. Recruiting, onboarding, drafting job descriptions, discipline, performance management, benefits, and benefits, and more benefits etc… These are all certainly part of human resources, but the most important dynamic for this purpose is the development of individuals. Unfortunately, this no easy task, especially in a fast-paced, corporate environment.
Even though the to-do lists keep growing, it is of critical importance for the HR manager to think of themselves as more than task managers. In fact, what Human Resources really does, is manage the ‘humanity’ of the office.
Two main factors affect how an organization responds to the dynamics of people’s development. The first involves the people themselves. The second part includes the environment in which they work.
As for the people themselves, we must be empathetic to them. Everyone has circumstances and personal situations that will inevitably enter the workplace in one form or another. It is important that we as human resource professionals remain mindful of this and support our employees at an arm’s length in the best way that we can.
Their managers must be cognizant of their wants and desire to progress professionally, but human resources runs deeper than aspirations to be CEO one day. Human resources is focused on the human, making sure they have what they need to thrive both professionally and personally, whether it be health insurance, motivation, self-esteem or a shared vision of the company’s purpose.
Workplace conflicts, employee issues, and a number of other potential issues can be distractions and deterrents from this focus. These issues can hinder the growth of an employee within the organization, so they must be handled. This brings into play the second focus of human resources as it relates to managing the ‘humanity’ of an organization – the environment.
Another factor that influences the dynamics of human resources is the environment that exists for employees of the organization. The environment creates the climate and the air that your employees breathe. To properly support the development of an employee the environment must be a place of mutual respect and openness.
1) A workplace must be open to the employee’s voice whether it be an idea for how to improve a business process or a legitimate complaint about the working conditions. It is part of managing the environment of an organization.
2) Obviously pay needs to be fair and their must be promotion potential for better good performing employees. When it comes time to promote someone, hire from within if you can. It shows the other employees that vertical ascent in the organization is possible and it rewards that employee for service, loyalty and hard work.
3) Lastly, fire the bad people. Sometimes poison gets in the well and you got to get it out. It may be hard because this one employee may sell the most widgets or process the most claims but if they are causing drama, bullying other employees or threatening the culture you are promoting, get them out. There is nothing more damaging to a company than a bad apple. Because eventually it starts infecting the other apples.
Human Resources is about managing the ‘humanity’ of the office. This means not only having the personable connection with the employee and understanding them on an individual basis but it also means creating an environment that is conducive for success. This environment will help engage the employee which will in turn increase loyalty and connection to the mission. Employees often feel like a number. It’s HR’s job to reassure them that they are a valued individual that can better themselves professionally and personally within the organization. That’s a tough job, but one that gives an incredible benefit to the employee that goes well beyond any income statement or balance sheet.