I’ll be speaking on a panel tomorrow on the most difficult things an HR director faces. When I started to make my notes, the list got longer and longer. Let’s face it, it’s not always roses and sunshine in the HR world; in fact, our very jobs require us to deal with the prickliest situations out there. I don’t have enough time to speak on every incidental that makes my job difficult so eventually decided that nearly all my woes could go under these three things:
- Bad Hires. If you’re not hiring for culture fits, you’ll have issues. Employees won’t get along. The work flow becomes sludgy. And your ability to maximize performance is stunted. Bad hires also come in the form of bad bosses—whom I despise. A bad boss can damage a business or department for years after they leave. Here you have someone empowered to hire bad line-level employees, too. Or maybe good folks flee. It’s interesting how hiring can sometimes be put on the backburner, mainly because HR departments are so busy dealing with the end results of bad hires. But a new and fresh focus on recruitment practices is the first step toward unknotting thickets in the workplace.
- Balancing Employee Issues with Business Needs. First off, there shouldn’t be a need for a balance. There shouldn’t be two schools of thought: HR peeps who are pro-employee or HR peeps who are pro-business. HR works for the business. All employees should be pro-business, too. They shouldn’t be opposed to business needs; they should be so engaged that business needs are at the forefront of their minds. Everyone should be moving forward together toward common goals with communicated values. What happens, though, is that line-level employees are treated as incidental and replaceable. They are kept in the dark about financials and achieved milestones. How can they care about business needs when they don’t even know what they are? Also, some businesses try to make money on the backs of their employees—and this leads to a great divide between the two. Engage employees wholly and move forward together. Please. It will make my job a whole lot easier.
- Inconsistency. If you have a squishy corporate culture without consistent practices, my job is nearly impossible. I despise the whole “same page” saying because most who are saying this haven’t even opened the book. Really, what they’re wanting is consistency. Consistency gives employees freedom. And, believe it or not, freedom is born from boundaries. From knowing what to expect. Employees can grow and think and move the company forward with these clear parameters.
Of course, I could add some more thoughts on the ACA and zillions of new California labor laws, but that’s another blog altogether. If we HR Directors focus on heading off the three problems above, a lot of the hard stuff will dissipate.