The news about Decathlon having replaced its HR department with a committee of employees drawn from various departments, has created quite a buzz. Let the debate on relevance of HR in an organization continue.
At the same time, we see changes taking place on ground already with the advent of technology such as AI, VR and big data analytics. Transactional jobs like employee query handling, payroll, statutory compliance, recruitment and on-boarding are getting automated and outsourced to experts in relevant areas. HR is moving towards the strategic aspects of attracting and developing talent.
Every organization, small or big, local or global has its unique characteristics. In an industry sector, many companies operate and each of them have their unique values, beliefs and norms. These are not clearly visible to the untrained eyes and the outside world. However, the softer aspects about the company culture define the personality traits needed in an individual to be successful in the company. It calls for trained minds to define the behavioural competencies needed in a person and hence, the recruitment tools.
Similarly, the company should be able to communicate about its personality, values, beliefs and culture. This is a critical step in the direction of employer branding so that we attract the desired candidates and reduce the traffic of irrelevant candidates.
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Employees carry out their responsibilities in the course of business. The way they interact with their peers, supervisor and the senior management tells them a lot about the company. They learn to live the company culture by observing their colleagues and bosses interact with customers, business partners, suppliers and the other employees in the company.
A company could say, dignity is a core value for them. This becomes the company’s brand promise if everyone is respectful of the others in all their interactions in a consistent manner. If the boss shouts at members of the team, customer calls are not attended promptly, colleagues treat the others basis their personal rapport with them, company’s brand does not stand true to its promise.
HR is the guardian of the company’s internal environment and ensures the workplace stands testimony of what it promises to be. It is a full time job, calls for not only focus but also the skills to observe and initiate course-corrections. Company brand is not the exclusive agenda of the marketing department!
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Like the marketer runs several programmes to build the brand among the potential customers and their influencers, HR has to build the company brand for potential employees, current employees, the employees of their partners, the influencers and the alumni.
Leadership team normally defines the company’s values and vision. Sometimes, they co-create these involving key members of the organization. Though this is not an easy thing to do, the tough part is the step that follows next. HR team has to define the behaviours which reinforce the values and the behaviours which destroy the value. Then they need to communicate these to the entire organization, induct all new joiners on these behaviours while on-boarding them, listen to the voices of employees on real time basis and keep their eyes and ears on the ground. The idea is to reinforce positive behaviours and take quick actions on violations of the values.
As the business environment changes and social fabric keeps evolving, the organization goes through steps of transformation. Some of the norms and practices could change along the way. HR Team has to own this change on a proactive basis and drive the change from the front along with the top leaders in the organization.
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HR has to own the company brand as much as Marketing does!
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