Pursuing career as a HR Professional sometimes traps you in an uncomfortable position as a middle man. While the job demands you to represent the company in a positive light and be the face of the employer brand, on the flipside it requires you to be highly professional in your people management style and approach towards ensuring smooth organisational workings.
With the penetration of social media reach and employees being the next brand ambassadors, the HR personnel are required to hold their ground firm as the employer brand advocates promoting fairness, diversity and inclusion. They are required to be highly aware to protect the employer brand from any defamation claims made by employees, going viral on social media.
Since the dual-role of employee management and brand advocates can be quite challenging, it demands of the professional to be consistent, fair and accessible to help resolve issues at the workplace with prompt care.
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According to findings reported by CareerBliss poll in 2012, showed that 72 percent of employees consider HR as management’s puppets, 21 percent thought that HR supports side that is legal and right, and just below 7 percent think that, “HR looks out for employees.”
The survey findings come as a matter of no surprise with high percentage of employees not trusting HR professionals as key personnels who defend their rights and strive for an effective workplace culture for employee wellbeing and benefits.
Instead, some employees view HR professionals as management’s tools to control the workforce and convince employees to keep up the productivity levels and quality of work to seek company advancement prospects and meet business vision.
This low trust and reliability on HR professionals affects employee behaviour, their engagement levels at work and impacts the overall talent retention strategy. A large number of employees feel lack of encouragement to be able to speak up on issues that affect their workings and conflict situations at work. This further creates a communication void between employers, HR managers and the workforce, wherein expectations and reality do not reach a common ground of interest to collaborate and function in harmony.
Here are 3 ways HRs could work towards gaining trust of employees in the workplace:
Be an Ally. Most employees commonly see HR professionals as their protector, defenders and advocates, who are able to provide valuable suggestions and inputs to resolve workplace issues on time. They expect HR professionals to intervene and be the intermediary point of contact to address their concerns and help bridge company expectation goals.
While it’s highly impossible to expect HR professionals to mean all of these things and work as great ally and support system for employees at all times, they have to be approachable and in sync with the inner workings and issues of an organisation.
Be straightforward and consistent. Being straightforward about the job roles with employees and maintaining confidentiality of information would help HR professionals to gain trust of the workforce and build great professional rapport. It is further expected of HR professionals to be consistent in their approaches, fair decision-making and keep the ongoing communication with employees through practising transparency.
It is common in most workplaces for certain employees holding senior positions to be offered more leeway in terms of leaves and late arrivals at work, but such inconsistent partial behaviours would reflect bad on the entire workforce to impact employee morale and performance. HRs should stay away of any signs of unfairness and discriminatory practices at work.
Be meticulous to details. It is rather unfair of employers and senior management or the employees to expect HR professionals to be quick problem-solvers. Scores of company policy guidelines, workplace standards, culture and value system all contribute towards maintaining employee morale and expectations of the desired workplace. However, not all wishes can be fulfilled, some just cannot, since HRs are not born perfectionist – they are bounded with limitations of mankind. However, dealing with issues in specifics can aid HRs to become great problem-solvers in time.
Retaining the core of trust intact by maintaining discretion and levels of confidentiality in the workplace, further supported by transparent approaches to work and fairness, together will gain trust of employees to create harmonious workplace culture.
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