How you see HR having a positive role in organisations
HR professionals should always be part of the business, whether that be senior board or project level. You need to be aware what is happening in each area of the business as best you can, to be able to grow your knowledge, trust and respect that is needed to give appropriate support. Get involved!
HR functions differ in every organisation, based on the expectation and history of the individual and the leadership teams, senior management or owners and industry. The challenge is to find a company where you fit and can make a positive difference.
I believe HR should make their role known! HR should not be a rude word or something that is seen as fluffy, done by others or someone else’s responsibility. I see everyone’s role as being responsible for HR, in that if you manage people or are part of a team and contribute, you have a direct impact to the organisation’s culture, direction and success. Therefore, if it’s said HR is not seen as adding value in a company, then it’s reflective of the organisation not just the HR function.
In one company to improve the integration of the HR function, I bought the team down from a top floor, which was the furthest away room you could find (very ivory tower) and where no one ever seemed to go and come out of that has a locked door that you had to knock on to enter. I blocked the door open, but it was a fire hazard. In this instance, I located the HR function closer to the business, where people popped in more. In another, I moved the team from a room at the end of the building to next to the canteen, which really enabled a much more integrated HR function.
I maintain a walk-about every day to highlight the HR presence within the business and have many 1-1s during the time which gives me the opportunity to understand the current business demands.
How you view your role in HR at your company?
I came to HR from a background in management / customer services, so I know not to talk to business leaders with HR jargon. You need to demonstrate you understand the issues the business faces. I hope to highlight and suggest what can’t be done and raise any concerns, but also help to demonstrate what can be done and offer solutions.
Not just in this company but previously, my role offers the opportunity to coach people to help solve the issues the company faces before they become formal, which can save endless personal upset, paperwork, time and potential legal problems. I feel very much the bridge between many issues and where possible bring any issues to an appropriate conclusion.
I have just started in my role at Ebeni at the beginning of the year. Right now, it’s about providing the daily HR function in a company of approximately 80 employees, including interpretation of policies, processes and procedures, and blending the daily challenges of resourcing, reward, L & D and employee engagement. I’ve completed a base line review of HR policies, processes and procedures to ensure that all are documented and performed correctly and supporting work for the transition to ISO9001:2015.
What are your goals for HR at your company?
Long term, we’re looking forward to how we design a personal development programme for a workforce that spans Baby Boomers into Gen Alpha. Different age groups have different expectations of employment, and we need to fit that within the company framework.
We’re also taking a step towards a complete re-evaluation of performance management into a more agile, flexible 1-1 framework – great fun! This has taught me never to accept what you have always been doing, keep open, listen, re-evaluate and challenge situations with your past knowledge.
How have you worked with EEF to support your goals
In the past, I’ve worked very closely with EEF team and couldn’t have done without them during very difficult downsizing and redundancy exercises in larger companies which took many months of working together.
As an EEF member through the HR and employment law support package, I’ve also had extremely good relationships with my local contact and the team I have met through the years. They are always a pleasure to do business with and give that real support. A lot of solicitors will give high level advice on what the law says, but when I spoke to my EEF adviser, she would find out the history of our problem and what we wanted the outcome to be. She would then provide the legal options and the implications. You feel like you’re talking to a real person on the end of the line. I feel confident bringing a manager in to talk an issue through with her.
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