Working in human resources offers a unique view into a company and its employees, and it’s this insight that holds both advantages and disadvantages for the HR professional. Though HR intends to be considered as ambassadors of an organization and a trusted confidante for its employees, they may be seen as intimidating to employees for their focus on enforcing company policies and procedures.

In order for HR pros to become the effective people leaders they strive to be and to create a company culture that people want to work at, they must work to change the commonly-held perceptions against HR. This starts with making progressive HR mindset shifts in order to adapt to the evolving environment of human resources.

From human resources towards people and culture

This shift goes beyond a rebranding of HR titles, it’s about redefining the purpose of the profession of HR. Instead of a department that sees humans as important assets to a company, people and culture professionals see their employees and company culture as the core aspects of the organization as a whole.

From HR policies enforcer towards employee experience ambassador

People and culture is about the employee experience within a company, and people and culture advocates are committed to creating a work environment that fosters teamwork, innovation, and fun so all employees are empowered and enabled to do their best work. HR’s focus will be on improving the people experience from the initial recruitment activities through employee retention and development. In this view, HR’s role is to be an advocate for the people.

From driven by processes towards driven by people

Compliance is a necessary and important part of HR responsibilities, and establishing processes is critical to fulfilling compliancy. That said, when following processes take precedence in priority over your people, it’s time to refocus your priorities. Keep your processes flexible and people-centered. Look towards automating your processes to allocate more time and resources towards your people. Harness HR management solutions to improve efficiency so that your HR leaders are spending more hours on strategic people priorities instead of administrative matters.

From divulging as little information as possible towards sharing as much as you can

HR has access into sensitive information, from your people’s personal data to important information related to the organization, and therefore, confidentiality in the field is critical to uphold. However, confidentiality does not override traits like honesty, compassion, and fairness. When it comes to matters that affect your people and your culture, share what you can, and if there is something that requires confidentiality, be clear, direct, and transparent as to why that is.

From saying no towards saying yes

HR pros don’t have to use ‘no’ as the default response to requests and suggestions. Instead, look for ways to say yes, to make great ideas a possibility, and to essentially advocate for your employees and their input. If the answer is no, be honest in your reasoning and yet leave the opportunity open for the employee to provide feedback.

From forcing fun towards encouraging culture

HR often plays the role of the awkward host, persuading employees into activities they are not particularly interested in participating in. If you want to have a culture where your people interact and have fun, provide suggestions, let it happen organically, and then join them! Supporting culture means immersing yourself in it, encouraging it, and sometimes getting out of the way so it can emerge on its own.

From translating metrics towards making actionable insights

HR leaders often collect, measure, and translate data to describe what’s happening in the present landscape. In the future, HR must use data to inform better decision making and thus make better decisions. This means they need to learn to turn data into stories and scenarios, and then drive HR strategy based on that data.

Over to you

These mindset shifts are about directing the focus of HR towards the way your company sees and interacts with your people, by shifting the mission to aligning and enabling employees to work to the fullest of their potential so they can contribute to achieving your organization’s mission, vision, values, and goals.

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