Oceanic Pharmachem: HR – not a Friend of Employees
Oceanic Pharmachem Private Limited (OPPL) believes that HR need not be your friend to be effective.
HR has been lately demeaned because they are not employees’ friend and as HR has not been sufficiently supportive of employees in cases of misconduct or harassment, additionally implying that HR will not act in the employees’ best interest or do them any favours to help. At times, these allegations against HR are likely true; at other times, they miss the role of HR in ensuring both employee well-being and organization competitiveness.
Service professionals, like doctors, architects, attorneys, therapists, or accountants, need not be friends with their clients to be respected and able to execute their jobs. They do not have to share hobbies, dinners, or birthdays with these individuals for them to support their expertise.
Likewise, HR professionals do not need to be buddies with the individuals they serve in order to be effective. In fact, personal relationships may complicate what HR delivers. HR’s true role and the real value of their delivery can be summarised as below:
Navigating the paradox of employee well-being and organization competitiveness
HR professionals support all employees by navigating a tenuous paradox: encourage individual employee well-being by creating a healthy work environment and create a competitive organization to win in the marketplace. Without winning in the marketplace, organizations fail, thus negating the need for a healthy working environment.
HR professionals gain respect and help their organizations win in competitive marketplaces by ensuring the right talent, leadership, and culture that will encourage customers to buy more products, investors to have higher confidence that shows up in market value and access to capital, and communities to have a positive image of the organization. When HR helps firms win in the marketplace, they help secure stable jobs, sustaining this incredible primary benefit to all employees.
HR professionals also should help individual employees have a healthy work place where the employees experience a sense of belief in the company purpose, a place to belong as a community, and an environment where they are safe and can become better individuals. This means that HR professionals help create organizations where employees are treated with respect and dignity.
Doing work quietly and fairly
Even in a transparent social media world, HR professionals often are generally required to do their work in private, quiet, and influential ways. While others make social media statements where accusations are guilty declarations, HR has the stewardship to ensure confidential, fair, and due process.
Often, unjust public transparency makes fairness in trial situations very difficult. While allegations may or may not be valid, simply being accused in a public forum does not mean guilt. HR professionals have
a demanding task of listening and responding to what is often a two-sided, volatile, and emotional situation. Good HR is not done through social media but rigorous and confidential investigations that treat everyone with respect.
Acting with great speed, diligence, and discipline
A harassing or hostile work environment is generally not created by HR but by line managers, senior leaders in positions of influence, or a cultural heritage. HR has a difficult job in confronting these negative situations, creating a healthy work environment, and rooting out bad behaviours. Employees should always feel like they are physically and emotionally safe at work.
When a manager is accused of wrong-doing, HR should investigate quickly and boldly. If the manager has misbehaved, HR should recommend reprimand and/or terminate the manager.
HR also has to help discover difficult realities. Sometimes management misdeeds do not rise to the legal definition of harassment or hostile work environment, and HR has to help employees recognize this reality. At other times, HR has to confront their formal bosses with intended or unintended consequences of their choices.
When misdeeds are obvious, HR should act decisively. When the cases are based solely on the conflicting testimonies of individuals, HR needs to build trust by managing a speedy action of due process by bringing in experts to run thorough investigations.
There are many situations where HR may fall short on both the competitive organization and the healthy work environment. Some in HR may have a distorted view that they are more stewards of management than of employees, which leads them to protect managers more than employees. Others may lack courage to ferret out bad behaviour. Seeking justice in settings where personal choices and often-private acts are loaded with emotion requires wisdom and nerve. Still others may lack the skills to deal with wrong-doing.
To be effective, HR professionals can and should improve and do a better job providing a safe and competitive work environment. Top HR professionals can provide sincere service by being experts at serving both employees and the organization honestly, designing fair processes for all in difficult situations, and acting courageously and decisively when required; doing all this without being a friend.