Before you answer the question with an immediate yes or a defiant no, let’s set some context first. For a minute, just look up from your desk and observe the HR team at work around you. They are probably furiously updating their to-do lists and making sure things happen on time.
Be it policy implementation, process execution or fun at work activities, the HR team is expected to shoulder the responsibility of every employee-driven initiative. In other words, they are accountable for the success or the failure of what goes on in the office!
Irrespective of which responsibility the HR Team is currently handling, our set of expectations from them always remains constant. We expect them to understand the ‘pulse’ of the employee, coordinate with colleagues across the country to ensure everyone feels included, ensure the budgets are not surpassed… the list goes on!
Amidst these expectations, have you ever taken a step back as an employer and thought about whether your HR team is truly ready and engaged? Since they are the drivers of the engagement, do they have enough opportunity to ‘practice what they preach’?
You see, when one gets caught up in the work cycle of an HR Team, answering questions like this doesn’t seem like much of a priority. So if this question hadn’t crossed your mind before, don’t be harsh on yourself. Reading this article will enable you to decode this puzzle in a jiffy!
Out of a diverse experience in partnering with HR teams and driving engagement across organisations, we have devised a simple 3-step formula that one can apply in a scenario like this. These are steps that help ensure the HR team driving engagement is passionate about what they do. After all, it is passion that translates into a well-executed strategy at work!
Step 1: Accommodate
There are times when the HR team drives an initiative simply because ‘senior management’ has asked them to. Or because it is another item to be ticked off from the list of recommendations the employees periodically share.
Ask the HR Team why an initiative is being executed and if their rationale hints only towards pleasing the other internal stakeholders, the initiative might be building up on unstable territory where its impact and sustainability inevitably fall into question.
A more effective approach during planning initiatives is asking the HR Team directly for their opinion. If they are convinced that a positive impact can be made, their buy-in will facilitate smoother execution of the initiative. The secret here is to listen to their opinions, accommodate their views and draw a balance between what the other internal stakeholders need and want.
After all, being HR is an action people truly appreciate!
Step 2: Acknowledge
Contrary to popular belief, the process doesn’t end after Step 1. Once the views of the HR team have been accommodated and the initiative has been executed, they need to be acknowledged for it! When the HR team is informed and appreciated for their efforts bearing fruit, their work receives the well-deserved validation they seek. It motivates them to be involved and proactive while rolling out the initiative.
How about recognising the ones that drive rewards and recognition? Or engaging with the ones driving engagement so that their views are considered.
Step 3: Assess
Next Step: You need to assess and review the initiative by involving the HR Team and other stakeholders. If you have their buy-in at Step 1, it becomes easy to objectively assess how the initiative has been rolled out. When the HR Team is convinced about why certain actions were taken, it becomes easier to convince other internal stakeholders too. Lastly, when a similar initiative has to be carried out at a later stage, the process of execution becomes faster.
Remember, engagement is contagious! So if you don’t accommodate, acknowledge and assess, your HR Team is unlikely to carry forward the passion that every initiative requires for a good response. So the next time you are driving a new initiative, do take a minute to tick the three checkpoints of the formula in your mind. Remember, the people driving people engagement are people too!
About The Author
[The author of this post is Asif Upadhye- Director and Chief Fun Officer at Never Grow Up ® – an employee engagement firm that partners with Human Resource teams & Business Leaders across sectors]