Has HR Lost the Trust of Employees?
It was a nice little Sunday. We went to the Cincinnati Auto Expo. I had been looking forward to this all week. When I was a little girl, my Dad always had a “race car.” He had a ’76 Corvette for most of my childhood, and would take my older sister and I to car shows. My Dad lives in New Mexico, and I miss him dearly. The Auto Expo was the highlight of my week to connect with my Dad, thousands of miles away. The Expo did not disappoint. It was wonderful. I sat in several cars, breathed in that new car smell, reminisced about my childhood, and life was good.
We got home, I settled in with a nice cup of tea, and my husband forwarded me this article that took my breath away within the first few sentences “Human resources has to be one of the greatest bait-and-switch professions one can join today.” OUCH. I had to read on. Surely there was more to the story. There seemed to be some serious pain here for such a statement. “…the field often attracts starry-eyed idealists, people who seek a mission-oriented, perhaps even noble profession for their careers. They join thinking they are going to make a difference.” Yep. That sounds like me, 14 years ago. I wanted to help people and make a difference. That’s still one of the things I love the most about HR. We have the potential to make an impact.
The article goes to on to describe scenario after scenario where corruption occurs in the organization, calling them “HR abuses.” I bristled as I read the accusations against my beloved profession, but again, I read on. After all, perception is reality, right? Isn’t that what we coach and teach others? We have to manage perception? And just like there’s no crying in baseball, there’s no ego in HR. If there is a perception that we are not there to support our people, we need to talk about that – no matter how hard those conversations may be.
The crux of the article explained how various apps and third-party agencies could coach employees to have difficult conversations when faced with situations at work, calling this “network-based HR resources that can be responsive to worker concerns in real-time.”
Rather than looking outside of the organization for support, HR Pros, let’s challenge each other to open our doors, open our ears, take down our walls, and talk to people. Really talk to people. Spend time with managers, coaching them, sharing resources to help refine communication skills, empowering them to be better leaders for their teams. Encourage our leadership to live a culture of accountability. HR can’t “fix” the issues. Despite popular opinion, that’s not our role. We’re not “fixers.” We are supporters, coaches, facilitators, and it is up to us to ensure that our organizations not only see us for who we are, but utilize us in that manner. I accept the challenge. Who’s with me?