Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Visibility Issues

Conversations you get to hear during a normal workday.

Employee (to manager): Where do I get my policy query answered?
Manager: Send a mail to
askhr@ggggg.com and someone from HR will reply soon.

External Agency (to finance person): Who handles staffing contract extensions?
Finance person: I’ll check & revert. Someone in HR should get that done.

Manager’s mail (to another common email ID – hopefully belonging to HR): Who will act as a single point of contact (from HR) for my business group? I have some queries.
He get’s a reply (shocking! From HR): We (who?!?) have received your query. Someone from HR will get back to you shortly.

The phrase ‘Someone from HR’ makes me uncomfortable. Is HR not making itself visible? Maybe that’s true.

HR’s role in any company (big or small) can be compared to a client facing job, like sales, marketing or PR. Just imagine if your sales/marketing person couldn’t create recall value with their clients. The deal’s dead. It’s the same situation with HR; we need to create recall-value with our customers (employees, vendors, management, etc.). How else will we deliver results? As much as we don’t like, it takes only one bad remark/comment to ruin our objectives. Yes, that’s bad. Since you know there are 10 other good things you might have done. Sadly, only the pit falls get scrutinized. Sorry, I digress.

The problem is that people don’t know whom to contact from HR. There’s no visibility! We just aren’t making enough noise. Just because you are addressing an issue, don’t assume the entire workforce knows about it. If there is a common problem, it would help if you could circulate the answer to that query – via email, forums, company intranet. The idea is to NOT get that query asked by the remaining employees. You’ll not end up wasting time & effort on redundancy. You could use various methods to tell people whom to meet for HR related business:

- Start with company wide emails telling them about the HR hierarchy.
- Share info during New Hire Orientation (new people getting into the company).
- Make announcements in open-houses, quarterly company meeting, intranet, billboards within the company.

- As a HR business partner meet the managers regularly.

Basically, whatever it takes! In the people business, things get escalated sooner than a ‘bug’ that gets recognized in the software being built. It’s true.

It’s time to get out of the desk and meet people. Start now…go get some visibility!