Help an Employee Personally
Managers aren’t the only ones that refer to the human resources department as “they.” Employees not only view them in similar fashion but often perceive that the human resources department has omnipotent powers. They think rules come from human resources. Human resources is often the disseminator of policies, procedures and, unfortunately, is tagged with responsibility for their creation.
Little does the rest of the world know that human resources in many organizations has very little power. Among the management team, human resources often feels like a step-child. It is called in after the fact to sweep up after an employee relations matter has been handled. It is called in after the fact to clean up the bodies after a mass layoff.
If it imperative that the human resources professional develop a reputation of genuinely caring for employees. The way to do this is, again, baby steps.
Instead of sending the employee with a sick child to the benefit carrier’s website, help him personally. Now I know what you are thinking: Employees are irresponsible and expect everyone to do things for them. Did it ever occur to you that this employee could be overwhelmed? Many years ago, there was an employee in my company whose husband had been out of work as the result of a workers’ compensation injury for some time. She was working as many hours as she could to make ends meet. It was near the holidays I gave her a card in which I had tucked some cash. She tossed the card in her bag and did not open it until she had gotten home. She cried. It was twenty-five dollars. It could have been one dollar or a thousand dollars. The impact on her was that she realized that someone had been watching and someone cared.
Instead of hiding behind memos to disseminate policy, have meetings – particularly when its bad news. If you have to implement a policy or change that no one will like, stand up and deliver the news with conviction, especially if it’s the right thing to do. You will be respected immeasurably for it.