HR needs a makeover. There, we said it. Most employers and people managers are guilty of being stuck in their ways when it comes to people practices. And it’s understandable. After all, change is hard, and it can be daunting. But just because you’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean your approach is set in stone! Our perspective? It’s time to shake things up and adopt a fresh outlook on how we manage people. It’s time for a rethink of how we “do” HR.
With that in mind, here are 5 old school attitudes to people management that the new HR is leaving in the dust.
1. A “one-size-fits-all” approach to people management. This is one thing millennials have right—every employee is a special snowflake. We’re all unique individuals, and everyone deserves to be recognized and treated as an individual. Yes, you need policies, and yes, there are certain rules and legislation you’re going to have to work within, but it’s time to let go of our rigid ways of approaching people practices. After all, treating employees fairly doesn’t mean that you’re treating everyone exactly the same way. Integrate flexibility into your approach to create solutions that work for everyone. HR is about more than compliance and policy—it’s about people.
2. The traditional office. Newsflash—your office can look and function however you want it to. Most of us spend 40 plus hours a week at work, so make it a place everyone actually wants to come to. Use your imagination, and tailor your workspaces to the way you work. It doesn’t have to be fancy of complicated. Create quiet spaces for heads-down work, invest in some comfy chairs for an alternative reading space, designate stretching areas with mats, and support flexible work arrangements. Providing workspace options means that employees are empowered and allowed to work in the ways (and places) that best suit them. So ditch the cubicle mentality, provide the right tools and supports, create spaces that fuel creativity and productivity, and watch the magic happen.
3. The idea that quitting is a bad thing. We’re not saying you should let your employees walk out the door, but if someone hates doing a certain aspect of their job and they’re struggling with it, throw them a life raft, and let them quit the task. Instead of forcing a square peg to fit into a round hole, work to employee strengths: shift duties to let them do more of the things they like doing, and more of the things that get them “in the zone”. Then sit back and watch productivity and engagement skyrocket.
4. Risk mitigation perspective. A lot of HR practice has traditionally been focused on the fear-based “what ifs”, on compliance, on mitigating risk, and on planning for the worst-case scenario. It’s time for a colossal shift from the negative focus on contingency planning and risk mitigation. Instead, concentrate on enabling performance, cultivating a servant-based leadership approach, and facilitating employee engagement. The results will be worth it – higher job satisfaction, increased productivity, and a more engaged workplace.
5. Your ivory tower. How’s the air up there? It’s time to come down from that ivory tower. Losing touch with what’s going on at the front-line level is a mistake many employers and HR managers make. But the best way to have your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in your organization is to spend time with the people who make it all tick. So use that open door policy, stop hiding behind emails, and take twenty minutes every day to check in with your front-line employees.
Your Engaged HR Assignment: Are you guilty of being stuck in your ways when it comes to people practices? If you are, don’t be afraid to step outside of the box and introduce some changes to your HR strategy, using the list above as a guide.
Want to revamp your HR approach but don’t know where to start? You know who to call!