Oct 27, 2007

Employees are not babies

Michelle Malay Carter takes strong exception to Karthik's post on HR and Respect and says:

I believe employees do know what they need and it is NOT to be rescued from the policies by HR. That’s scraping burned toast. Fix the toaster!!!! If HR wants to be taken seriously, they need to step up to the plate design integrated people-systems rooted in trust and fairness which function at the hands of the managers.

I agree with Michelle. Any condescending attitude will ensure that earning respect and trust is far away.

As Dave Ulrich had demonstrated, HR needs to strike a balance between Process and People, in addition to focusing on Strategic and Operational roles. So operationally HR needs to balance two seemingly paradoxical roles, Employee Champion (Can be broken down into Employee Advocate (EA) and Human Capital (HC) Developer roles: EA focuses on today's employee; HC developer focuses on how employees prepare for the future.) and the other is the Functional Expert role (Some HR practices are delivered through administrative efficiency (such as technology), and others through policies, menus, and interventions).

Focusing on people too much makes the process go for a toss, and focusing on processes too much makes people feel devalued and machine-like. Striking the balance, is in my view, is the toughest part in role for the HR professional. Employees can sense condescending attitude a mile away.

Maybe in the future as technology evolves and managing mindsets change, processes can be customised to people. Until that happens, the balance between the roles is the way to be.