Heard it Through the Grapevine

Americans are nearly twice as likely to speak to a friend or colleague than their organization’s HR department if they have an issue at work, according to the latest Ouch Point(R) survey from Opinion Research Corporation, an infoGROUP company.Though 66 percent would opt to speak to their manager about an issue, 39 percent prefer to turn to friends and only 22 percent would go to their HR department for help.

One of the survey’s more surprising findings is that over one quarter of respondents (26%) expressed doubt about the ability of their HR team to keep personal details confidential.

“Our research demonstrates the need to improve the quality of the relationship between employees and the HR department,” said Vicki Wheatley, Vice President, ORC Employee Engagement Practice (US). “The critical role HR plays within an organization should not be underestimated, as the success of any enterprise depends significantly on the extent to which its workforce is engaged with and dedicated to its mission.”

It might be time for Human Resources practitioners to rethink their role and that of the HR department, not only for the purposes of contributing to the organization’s bottom line, but also for their own survival.

Some advice from about.com

Determine Your HR Department’s Current Reputation and Brand

Ask yourself some important questions:

  • Do you know what your HR department’s reputation is among the employees? When HR is mentioned, do managers picture savvy strategists, backward bureaucrats, or pleasant, people-pleasers?
  • Do employees understand and appreciate the importance of the HR department in furthering the organization’s mission and objectives?
  • Does the HR department make an effort to market its services to the organization? If it does not, then it has the reputation it deserves. You can, however, easily correct this reputation.

    Talk to Employees to Learn the HR Department Reputation and Brand

    The key is to open up conversations with all levels of employees, and present yourself in the role of facilitator instead of enforcer. You have to get out of the HR office and into the world of your organization’s employees. Finding these answers requires dialogue, which means that HR must communicate. That communication must consist of equal parts of listening and promotion.First, HR must listen carefully to what its customers need. Then it must promote what it has done and can do. HR staff must educate the organization about its capabilities and potential contributions. No one knows your capabilities as well as you do.

    Employees, for the most part, still see HR as “those people who handle benefits and do interviewing.” To position the HR function for the next decades, every HR practitioner needs to take on a public relations role-starting with your own employees. Think of yourself as a product and do some smart marketing.

    The marketing of the HR department requires you to demonstrate your problem-solving skills, so others will know you do much more than simply process papers. The best form of advertising is the actions you take. By your actions, processes and programs, you can promote the HR department as a flexible, adaptable, solutions-oriented partner, a resource to whom the organization can turn when it needs problems solved.

Maybe you know a department that might benefit from BRANDEMiX Branding!

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