Across many organisations, the Human Resource function operates as a complex, multifaceted unit that handles everything from high level performance strategy planning and delivery to everyday routine and operational issues, and HR managers are expected to transcend both dimensions and deliver well-crafted solutions with equal elegance and ease.
While not being an ideal scenario, the situation continues to persist, and HR is often seen as the ‘safe space’ where all employee-related matters are parked – from the straight to the fuzzy. While happy to oblige and offer counsel and intervention as needed, HR managers do believe that several organisational myths hurt their effectiveness and need to be managed. These myths drive the wrong idea and create imbalance in the expectations/deliverables desired of the function, and prevent HR from delivering its strategic potential.
So, what are some of these myths? And in what ways are they hindering performance effectiveness for the function? Let’s take a quick review and find ways to overcome this.
1. HR continues to function as a cost centre.
Being perceived as a ‘cost centre’ is one of the greatest burdens shouldered by the HR function. Given this perception, HR leaders have to constantly seek opportunities to be their own proponent and drive greater education with the business on the range and value of offerings they create. While it is true that many employee related costs (hiring, learning, benefits etc.) are parked with the function, these expenses are vital in securing the best talent and favourably influencing the company’s bottom line.
HR leaders can drive a strong justification by presenting detailed knowledge and insights of the employee base and rationalise costs with the positive outcomes they generate.
2. Balancing strategic and tactical organisational needs is easy.
While many a HR leader would like to portray that negotiating the strategy and the tactical is easy, the truth is they know it isn’t. The strategy/ tactical tightrope walk continues to thrive in most organisations, HR leaders can drive change by influencing a positive and empowerment driven work culture, and helping managers with skills and support to engage and motivate their teams better whilst attending to the employees needs.
3. Adapting to technology is difficult.
In organisations technology led changes can seem complex, but the difficulty really lies in the transition and communications enablement and not with the technology per se. Bringing in technology platforms ensure greater information and transactional accountability for managers and employees alike, and drives greater autonomy and satisfaction.
As for the HR operations teams, enabling self-service platforms offers considerable freedom from tasks related to employee data, learning and benefits management. With employees offered greater accessibility and choice through the use of self service platforms, HR managers are free to take up more strategic and value enabling work.
4. Salary decisions are driven only by HR budgets
A scenario often encountered within organisations where an employee seeking a raise is informed that increments are determined by HR budgets. Nothing could be further from the truth – while HR proposes the salary budget and increment guidelines, line managers do enjoy sufficient autonomy to revise salary amounts, so long as they stay within the overall budget provided for their team.
5. Employee loyalty is only about tenure.
While reviewing employee loyalty during hiring and progression planning scenarios, managers could pass up a good candidate in case s/he may have not served adequately long tenures in previous roles.
While tenure is reflective of a candidate’s stability and ability to stay focused, it need not serve as the only indicator for loyalty. Often, what’s more important is the extent of contribution and the value the individual created during the course of the assignment. In addition, it is also likely that some choose to move around and experience more roles as they are eager to build a variety of skills. Hence it’s important to gather and review more information on the candidate’s contributions within a role to arrive at meaningful conclusions on employee loyalty.
6. All employees deserve to be rewarded equally.
It‘s important that organisations treat their employees with equity and respect, but this is not be construed as all employees deserve to be rewarded equally. Performance and reward systems in organisations are in fact designed to differentiate, and offer enhanced career opportunities and compensation to those who demonstrate greater engagement and result focus, and deliver more value within their roles.
7. Good decisions are always driven by instinct.
Many experienced and senior managers rely on their instincts and past observations to arrive at people-related decisions. While experience is worthy of its rightful place and holds merit, it can however not operate as the single biggest driver for employee and team decisions. It is vital that HR managers assert the value of data together with the merits of experience while enabling managers to arrive at better quality decisions.