The end of the year is nigh, and HR people everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief that the staff Christmas party went off without major incident.
But before you don your Santa hat and head off for the holidays, take some time to reflect on all the other hats you’ve worn this year.
To say that HR people have to multi-task is the understatement of the season. Recruitment, disciplinary hearings, redundancies, pay reviews, employee well-being… the list is endless.
Here at Cezanne HR, we’d like to raise our glasses to all those hard-working HR folks out there—and share our guide to the six personas of HR:
1. Police Officer
There are always a few employees who are unlikely to make it onto Santa’s nice list. And when it all goes pear-shaped, HR is usually the first port of call. Kerfuffles in the office, blatant disregard for social media policies, goods going out the back door, employees turning up drunk for duty—all real challenges faced this year by HR people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. Who said HR was about the soft and fluffy stuff?
Staff who just can’t (or won’t) get to grips with the new system for logging holiday and insist on ringing up weekly to check how much leave they have left. People who’ve got themselves in a pickle over a minor disagreement with a colleague and need someone to intervene and make peace. Employees who, for whatever reason, have reached a breaking point and need a listening ear. Patience is a virtue for anyone in HR—and a box of tissues is this year’s must-have accessory.
You know that a revamp of the reward and benefits strategy would make a massive difference to retention. You’re convinced that a new HR software system would save hours of admin and make the team so much more effective. You’re passionate about the need to re-energise the training programme to make learning more timely and relevant. Is the board listening? No. But there’s a steely glint in your eye and you’re determined to make them sit up and take notice in the New Year.
HR is a bit like the three wise men (or women) all rolled into one. You’re a guiding light for newly-promoted managers who need help understanding how to get the best out of their people. A beacon of hope for ambitious employees who are hungry for promotion and need advice on how to get there.
Not to mention a wise sage for new recruits to the HR team, who haven’t quite got to grips with the realities of HR on the front line. Angel wings are optional.
5. Mathematical genius
With budgeting in hand for many, HR is the first call for managers looking for critical information about their teams. Some of the questions they ask may have you reaching for your crystal ball (what’s the implication of Brexit going to be recruitment 2017) others require you to roll up your sleeves and get stuck into data analysis or even your payroll data. Either way, you are expected to have facts and figures at your fingertips, and a firm handle on what your HR data is telling you.
It’s HR to the rescue when a manager calmly announces that they’ve just sacked one of their staff (Procedure? What procedure?). You’re ready to swing into recruitment action when a senior manager departs for pastures anew—taking half the team with them. And when the fire alarm really does ring, HR is there in the hi-vis jacket, shepherding everyone out of the building.