The promise of Human Resources is to set a standard for how we work together in an organization. Take this mission statement from a Human Resource Department: The Human Resources Department will serve as a strategic partner along side of administration, faculty, and staff in supporting the mission of the Institution. The Human Resources Department will take a leadership role in providing services that support the organization by promoting the concept that our employees are our most valuable resource and will be treated as such. The Human Resources Department will act as catalysts enabling all employees to contribute at optimum levels towards the success of the business.
Unfortunately, HR gets a bad rap, often because they are forced to take on issues that should be dealt with within a department. When a manager has difficulty with one of her employees, the easy solution is making it HR’s problem. When an employee takes issue with management, HR is there to listen.
When it’s at its best, HR serves as a positive enabler, helping the employee solve their own problem. Too often it feels as if HR operates as a parent, setting limits or fixing situations, versus setting an example for what it is to help others help themselves.
This is not an easy task. Some people don’t want to help themselves. They want someone or some group to fix their situation. In these situations HR can play a useful role in helping the employee learn why it is important to solve their own problems and how to get there, versus using HR as a venting session.
For Human Resources to truly be an enabling partner, Senior Management needs to charge it with encouraging all levels in the organization to work at solving their own problems, to do the difficult work of demonstrating honest communication and working to build trust at the local level.
HR’s best asset is to help, not fix. Fixing doesn’t work; it only keeps the same dysfunctions in place.