From a tiny department, this part of an organization has grown by leaps and bounds. It is often the most powerful department in a company, capable of making your life heaven or hell. So no one messes with the HR. There are many courses in this field today, making it very specialized. But coming back to basics, what is HR? It stands for Human Resources, that's obvious. We hear of companies extolling that our people are our biggest strength. It sounds like a typical political campaign before elections. One wants to ask those companies, what they do for their employees.
Do they really treat their employees as a valuable resource? The term and the meaning of HR, needs to be revisited. And secondly, one has to remember that you are dealing with humans and not computers hence the term is Human Resources and not Mechanical Resources. So how about a more humane approach to the employees?
What are the obligations of a company towards its employees? Does it stop at paying their salaries? One hears of professionals resigning because of job dissatisfaction, no scope of growth, unsuitable work environment - it is not always the pay. The lower and middle classes who struggle to meet their means, may work only out of economic necessity, but not the qualified professionals.
Like the Liberal school of thought said - Given a congenial environment, every individual can develop to the best of his ability. It is in the interest of the company too, that it provides a right environment, so that the employees can work efficiently and to their optimum best. What is crucial in creating a good environment is the mechanism of redressing the grievances of the employees. Just like shops/hotels/airlines - have a feedback form, there needs to be in place some form of feedback from the employees. If the companies want to retain their employees and expect loyalty from them, they need to invest some time and concern in their well being. This could be in the form of an informal chat, or a weekly or monthly meeting. It can be done in private, with the employee and his manager, respecting the sentiment of the employee.
Words are so easy to say, but smallest act is far better than the grandest of intentions. So brochures and newsletters, talking of team spirit and team building seem like hollow words, when the employee doesn't have the right or the liberty to talk to his boss about his problems and try and find a solution to the same. The job of the HR doesn't stop at recruitment, it is a relationship that has to be nurtured, to reap good results.
Beautiful spaces, without beautiful and engaging energy inside are just Faberge eggs. Great to look at, but empty and hollow on the inside. Beautiful spaces alone won't keep employees for long. It is a bit like a new house or new carpet, beautiful, but if the kids can't walk on it, or have fun in the house, is it really worth having?
Branding, yes branding. While it is true that an aesthetically pleasing exterior and customer space is important, creating a space were employees feel welcome as well is equally important from a branding perspective. Why? Today, with the prevalence of blogging, Facebook, Twitter and other social media, any company or brand is just a few keystrokes from being unravelled. One nasty blog whether true or not from an "insider" at your company could create a PR nightmare. Your employee experience and your customer experience better reinforce your brand or you better have an extensive budget to overcome that.
So when you are working on branding, or on corporate culture, instead of spending money trying to "appear" to be an exceptional place to work, how about actually being that.
Law offices are no exception to the HR and PR rule. Treating your colleagues with at all levels with a more humane touch will only bring out the best. Professionalism no doubt remains the moot point in any organization, but a reward or a word of praise can work wonders in any work place.
Be the person you want to meet. Let's not keep all our manners and smiles for our clients/customers and seniors. We wouldn't survive a day without the humble person who serves us our daily dose of caffiene. Communication - the sacred word - talk to your employees, they are human and your best resources.