It is time for the HR leader to stand up
Testing times like these are providing HR professionals with probably their greatest challenge. Engagement of employees is pressured, when it is needed more than ever. “A great opportunity for the HR leader to stand up and really make a difference”, states Magdalena Kusik, project manager for Top Employers Polska. “HR leaders don’t realise how much their contribution is needed now and communication is the key.”
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The unremitting suspense about the economical developments and the company performance and some of the measures taken may have severe impact on morale within organisations and a company’s reputation and may effect both short term as well as long term goals.
Kusik: “In the event that the company needs to take leave of employees, those that stay with the company are of even more vital importance for the organisation’s business success. The effect on employees that stay behind is large. Feelings of fear, guilt, anger, relief and lack of control may occur and need to be managed adequately. If not this may very well have a negative effect on productivity, lead to a limited commitment and a decrease of job satisfaction.”
Studies have shown this effect is better managed in organisations with good communication on the process. This can be done by clarifying decisions made, sharing vision for the medium range and providing direction about what is expected from each individual within the organisation and explaining employees are more needed than ever.
“Although communicating bad news is difficult, it is critical to not be secretive about the company’s future. Maintaining radio silence with those ever important employees is not an option, since poorly engaged employees can be harmful for the entire organisation. The HR leader needs to make senior management aware of the sense of urgency to communicate properly with its employees”, says Kusik.
Beside the emotional aspect, engagement is also based on tangible elements. Tangible benefits entail the career development, primary and secondary benefits and learning opportunities an organisation has to offer. Both tangible and emotional benefits have to be above average to create an atmosphere where employees are engaged.
When it comes to the longer term, the management needs to demonstrate that, despite the unsteady economical climate, it cares after its staff. This can be done by showing employees that the right policies and practices are in place.
Engaged employees are motivated to go the extra mile. They are inspired to do their best work every day. “What it all boils down to, is that organisations can benefit enormously from an HR leader that has the cheek to stick his neck out and communicate proactively on current issues and communicate clearly about these tangible benefits. These organisations’ employees show significantly more engagement. And that is exactly what organisations need today.”