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Doesn’t HR Deserve to Be Engaged Too? Part 2

Doesn’t HR Deserve to Be Engaged Too? Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article called Doesn’t HR Deserve to Be Engaged Too?  And I received some interesting resistance both openly and privately.  Some objected to the word deserve. Others said that engagement is an entitlement that is earned.

Engagement isn’t an entitlement. It’s a tool that benefits the organization.  The research has proven that engaged employees volunteer additional effort and innovation; create loyal customers; are more likely to stay even when offered better pay elsewhere (which is especially important for companies that want to keep their star performers while shedding non-critical talent); infuse the workplace with a pro-company spirit; attract great candidates; and provide all the people-related benefits that make highly engaged companies outperform their counterparts in the marketplace.

As the wheelhouse for driving engagement, HR is expected to deliver these benefits. So why is it wrong for HR to hope for a little bit of that engagement mojo as well?

This concerns me on a couple of levels.  First, I work with internal HR groups to reignite their personal passion for their careers and companies. So I want my clients to continue valuing their HR departments.

But also, from a company’s perspective, it needs to remember that all the cultural benefits of engagement actually start from within the HR department. If they don’t, those benefits come to a dead stop.

So maybe I should have rephrased the question in the title:  Don’t Companies Deserve to Have Engaged HR Professionals Too?  Of course, the answer is yes.  Here’s why:

Engaged HR is your most powerful business ambassador to your community. When it comes to your reputation as a great place to work, HR is your storefront. They deal directly with candidates, employees, retirees, even former employees. You want your HR folks to be positive, kind, thoughtful, humane. Word gets around.

Engaged HR keeps you free. If you care about keeping unions out of your organization, HR helps you stay union-free. Engaged HR cares about your business. It will make double sure that any issues your employees have will be appropriately addressed so that your employees won’t feel that they have to turn to the outside for help.

Engaged HR sets the standard for customer service.  High customer service standards are modeled by the way HR treats your employees.  When your people experience prompt, accurate and courteous service from HR, they are more likely to treat your customers the same way.

Engaged HR keeps you safe.  Engaged HR promotes engagement throughout the ranks.  When engaged employees feel that they’re working in an environment that cares about their safety, accident rates go down. Causation? Correlation? Who knows? Who cares?  It works.

Engaged HR keeps you legal, “honest” and smart.  The people side of your business is a legal hot spot. And it’s only going to become more so as the government looks to private enterprise to cure its social concerns.  HR (along with corporate communications) is also tasked with the job of making sure that the culture promoted from the top is actually experienced throughout the organization.  When HR is engaged, it’s paying attention to this stuff.

Engaged HR protects management from its own stupid self. Two words: Turf battles.  Every corporate culture is riddled with inter-office politics, empire builders, hurt feelings, lovingly nurtured grudges.  Engaged HR is Switzerland, masterfully working with conflicting sides on behalf of the organization as a whole.  But it needs to be respected for the valuable service it offers before it can harness the divisive passions of people leaders who may not quite get that their plot or point of view is putting the company’s vitality at risk. HR needs to be engaged.

Engaged HR is not a luxury – it’s a necessity. So cutting back on any effort to keep your HR department emotionally aligned with the mission of your business could have detrimental ripple effects throughout your enterprise.

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Take care of your HR team, and they’ll take care of your business.

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Martha I. Finney is the author of The Truth About Getting the Best From People, and a consultant specializing in employee engagement. For a free consultation on how you can build a vacation-friendly workplace culture, email Martha at Martha@marthafinney.com.

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2 Comments


  1. Hi Martha,

    I very much impressed with your article. I’d really appreciate, if you can help me with some good ideas to keep my HR engage. If any company having less workforce then what could be the best idea to keep this practice on.

    Regards,
    AS


    • Hi Aachal:

      I’d be delighted the help you. You’re welcome to contact me through my website http://www.careerlandscapes.com for a private discussion on your specific concerns.

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