Do you ever feel like a Mom/Dad to your employees? Wait, let me rephrase that – Do you ever not feel like a Mom/Dad to your employees?! HR Pros tend to act in that manner in many ways, and usually our employees hate us for it. Don't do this, do this, sign this, bring this into work – we ask for a lot – it's our job. I do think, though, there are times when we need to act even more like a Mom/Dad to our employees and we are failing. Most of us drop the ball – and probably it's because we ourselves don't want to do the stuff either or struggle with it as well.
I read an article recently by Mitch Albom (author of Tuesday's with Morrie, The Five People You'll Meet on the Way to Heaven, etc.) in the Detroit Free Press – This Honey Child is a Real Boo Boo regarding the new TLC TV show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” about a redneck family and their 6 year old daughter who participates in beauty pageants. It's the newest train wreck in reality TV – just try and keep your eyes off it! From Mitch's article:
“So now America can watch Honey Boo Boo chase her pig, say, “I rocked my Daisy Duke,” and wear so much makeup she looks like a mannequin. They can watch her mother burp on camera or her pregnant teenage sister get an ultrasound.
They can see an interview on CNN in which her mother admits to spending $15,000 so far on pageants, but putting nothing toward higher education. Here is a direct quote:
“We haven't, like, saved, like, you know, any, like, college fund from her, like, winnings or anything like that.”
What a shame. Harvard was so close.”
Probably sounds familiar to many of your employees, right? Spending money on G*d knows what, but no educational savings account for their kids, or their retirement, or, well, even for emergencies. We see it in HR. Something major happens in a family and HR is the first to know – because either the person won't be coming to work, or needs help, needs money, needs time off, etc. We are the first line of our employee's lack of responsibility.
I think we can do more – but we don't for a number of reasons – but here a
re 3 things I really think HR can help impact in our employee's lives:
1. Save Money.
How many times have you sat down and talked to your employees about contributing to your 401K? Yep, me to – once per year. Is that really enough? Could we do more? Yep. My suggestion: Print off a list of those not contributing and one by one – whether you have 10 employees or 10,000 – meet with them individually and implore them to sign up, help them fill out the paperwork, make a difference in their lives. They won't thank you right now – they'll thank you 25-30 years down the road. HR can make a difference!
2. Stay Healthy.
There is a small company in Lansing, MI called Peckham – great company, great mission – they help people with disabilities, refugees, etc. get to work – they have a big sewing operation which makes army uniforms, etc. Not the greatest jobs, but a start. They have a cafeteria that only makes healthy food and they make the price so cheap you're almost forced to eat good! They didn't have to do this – they could have had normal cafeteria food – but they didn't. They also use the land around their plant as gardens for their workers to use and take home the produce. There are thousands of examples of wellness plans. Little things – HR can do that!
3. Work After 5pm.
This one gets sticky! “It's not about hours Tim! It's about results…blah, blah, blah!” Here me out – This is about giving a little extra to the organization – maybe it's not working past 5pm, maybe it's coming in at 7am or coming in on a Saturday, etc. Signs and Symbols are huge in Organizational Behavior/Dynamics. Work later – people think you're working harder, more engaged, etc. Those folks get promoted, make more money and are viewed as leaders. Our perceptions become our realities. HR can help teach this!
It's not Earth shattering stuff – but we tend not to do it – because most of us don't want to do it ourselves – or we find it hard to do. Sometimes it's about one-on-one, not everyone – reach one life, make a difference. In HR we tend to try and make a difference in everyone's life all at once. That is very difficult.
How many individual conversations with employees have you had this week? Hit me in the comments…