HR: as Change Agent


I am so stressed at work today that I feel like I needed an outlet of my emotions so here I am, typing a blog entry. This will be the first blog entry of my journey of being an HR Professional.

Here I am at a new company, my second actually as an HR person. Moving from a government agency to working in a private company has been a very hard adjustment for me even until now. I guess I can't blame them for private companies, they are capitalists. Most of them cannot give out good benefits to their employees. 

This day, I realized a lot of things. I actually feel trapped and lost. My passion for HR is being tested and wavered. So earlier, bearing that kind of feeling, I happen to eavesdropped on a seminar that I am not actually a participant of. At that exact moment, the speaker had to talk about this. The speaker said that he had been to a lot of companies, and most of them have lots of problems so every time, he decides to leave a particular company and move on to another one. Wherein in fact, he encounters the same problem again. Then one day as he said, he realized that the problem is not with the companies but with him for these are actually opportunities for him to initiate change. So then he made proposals for improvement on that certain company which in the end, was not recognized. But surprisingly, other people noticed it and then came the wonderful and exciting offers for him. 

That time, I was actually setting up the pm snacks for the seminar participants and hearing that story from the speaker, I then realized that "hey, I have the same dilemma right now". As day goes by, I start to notice all the problems in this particular company but still, I am not sure if I am that confident to do what the speaker did, to initiate change. I feel so much for my co-employees, not only my own. I wanted to be an HR in the first place because I wanted to create a great workplace. This is the advocacy of my life as of now. I've been hearing all comments from my co-employees that I only begin to notice now. So I decided to list down some of the realizations that I got in an HR related perspective.

  • You need to give the employees the right tools for them to perform their tasks better. I know this will be an added cost for the company, but if the employees feel deprived of the tools that can make their work faster, I think they will feel less motivated to work harder.
  • A high attrition or employee turn-over rate is alarming. When you start to notice this, go and take a look at the root cause of the problem. Exit surveys or interviews are actually effective tools in getting information. But you shouldn't stop in just knowing the root cause, you must try to do something to correct the problem. Make action plans, talk to concerned people if you must and communicate your plans to the head of the company. Just knowing the problem and not putting your hands in action will solve them, it will just be a continuous cycle. The high attrition will keep on going, you will lose possible future leaders or key employees and you will exert continuous hard effort in training new employees again and again.
  • Employee feedback is important. As I talk with most employees, they feel not valued by the company when their comments are not being heard. They actually have a lot of things to say but there's no right outlet where they can express their dilemmas or suggestions and they feel like they will be even more chastised if they said anything. With that, they are demotivated and so they keep on counting the hours and starts saying that "I will work only on the hours that I am paid for". Whereas there are actually other companies wherein employees are willing to render overtime for they know how much their company values them. They perform better on their own accord because they feel valued. Without the right outlet, they will look for it elsewhere and might end up laying it out to their new co-employees thus, making these new members re-think if they made the right decision of joining your company.
  • The immediate superior or boss is a great determining factor for retaining employees. I noticed that most managers in position are not actually that equipped to be leaders. With this, we should formulate interventions to improve their leadership skills. Most employees I have talked to said to me that, the very important aspect in them for staying long in a job is their relationship with their bosses. An effective manager should not only be good in giving orders, he must also show that he knows how to allocate workload equally to his employees; have an "open-door policy" wherein his direct subordinates will not hesitate to approach him in case difficulties are met; and he should build a relationship with his employees. A good manager must learn that he needs to know the personalities of his subordinates so that he will know what effective approach to use for each of them. People have different responses to different situations, thus a good manager must know how to really handle people by not treating them all the same. One approach may not be effective to another employee thus making that employee more demotivated than before.
  • Being an HR person, you should be approachable. This is important especially if you are an HR head for employees must feel that they can approach you, to at least pour out their concerns or work-related problems. An effective HR professional must know how to handle employee grievance which will only happen if employees feel that they can talk to you and not feel too much hesitations. I realized that this is my goal if ever I become an HR head in the future. From knowing these problems that our company employees are currently experiencing, I can come up with plans or human resource interventions to at least alleviate those discovered. By then, it will be a win-win situation, the employees will feel a bit content thus will encourage them to continue to perform their duties better.
  • Compensation should be commensurate to workload. If there's too much workload for one person and that they don't feel that they are compensated well, employees especially those key talents will try to look for a better opportunity. Every company should conduct a compensation survey based on the kind of industry that they belong to and this should be updated regularly. If you want your company to prosper, you must retain key talents or employees and you will not be able to do that if the current compensation that your company is giving is no longer competitive in the job market. Initiate added company benefits or allowances that will not increase the tax that have to be deducted in their monthly payrolls. In my industrial relations class during my post graduate studies, this is legal since this is for the benefit of labor (workers/employees).
Well those are some of the common problems that I encountered as I started my HR career. I just don't think I have the confidence or even if I'm in the right position yet to initiate change to solve these problems that I noticed. I am hoping though that in time, having enough HR experience, I will then be able to have the confidence and power to be a change agent. To be honest for now, I feel that my brain is being wasted for I can't even use the knowledge that I gained through my post graduate studies in human resource. Now I realized that what was taught to me is actually more of for use of those in higher or managerial level position of HR. I had a career shift, from administrative to Human resources and I understand that I still have to start at the bottom, gain more experience and then climb up. For now yes, I feel impatient but I know I still have a lot of things to go through, good, bad and even frustrating experiences like now. I keep on praying to the Lord that he will give me enlightenment for I know that all these experiences have a reason, these are things that I have to go through. It will help me to become a better person and a better HR head in the making.

photo credits: idealchampions.com

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