Putting the Human Back into Human Resources: Transforming Workplace Culture

· human resources,organizational culture,chief culture officer,workplace culture

For too long, Human Resources (HR) has been perceived as a department that caters primarily to the interests of the organization rather than the well-being of its employees. HR is often seen as transactional, focused on administrative tasks, and disconnected from the human element it should champion. I will examine the critical need for HR to put the human back into Human Resources, highlighting the negative impacts of HR on workplace culture, and provide suggestions on how the role of HR can and should evolve to positively influence and transform workplace culture.

Neglecting the Human Element

  1. Transactional Focus: Traditional HR departments have primarily been concerned with transactional tasks like payroll, benefits administration, and compliance. While these functions are essential, they often overshadow HR's responsibility for employee engagement, development, and well-being.
  2. Organizational Alignment: HR has been seen as an enforcer of organizational policies and practices, sometimes at the expense of employee concerns. This alignment with the organization's goals can create a sense of HR being "against" the employees, eroding trust and fostering a negative workplace culture.
  3. Perpetuating Culture: HR plays a significant role in perpetuating the existing organizational culture. When HR is solely focused on enforcing rules and regulations, it can inadvertently reinforce unhealthy work cultures, leading to burnout, stress, and dissatisfaction among employees.

Redefining HR's Role

  1. The Chief Culture Officer: To emphasize the importance of workplace culture, organizations should consider creating a Chief Culture Officer (CCO) position separate from HR. The CCO should possess a deep understanding of culture dynamics and possess a transformational and strategic mindset.
  2. Broaden Hiring Practices: When recruiting HR professionals, organizations should look beyond the traditional HR background. Candidates with expertise in psychology, sociology, and organizational development can bring fresh perspectives to HR, making it more attuned to the human element.
  3. Empowerment and Development: HR should focus on empowering employees by providing tools, resources, and opportunities for personal and professional growth. Training programs, mentorship initiatives, and career development opportunities should be a priority.
  4. Emphasize Employee Well-being: HR must prioritize employee well-being, both physical and mental. Initiatives such as wellness programs, mental health support, and work-life balance should be integrated into HR functions.
  5. Communication and Feedback: HR should facilitate open and honest communication channels between employees and management. Regular feedback sessions and employee surveys can help identify and address issues before they escalate.
  6. Cultural Evolution: HR should actively participate in reshaping the organizational culture. This involves identifying toxic elements and working collaboratively with leadership to create a culture of respect, inclusivity, and innovation.
  7. Conflict Resolution: HR should adopt a proactive approach to conflict resolution. Mediation and conflict resolution training can help HR professionals address issues before they escalate and contribute to a healthier work environment.

The transformation of HR into a department that genuinely puts the human back into Human Resources is crucial for building a positive workplace culture. Neglecting the human element can lead to employee disengagement, high turnover, and a toxic work environment. By redefining HR's role, introducing a Chief Culture Officer, and prioritizing employee well-being and development, organizations can foster a culture that values its most significant asset—the employees. Ultimately, a people-centered approach to HR not only benefits employees but also contributes to the long-term success and sustainability of the organization.

At Nicole L. Turner Consulting, we transform organizations by helping them create people-centered workplaces. Visit https://www.nicolelturner.com/ or email info@nicolelturner.com to learn more about how we can support you and your organization.