Managing HR responsibilities isn't always easy, but it can be even more difficult if employees have negative attitudes about HR. Here are eight ways you can help foster positive sentiments and build trust in your HR function:
#1: Communicate clearly and effectively.
Be straightforward and communicate company policies, practices, and strategies in ways that employees will understand. Be clear about what the company expects of employees and what they can expect from the company. Make sure HR reinforces your company's brand and aligns with your company's values. To help maintain trust, HR should also commit to two-way communication and respond to employee questions, concerns, and requests promptly.
#2: Think strategically.
In the past, HR was looked at as a purely transactional role, mostly focusing on employee recordkeeping and benefits administration. However, HR has increasingly taken a more strategic role at many companies, providing valuable insight about employees' needs and how decisions may impact employees. These days, HR practitioners help shape policies and practices and develop strategies for finding, training, motivating, and retaining employees.
#3: Deliver policies that improve satisfaction.
How employees feel about their job, their employer (including HR), and their future with the company can have a significant impact on productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. Pay isn't the only driver of job satisfaction, and in some cases, may not even be at the top of the list. Things like autonomy, a fair and equitable workplace, challenging work, recognition, flexibility, and a company's commitment to social responsibility may also be strong motivators. Find out what inspires your employees and develop policies, practices, and benefits accordingly.
#4: Foster an equitable and inclusive workplace.
There are a variety of laws that govern how employers hire, pay, and treat employees. Employers should always look to promote a fair and equitable workplace. Make sure that your hiring practices are free of bias, that employees are paid fairly when compared with other employees in your company, and take all complaints seriously. If an investigation reveals that a violation of your policies occurred, take immediate and appropriate corrective action to remedy the situation and prevent it from recurring. Administer your disciplinary action policy on a consistent basis regardless of who is involved.
#5: Train your HR team.
Adequately train HR on how employment laws impact your business and how to properly respond to employee complaints, conduct effective investigations, handle leave requests, and manage other important responsibilities.
#6: Hold supervisors accountable.
Few things can undermine HR more than supervisors going "rogue." Train supervisors on all workplace policies and how to administer them. Make sure they're enforcing company policies consistently and hold them accountable if they aren't.
Thorough documentation can help demonstrate compliance with various laws, support employment decisions, and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Document both disciplinary (such as verbal warnings) and non-disciplinary (such as time off requests) discussions and keep such records in employees' personnel files. Retaining this information is important in case of a dispute later on.
#8: Get feedback.
Solicit employee feedback about the work environment through regular employee surveys, one-on-one meetings, and exit interviews. During staff meetings, ensure that each employee is heard. When employees do share ideas and feedback, let them know you will take their suggestions seriously. Remember to recognize employees for their contributions and give them credit for any ideas that are ultimately implemented.
When HR is a trusted part of the workplace, it can have a positive impact on an organization. Make sure you regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your HR function and make adjustments if necessary.