HR – some love it, some hate it, and sometimes no matter what you do – people will never like you.  Yet unlike a popular yeast extract that has made the most of people loving it or hating it to its marketing advantage, you need to be there doing your best to please everyone.

I get really excited when I see great feedback about an HR team or a new HR initiative that has been implemented and been well received, sadly however, there aren’t enough of these success stories to go around.

On the whole, whilst the odd (as in number not as in personality trait) manager or CEO will love the HR team, I can guarantee you that not everyone in your organisation will share the same level of enthusiasm.  And as HR we can’t understand this – we have done everything we possibly could for the good of every single person by standardising recruitment and induction, telling people what they can pay their team members, designed training that is mandatory for everyone in a certain role or at a certain level, put people into talent management grids and designed their future and written so many detailed policies that nobody could ever or should ever misunderstand a word of what is written and also be on their best behaviour – or face the consequences. (This seems to sound like a great rant if you play a John Cleese voice in your head whilst reading)

What’s not to love?  How could any of this leave a sour taste in the mouth of our customers?

Because quite simply it doesn’t work!

We follow ‘best practice’, we jump each time the CEO tells us that we need to put a new dress code policy in place (don’t even get me started on this one), or we post in a LinkedIn group asking if anyone has any new ideas on how to manage our people in the worst possible way, and then we hide in our office designing all of this stuff before having it agreed by the Board and then wonder why our people don’t instantly engage in the process.

They don’t engage ladies and gentlemen, because they key and most vital part of this process being a success, was missing.  We didn’t engage the business in the first place.

We didn’t look at the best way to recruit staff in a way that suited the hiring manager.  We didn’t ask our people if a thirty page disciplinary procedure would help them perform better at work.  We didn’t ask the CEO or our people what the problem was with dress code and whether a quiet word in the offender’s ear would solve the problem and we didn’t question if ‘best practice’ and what our competitors are doing actually improved anything for the business and the people in it.

So if the HR effect is clearly visible in your organisation and you don’t know what to do about it, start by having some really open and honest conversations with your customers – your people.  Seriously, put yourselves in the line of fire and ask them what they love and what they hate about what you are designing and delivering.  Some of it you may need to keep, some of it you may want to change, and some of it you may want to scrap.  And if you don’t know where to start with any of that, then get in touch and we can give you a helping hand.

It’s time for HR to transform, because it’s totally time for something new – we can’t please all of the people all of the time but we can do better than we currently are.

Kelly Swingler

Kelly Swingler is Founder of Chrysalis Consulting, The People and Change Experts and was appointed at the UK’s Youngest HR Director.  Kelly is passionate about helping people find bespoke people solutions to suit the needs of their business. Kelly is the author of Fostering a Mindset for Career Success, AGILE HR and what’s your excuse for not Overcoming Stress