AUGUST 16, 2023

A New Partnership With HR

I’m seeing a trend that cuts across many workplace issues, including DEIB, performance, retention, recruiting, interpersonal conflict, and professionalism.

What’s at the center of all these vital organizational functions?

Human Resources.

What’s the trend?

That HR is being pulled in so many directions that they’re struggling to deliver on their core responsibilities. Most of their time is spent fighting fires.

Many leaders I know are complaining about their HR teams without acknowledging this reality.

This is the cause of so many individual HR professionals being questioned or blamed. Their competence is being questioned. Their capacity is being questioned. Their value to the organization is being questioned.

As a result, HR professionals will fall into one or more of these categories:

  1. Those who just do what’s asked, even though they know it’s impossible, just to stay in survival mode. These are the people who live in fear and just want to keep their leaders happy.
  2. Those who don’t collaborate and just go into defensive mode, blaming those around them and creating negativity, and/or
  3. Those who have checked out, quiet-quit, or just clock in and clock out. They’re on autopilot and are acting robotic, just to get through the day.

None of this helps an organization thrive.

It’s time for a reset.

Let’s stop asking HR professionals to try to be everything to everybody in order to justify their existence.

Let’s create a new partnership with HR.

This starts with acknowledging how the HR role has evolved. The job is no longer just about org charts, employee reviews, and salary adjustments. HR professionals have become true business partners in all things culture, engagement, and interpersonal relationships, as well as, strategic planners, vision enhancers, new business developers, and external engagers.

Let’s recognize that there can be no viable business strategy without putting employees at the forefront. HR knows that when leaders don’t consider the impact of their decisions on real people, it’s incomplete.

Second, leaders need to recalibrate their conception of HR, so HR isn’t blamed for things out of their control in our current business reality.

Leaders can help prevent HR from developing a victim mentality.

What does this New HR Partnership look like?

  1. Re-establish for the entire organization the role of HR. Share your expectations around what they can and should not be asked to do.
  2. Re-evaluate your HR teams. Do you have the right people in the right seats, ready to tackle today’s challenges?
  3. Give HR the resources they need to do their jobs. This may include DEIB and crucial conversation training, but training is the key here!
  4. Give HR some cover to recover.
  5. Establish HR as equal partners at the executive table.

Schools have teacher-to-student ratios. Organizations should as well. SHRM says the average organization has 2.57 HR professionals for every 100 employees, with smaller organizations having more and larger organizations having less. Do you know the right ratio for your current needs?

Your ratios should be challenged because they probably don’t take into account the health of your organization. Illness requires medicine, care, and healing.

And finally, a word to my HR colleagues…

You also have a role to play.

Yes, you’ve been burdened tremendously these past few years, but now is actually your opportunity to step up.

You know people.

Get yourself out of survival mode and into proactive supporting mode. Speak up about YOUR needs.

When you are supported, you can better support your organization. Now is your time to shine.

Need supplemental HR Support? Let us know. We’re here to help.