It’s time to start changing the perception and reputation of HR. There is a reason our 5 Questions to Ask That Will Earn Respect for HR was our most popular post over the summer. Respect doesn’t just come from the top. Respect is earned throughout the entire organization. We know it’s difficult to extend your reach to every manager and direct report, however there are some very simple things an HR leader can do to add value to your managers.
When we talk with managers off the record and ask the question: “how much value does HR bring to you in your role?” the responses range significantly from “helpful” to “eye rolling.” We smile and love these responses; it proves there is so much opportunity for an HR leader to add real value to the organization besides making sure everyone is paid and has good benefits.
HR leaders are living in the greatest moment since the industrial revolution to make a difference. Click to Tweet
We have direct communication to the leaders in the company, carte blanche access to anyone in the organization, and a wide open world of innovation to test and experiment. If you’re not excited about being an HR leader today, it’s time to find a new career path.
The most energizing aspect to HR is how we can serve our managers. Middle management is where we can add exponential value, organization-wide. Let’s review 3 way how.
1. Help your managers understand the public sentiment of their division or team. We’ve all heard the saying, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. How can you help a manager if you don’t know where they stand with their team. There are many ways to gain the public sentiment of the team, but the most simple way is to collect feedback through a simple, anonymous Net Promoter Score.
2. Filter the Right Content to Your Managers: there is no question your managers are perusing LinkedIn, Twitter, and popular leadership and management new sources. That takes time. Imagine if their HR / Business Partner did some of the sourcing for them? We have one HR leader with ingenuity she took from her marketing classes from her MBA. Her name is Mary and every two weeks she sends out a mass email to every manager in the company called: “Mary’s Microphone.” In the email she takes 3 articles around leadership and management that fit the current state of the organization. Having this filter is key. This super curated content brings immense value to managers by saving them time combing through dozens of leadership articles. Having it come from someone who knows the company culture, major initiatives, and has an ear to leadership is important as well.
This has done 5 things for Mary:
Mary had built a personal brand within the company.
Mary has earned respect from other managers (so much so, they now send her articles to publish)
Mary sends emails that managers want to open and read.
Mary has built a relationship with every middle and front line manager while still being able to go home at 5.
Mary has created a genius way to send friendly reminders throughout the organization.
3. Build real relationships with your managers. Sending an email to all the managers in the company doesn’t build real relationships. You must meet with managers, spend time with them, and learn their struggles. When you do this, you become a confidant to their professional and personal goals while also learning about the organization as a whole. A good litmus test on how well you know your organization: can you name the kids of 3 middle managers in your organization? If you cannot you’re not generating enough interpersonal contact with the organization and it needs to change quickly. See if you can get a little budget and take out a manager once a week.
If you leverage these three activities you’ll generate real value to your organization, develop life long relationships, and earn the respect worth of your position.
There are many ways for HR to add real value to managers, these are just three of them.