Most of the time when we think about training and HR, it's the HR department providing the training. But a lot of HR bloggers are talking about the need for HR itself to undergo some retraining.
Trisha, at the HR Ringleader blog put out a call for re-branding the HR department and its functions, while Laurie at PunkRock HR thinks it may actually be too late.
I think it's somewhere in the middle. Rebranding, while certainly something we need to do to clear up the real role of HR in the modern corporate world, is critical. But unlike Laurie, I'm not quite ready to stand poised with pen in hand, ready to sign the death certificate.
I think there is still hope, albeit maybe only with the radical approach House might use on one of the patients everyone else has given up on. It requires major surgery, a complete change in life style and a different view of what a viable HR career looks like.
1) The surgery --
- Centralized, standardized, cookie-cutter HR-driven performance evaluations, raises and promotions go first. Far too often, someone in the HR office who has never even met the employee in question rewrites appraisals, sets the raises or makes a firing decision. No more.
The people who know the employees best, make the choices, write the reports. HR can look them over to make sure they're legal and not likely to result in a barrage of lawsuits, but that is it.
- HR as a policy-makers and enforcers on dress code, social media access, work hours and rules about whether or not someone can have a plant or a picture on their desk -- gone. No more. We're all grown-ups here, and can certainly make reasonable choices without a virtual parent on site.
Supervisors and managers can deal with the rules for their departments -- again, they know the people and the work requirements. They also have a direct stake in making sure the rules set result in better performance. Again, HR can enjoy an over-site role to make sure federal and state labor law rules are followed -- but last I checked, neither plants on desks nor jeans on bodies fell under any law-making body's jurisdiction.
- Remove the phrase "We've always done it that way." and the equally offensive phrases "But it's our policy." from the vocabulary of everyone in HR. Forever. Gone. Cannot be spoken, or used as a excuse for any action or inaction.
2) The new lifestyle --
No that HR is so much lighter because of all that surgery, what can they do?
- Learn about what motivates employees.
- Set up programs to make those motivators available to managers and supervisors.
- Learn about training needs assessment.
- Make training needs assessments available to managers and supervisors.
- Create a library of training opportunities for employees. Open the door so they can access that training AS THEY NEED IT! No more holding on to training opportunities with a closed fist!
- Work with senior management to develop strategies to maximize every employee's potential, reduce turnover and improve job satisfaction.
- Do not study the strategies. Act on the strategies. Now.
- Learn about the power of social media. Use it. Allow employees to use it.
What it is not:
- A policing role
- A top-down power role
- A "rules-is-rules" role
What is should/must be:
- A facilitation role
- A problem solving role
- A performance strategy role
- An information sharing role