Every department in a company has their own jargon and lingo, which many of us use daily - and joke about at the same time (truly - watch that video. It’s hilarious!). Human Resources departments are no different, and there are a number of core terms that we hear HR professionals saying daily. What’s incredible is that these map perfectly to challenges that your people have daily, specifically as it relates to them managing their dual personas - employee and family member. You thought you just hired employees. But did you realize you also hired their families and now have to manage your “people’s people” too?
Here are some of our favorite HR lingo and how it directly relates to your company’s “people’s people”:
A Seat at the Table
Do you or your department really have an equal seat with the other executive functions in your company? In today’s business environment, it’s all the more critical for HR to provide senior level input and be part of decisions made that affect the strategic direction of the company. Whether or not you lead to serve employees or manage to be served by them will literally drive your bottom line in one direction or the other today. HR has the ability to truly influence the financial outcomes of the company through its people strategy.
The Bottom Line - You can't just ignore your people and focus on the numbers. Harvard Business School’s coined phrase states that you must review and focus upon four different areas: Learning and Growth, Business Process, Customers, and Finances. Your people and their ability to be productive and engaged directly impacts all four of these areas. Engaged employees know how to contribute to the company’s goals and have the energy and motivation to do so. Are they engaged? Do they have the energy? Are they focused on work or elsewhere? In many cases - no- regardless of how clear your goals may be.
Everyone knows that in anything - 20% of something causes 80% of the impact. As it relates to your people, and the impact of their people upon HR, it’s a doubly whammy. Numerous studies over the past decade all report that 1 in 6 Americans are caring for a family member while working full or part time. Additionally, 20% of all Family Responsibility Discrimination lawsuits are related to employees caring for family members. Families are actually your biggest competition - they’re your employees’ 1st full-time job, like it or not. You need to strategically address this threat the same as all others - break it down and address it head on.
In business school, we all threw around this term to the point that it’s comical. However, in HR a major facet of your job is empowering your people to be the best they can be in their work - to refine their core competencies. Yet, this involves not only providing and supporting the technical knowledge and skills they require. It also involves providing an environment and the tools so that your people can fully focus on their work and be as productive as possible with those skills. If you are not fostering competencies in managers to foster this balance and training them to create a culture of support and empathy for employees as a whole person….your company will inevitably lose the competition either in lost productivity, reduced work quality or with the loss of an employee.
Corporate Culture and Family Friendly
These two terms are often used separately, but they are not mutually exclusive anymore. Culture is a massive topic, yet, as I see it, it all comes down to one core element. Your people strategy IS your culture, as today’s War for Talent requires you to have a culture that supports its people. Yet employees’ ability to truly focus and remain engaged and productive at work depends on their people; it is influenced directly by how chaotic their personal lives may be. So you don’t really just have a people’s strategy anymore - you have a people’s people strategy. And they aren’t going away.
Retention, Recruitment, Rightsizing
You can’t afford not to address your employees’ whole lives; in fact they now demand it… and that is only getting louder generation-to-generation. We know it’s a War for Talent and 83% of you place retention as your top priority. While Boomers and GenX employees certainly have their demands, 76% of your largest workforce component reports that benefits customization is important for increasing their loyalty. Our prospective and current talent is demanding a structure of “My Workplace. My Space.” People expect their employer to “make work work” for their individual circumstances. Are you?
I haven’t touched Onboarding, Talent Management or the feared “Let Go” term. Yet all three are also embedded in the necessity to have a strategy for your “people’s people.” Blended Workforce, ADA, FMLA, Loyalty Programs and especially your EVP - yes they are impacted as well. In reality, your employees’ lives bleed into every single, overused piece of jargon and catch phrase that exists within HR. If this is the case….why don’t you have a strategic people’s people strategy? If you do have one….share what you’re doing!