4 Ways Human Resources Managers Can Lead from the Front

There is more to HR than hiring people, filling paperwork, policing policies, and processing payrolls.  Not only is HR necessary in promoting employee engagement. It is also crucial in building and bolstering a company’s culture and brand. Without these fundamentals, achieving organizational excellence is impossible.  And at the head of the Human Resource department are the managers.

4 Ways Human Resources Managers Can Lead from the Front

HR managers should position themselves in the front line to successfully steer the team into attaining its objectives. As cliché as it sounds, exceptional leaders lead by example.  Does this mean they jump in first all the time, resolve tough challenges themselves, and show everyone how to do things? Absolutely not. 

Effective HR managers are present at all levels of a project. But instead of taking over every aspect of the process, they empower the right employees to make the right decisions.  As a result, they do not only lead people; they create leaders. Of course, this is easier said than done.  But it is doable.  How so?  Read on to learn about the four ways HR managers can fully engage their people from the front.

Communication 

Effective communication is a mark of an excellent leader and a key element to successful human resource management.  study conducted by Dr. Sunnie Giles, published by the Harvard Business Review, shows that 56% of the 195 global leaders she surveyed have ranked clearly communicate expectations as the top leadership competency. When leaders concisely and explicitly communicate expectations to their employees, they foster an environment of trust and security. Goal setting prevents blindsiding employees and ensures everyone understands what they are working for and how they get there. It produces a healthy workplace that boosts the capacity of employees to learn, create, innovate, and get involved.  

Communication is even more vital in a remote work setup. HR managers are not only responsible for overseeing that the home-based office of workers complies with the required safety standards; they also have to ensure that everyone stays productive and self-sufficient despite less face-to-face supervision. To achieve this, they should make every employee realize how their specific role plays a crucial part in accomplishing business goals.  

Lastly, communication fosters a sense of belongingness, connection, and engagement, which results in overall employee satisfaction and higher productivity. Job satisfaction is also an essential factor in worker retention. Thus, managers should create open communication channels by facilitating discussions, one-on-one meetings, informal social outings, or anonymous surveys where everyone can respectfully and constructively share their ideas, opinions, and views.

Empowering Others 

HR managers do not only manage people but also develop them, ensuring they reach their utmost potential.  It sounds simple, but if there is one fault many managers are guilty of, it is micromanaging.  Indeed, it is difficult for many to relinquish control and avoid obsessing over details on how to execute a task. Managers must learn to let their people self-organize. They should give employees autonomy over their projects and delegate assignments according to their strengths. It cultivates an atmosphere of confidence where workers feel valued for their contribution to the team.

One of the most fulfilling accomplishments of HR managers is transforming a person into an effective leader.  HR managers inspire aspiring leaders to work harder for their goals.  If you are a manager and sense potential and willingness among your staff, encourage them to lead their own teams. Workers should also have ample opportunities to hone their skills in decision-making and problem-solving.  Additionally, leadership training courses are helpful tools that enhance the management aptitude and competency of employees.

But how do HR managers empower people who prefer to stay in the background? After all, not everyone wants to lead or have the makings of one.  Remember that empowerment is not only about cultivating leadership potential. It is also about making a person feel valued.  Managers, therefore, should provide necessary resources and avenues for continuous learning, whether it’s related to career advancement or personal growth. Investing in management training and development courses will help workers improve their skills and fill in knowledge gaps.  Lastly, managers should not hesitate to give constructive feedback and be generous but sincere with well-deserved compliments.

Helping Employees Adapt to Change 

Change is inevitable in every organization and adjusting to it is perhaps one of the foremost challenges that companies face.  Employees must learn continuously, innovate constantly, and apply new strategies quickly.  Non-stop change means the company is in a state of perpetual transformation, where everyone needs to cope with evolving technology, emerging market trends, and streamlined business processes.  For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic compelled companies to resort to flexible schedules and remote work setups.  Although these changes have apparent advantages, they could also take their toll on workers.

It is the role of HR managers to create an atmosphere of security amidst uncertainty.  They can accomplish this by assuring employees that they still have a job despite the changes. Then, they can provide training to develop new skills required to perform new tasks.  Managers should also ensure that employees understand the reason for the change and what direction the company is heading. 

To keep workers motivated, managers should show them how the changes would ultimately benefit everyone.  Thus, modifications should are merely challenges, not hurdles.  Furthermore, managers should allow the staff to contribute to the change by asking their ideas and opinions. It is also crucial to create support groups that let members learn from each other.

Setting and Maintaining Company Values 

Workplace culture does not only define a company at its core. It also attracts high-quality talent and sets an organization apart from its competitors.  It is imperative that establishing and upholding company values become a principal focus for businesses. HR managers must ensure that employees understand these values and live by them.  

Often, workers learn about the workplace culture during their orientation, but there are other ways leaders can teach them to the team.  The most common is leading by example, which managers can do by obeying policies and promoting good practices.  Another is by incorporating discussion of values in meetings, team buildings, and company outings. Additionally, managers should acknowledge and reward the employees that display value-centric behavior by giving bonuses or recognizing them in newsletters or websites.

Lastly, HR managers should integrate the values of equality and diversity into the recruitment and hiring process.  While it is essential that candidates align culturally with the organization, it is equally vital that everyone brings something new and unique to the table – whether it’s experience, a specific skill set, or a wealth of ideas.

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Tom McLoughlin

Author, Tom McLoughlin - Director of Growth Recruits Tom McLoughlin is the director of Growth Recruits, a specialist recruitment marketing company, based in the UK. Tom has vast experience from his many years leading several agencies in digital marketing and has an in-depth knowledge of the recruitment sector and the marketing that is required to succeed.

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