Enabler…. When I looked up the meaning of this word… I found this!!
a person or thing that makes something possible.
"the people who run these workshops are crime enablers"
a person who encourages or enables negative or self-destructive behaviour in another.
"being an enabler to an addict does more harm than good"
Well!! As a Human Resource Professionals all we ever try to do is ENABLE positive behavior. Isnt?
This word seems to be the best definition of HR… even the synonyms of the word Enabler (facilitator, coordinator, organizer etc etc) falls short. Yes HR professionals facilitate, coordinate and organize… but more importantly WE Enable!
Why is that so? Who is an enabler?
Picture a young recruit walking into this splashy elegant office space of his first place of work. Picture a seasoned professional walking into the same office of his nth place of work!
What both of them seek is – Acceptance and Clarity of purpose. Who can give them this? Their managers? Certainly yes…. But before they belong to a team, they need to belong to the organization. That sense of belonging to the “bigger picture” is what can be provided by an efficient and involved HR professional.
Enabling as a process starts much before this- probably at the point when the company is put “out there” to seek professionals to join it. A sourcing advert or write up speaks volume about the organizational culture- any layperson can sense it.
When HR department is seen as an enabler in the organization, they are able to work on what is important- create the ambience for the associate to perform efficiently and effectively.
How can HR professionals become enablers?
1. Create and communicate clear Job Descriptions- many roles suffer from ‘not exhaustive list’ disease! If one goes by the JDs, any associate right from the entry level to the executive level seems to be responsible for the same length and breadth of jobs! This is seen right from the sourcing stage. MAKE JDS SHORTER AND TO THE POINT. This would help in recruiting the right candidate, effectively onboarding the associate, aid the associate to be productive from the start, in setting clear and smart goals, in assessing performance…. The list goes on and on.
2. Recognize the FACT that business revolves around people! Often HR professionals get so involved in processes and routines, that the core HR principles (misleadingly called as Soft HR) are ignored. Core HR-the prime focus should be on People. Ensuring that the company policies encourages effective performance and not discontent.
3. Build a culture of Recognition and Encouragement (R&E) - All of us unconsciously need R&E. More often than not in our psyche this is inexplicably linked with acceptance. If one is appreciated then he/she is accepted! This R&E can be simple word of mouth praise, sharing of ones work as a success story to team members, rewards etc. It is often noticed that if small efforts are recognized and given its due, it leads to major efforts that ends up increasing the effectiveness of the entire operation.
4. Simply appraisal processes- Performance Appraisal in many organisations is seen as a tool by HR (the villain!!) to cut off compensation & recognition due to associates. HR department can overcome this by first designing PMS and NOT link it to Compensation. IT can instead be linked to Training & Career progress. This is just one way. Awareness programmes, encouraging associates’ involvement to his/her own performance improvements, Coaching managers to handle PA more as a two way discussion than a monologue etc are simple ways to make PMS an accepted process. After all if done right performance management process will catapult the organizational performance to great heights.
5. Make “LEARNING” the way of life in the organization- Providing opportunities for associates’ to learn new skills or improve on existing skills is a BIG FAVOUR that the HR Department can do to itself and the organisaiton. An individual who is continuously learning stays “interested” in his/her role and is more productive than the associate who is “stuck in the mud” and drags the rest of the team back with him/her. This is also an excellent way to retain associates and spend the recruitment budget elsewhere!
There are many other ways in which HR department can be enablers. The obvious and big “BUT” is- unless the leaders in the organization believe it can work, it will not come to pass!
Heres hoping the current pandemic situation forces many leaders to see the PROFIT in allowing HR to be their best- being enablers.