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Human Resources, AKA, A House of Cards Department

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There is a common complaint I often hear from my friends who are working in Human Resources department and observe in companies from different sectors: “nobody likes us”. If you are reading this article as a Human Resources professional, you know the feeling. On the other hand, if you’re a professional from a different department, I am pretty sure you have some thoughts like “but you are like this, you act like that”. Maybe it is hard for you to believe but we have actually different tasks than wearing fancy clothes and walking on the plaza halls, having fun (!) with asking insulting questions to candidates during interviews, giving payroll/workpapers, organizing company dinners once in a while, gossiping about other employees and enjoying (!) low performance levels.

During my first years at HR, I attended a seminar. The teacher said “Tell everyone what you are doing as Human Resources. They wouldn’t know if you didn’t tell them what HR is.” That moment, I realized: I never tried to tell actually. Yes, I was aware that people thought this way but I actually never tried to change this. Maybe you will be having the same prejudices even after you finish reading this article. You may still see me as the “New Girl in the House of Cards Department”. But if you could make it until this part, I think I deserve a chance for the next part, as well.

Human Resources has different definitions in various resources, yet I’m one of those who believe this profession is defined by the words of people who perform it without depending on the other cliche definitions. My own definition is: “Human Resources is the department that is responsible for turning all human resources within an institution into happy employees.” That is why I do not believe a person who does not care about people and their happiness can work at Human Resources. If my colleagues do not feel happy about coming to work in the morning, or count every minute they are spending in the office, or go through a torture that they have to cope with only to earn money, I think it is because I fail as a Human Resources worker. Because it is this department’s responsibility to take this situation under control and rearrange the systems, if necessary.

Once, the general manager of the company I currently work for said, “People work for 3 reasons: Money, Career and/or Environment”, and I find it true.  And I add that these reasons are under Human Resources responsibility.

Let’s start with ‘Money’. What I mean here by ‘Money’ is all of the in-house administrative works; in other words, setting up the balance as being in the middle of employee-employer-state triangle. Salaries paid by employer, relevant laws and legal resolutions should be taken into account on this step. Human Resources should ensure justice among employees and between employer and them. They should warn both the employee and the employer in case they do not have access to their legal rights. For instance, there wouldn’t be a peaceful environment for employees if one gets paid two times more than the other even though both do the same job with equal competency levels.

As the second reason to work, ‘Career’ can be provided by setting up specific systems for the firm. In this respect, there should be an Organization Management System; which means, in addition to the organization schemes, the job analysis and valuation should be done properly and the results should be documented. And accordingly, a Selection and Placement System should be established. Following the job analysis result about which qualification is required for which position, those who have the relevant qualifications should be targeted to interview. And the motive should be “the right candidate for the right assignment”. Training and Development System Modules should applied to each newly recruited employee, which are developed according to their positions. And they should not be allowed to start their job unless they complete the orientation and new employee training. There should be a Performance Management System that is adapted as fair and appropriate in order for the institution to appraise the employee working and taking necessary trainings to conduct his/her job. In this respect, the environment should be provided properly for the employee appraisal with the best method. There should also be a Wage Management System developed for ensuring justice and equality in line with the performance appraisals. And employers should embrace the practice of the “salary not for the person, but for the position”. As a result, and to provide a correct career planning during the whole process, there should also be a Career Management System suitable for the institution.

 

Finally, it is again Human Resources’ responsibility and duty to provide such an “environment” that everybody wants to work in. There is a certain culture in every company. This culture was not probably developed consciously by the employer and employees. The corporate culture creates itself with the habits and practices occurring in time. For instance, some companies do not use a mail signature template for their in-house mails while some do not have the habit of including “good morning” for early messages or “have a nice evening” for late messages. If there is a culture that can be considered as wrong or negative, it is Human Resources’ job to fix this before anyone notices. Besides, people would like to feel the commitment for their workplace and Human Resources should create such environment for them to feel that commitment. And lastly, Human Resources should keep employees’ motivation high, periodically check it with employee satisfaction scales and take necessary actions to resolve any incorrect practice.

To sum up, Human Resources should be a department that earns its name, uses the human resource in the most effective and efficient way (what I mean here is not “employee exploit”), always smiles and makes people happy about their jobs.

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