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Human Resources That Help Humans? Novel Idea!

Post Series: Business

Putting the Human Back in Human Resources (HR).

There are two kinds of employees – the ones who believe HR only exists to protect the organization/business and the ones who feel that HR is for and all about – the employees.  Both perspectives can be viewed as extreme (opposite ends of the spectrum).  I venture to say that the reality is somewhere in the middle.  But, can an HR department improve its reputation and performance?

Yes – yes, it can!  A department that perhaps provides tertiary services to current employees and/or soon-to-be former employees.  Services that can include résumé development, mock interview preparation, and job searching assistance (for employees who are laid off) as well as career coaching.  (Of course, implementing these types of services should not detract from primary HR activities.)

Why and how would this benefit a revenue-generating company?  Putting the human aspect to the side for just a moment, with companies scaling back on headcount (downsizing), demanding better quality and faster productivity, and wanting to remain a viable presence in their respective industries, it makes good business sense to offer these types of services. They allow for a company to  maintain high levels of productivity with employee morale to match.  And, everyone, from frontline staff to higher-level stakeholders, can focus on activities that promote good customer service and increased revenue and profits.

In any case, companies such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, to name a few, are known for how they take care of their employees.  A word that is quite often used to describe the level of service they provide is – exceptional.  Now, this is not about giving every employee free breakfast, lunch and dinner, on-site dry cleaning, a 24-hour health line or allowing employees to take time off without tracking it, as these companies do in the aggregate.  But, it does highlight what a culture of caring looks like.  And, who better to drive that culture then the people who work in HR?

Résumé development. Some employees have been with their employers for several years and fail to see the necessity to keep their résumé up to date.  Those that are let go, oftentimes scramble in the eleventh hour to put something together that they hope catches the eye of potential employers.

Mock interview preparation. The same can be said for going on interviews. On the job for many years, how many job interviews have employees gone on outside their current employer? It is difficult to gauge a person’s performance when, in the past X number of years, they’ve only interviewed with people that know them and vice versa. Helping employees with their résumé and interview performance shows that companies care about what happens to their people, even the ones who move on, voluntarily or otherwise.

Again, putting the human back in human resources!  For example, if you know you have to cut labor costs by 20% in the next two years to keep the business financially solvent,  putting these processes and services in place will lessen those negative feelings and mental distractions that come with an employee’s unknowingness of one’s future.  Not to mention that it is all-around good public relations (reputation management).  And every company, public or private, wants this.  So, forgo the novel idea, put it into practice, and yes – make it a reality!  That is, a human resources department that actually helps humans …. the employees (present and post employment).  The return on investment (ROI) is immeasurable.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Dave Bookbinder, “The value of a business is a function of how well the financial capital and the intellectual capital are managed by the human capital. You’d better get the human capital part right.” 

Do you agree or disagree?  Let us know.  We’d love to get your feedback on this.


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