A 2020 study of humanity at work found that 42% of workers don’t trust HR. Though HR’s purpose is to be the ambassadors of an organization and trusted confidantes of employees, the HR department may be seen as intimidating because of its focus on enforcing company policies and procedures.
In order for HR professionals to become more effective people-leaders and create a positive company culture, they must work to change commonly held prejudices against HR. This process starts with making progressive HR mindset shifts.
Continue reading to learn more about HR mindset shifts and how you can put the human back in human resources.
From human resources to people and culture professionals
This mindset shift goes beyond a rebranding of HR titles; it’s about redefining the purpose of HR. Instead of a department that sees humans as important assets to a company (e.g. Human Resources), people and culture professionals see their employees and company culture as the core aspects of the organization as a whole.
From policy enforcer to employee-experience ambassador
Company culture should focus on the employee experience. People and culture advocates should be committed to creating a work environment that fosters teamwork, innovation, and fun—empowering employees to do their best work. HR’s focus will be on improving the people experience from the interview stage to onboarding to retention and career development, and even offboarding. In this way, HR’s role is to be an advocate for the people.
From process-driven to people-driven
Compliance is an essential part of HR’s responsibilities, and establishing processes is critical to fulfilling compliancy. That said, when processes are taking precedence over your people, it’s time to refocus your priorities. Processes must be flexible and people-centric. Automate any processes that can be automated to allow for more time and resources to go towards your people. Use HR management solutions to improve efficiencies so your HR leaders can spend more time on strategic people-priorities instead of administrative tasks.
From sharing a little to sharing a lot
HR has access to sensitive information, from people’s personal data to important information related to the organization. Confidentiality is critical. However, confidentiality does not override honesty, compassion, and fairness. When it comes to matters that affect your people and your culture, HR should share as much as possible with employees. If there is something that requires confidentiality, be clear and direct as to why that is.
From saying no to saying yes
“No” shouldn’t be the default response to requests and suggestions. Instead, look for ways to say yes, advocating for your employees and their input. If the answer is no, be honest in your reasoning but give your employees the opportunity to provide feedback to your response.
From forcing fun to encouraging culture
HR often plays the role of the awkward host, persuading employees to participate in activities they’re maybe not that interested 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.
Turning metrics into actionable insights
HR leaders often collect, measure, and translate data to describe what’s happening in the present landscape. Now, HR must use data to inform better decision-making for the benefit of all employees. This means that HR needs to learn to turn data into stories and scenarios, and then drive HR strategy based on that data.
The seven HR mindset shifts we’ve just discussed are about (re)directing the focus of HR towards your people. When you work to shift the company mission to enable employees to do their best work, your employees are then better able to contribute to achieving your organization’s mission, vision, values, and goals.