Ditching the HR parenting role for the HR personal evolution role
There are industrial revolution arguments that state someone's personal life shouldn't have an effect on their business life - that we should judge the merits on the situation at hand. That might be true if a person was so well established in their own mind they could shift and change ethical behaviour on call. Something tells me that the mind, at it's core, retrieves from only one source - historical impressions. The only difference being that there is a larger consequence (due to law) that might impede the person from acting out professionally. And we know law can be fickle, strangled, squeezed out, manipulated and soon we may see robots taking over anyways in the courtroom.
Are you improving with your business?
I interviewed Kevin Casey of Banyan Botanicals (Ayurvedic herbal products online store in the US) about his personal development alongside the company's. He quoted his business mentor who told him "your business is improving 30% a year, are you?" It left a large impression on me with regards to the vehicle a small business can offer in terms of personal development. We all hear our business coaches talk about persistence, not giving up, owing it, keeping your dreams alive, and so on. But we rarely hear anyone talk about HOW to get to those qualities. It's a boot camp mesmerising drill rather than a practical action plan.
We all focus on striving to grow and the rags to riches stories, but we don't hear that many stories of people that grew and then couldn't handle the growth. We don't really see how people change during their business. Success can add a momentary glow to the skin but in time it can then be ravaged by lack of sleep, drinking to calm the nerves, bad digestion, and failed relationships. We might see that the business is growing, but we might be breaking apart in the background.
The Importance of Human Resources
I was on a contract role with a company where I was convinced the only purpose of their HR was putting on weekly parties and making sure they always walked around the office smiling. I'm sure they were able to provide advice to employees as to their rights and such, but you might also be able to find that via google. Some companies have merged accounting and HR together because it is seen as a mechanical operation, there to comply with basic laws so they don't get "in trouble". Reactive, just like old school accounting.
This is not the fault of the actual HR department or people in it, it is truly what is expected as the norm. Occasionally they might encourage team building weekends or offer personal development speakers to come in , but this is rare and the topics may not suit all. Even personal development must fit in with the standardised prescriptions.
Humans create meaning. Depending on the clear agenda of the organisation, their support is essential in order to be at your best. Keeping individuals motivated, gossip free, healthy and clever is not an easy job. Working with people deserves an oscar in my opinion. The role is very important but the essence of the current HR system falls short and I believe those working in it's old fashioned ways also are not utilised to their full capacity. This area needs it's own internal review.
The Employee Assessment
In my time working for over 18 companies, I have a rarely come across an employee that gains value from their assessment. It's a drudgery and a waste of time - in the end you could send them an email with the raise value or lack of. It rarely provides motivation to want to upskill in the areas lacking, most consider it political and the space between assessments means most forget what it was all for anyway.
And the worst part of all is that it feels like a school report based on fear of getting the right answer, or not, and it's at the fickle nature of the one giving the assessment depending on their mood on that day and their own personal development.
TOP DOWN APPROACH
I do believe that in order to improve the value of your employees the owner/manager of the business must be first assessed according to their own personal goals and it's effect on the business -
How effective is their decision making? Do they react out of emotion?
Do they have healthy relationships outside of the business?
Do they sleep, eat, eliminate, digest well?
Do they inspire others to do better or lead like a parent?
How well do they trust others and do they delegate well?
Are they open to change and new ideas?
What kind of company do they keep? Do they have a personal mentor?
Do they take time to relax and rejuvenate?
PERSONAL IS BUSINESS
Incorporating an employees dreams into their assessment may seem off target, however, I call this the 'Falling in Love' remedy. When in practise I would regularly comment that I help people to fall in love (work, humans, selves) because we all enjoy people in love - they are easy going, smiling and they radiate. It makes you feel good. When an employee feels like they are chipping away at that side project that gives them a thrill AND as an owner, you can support them, whether through mentoring or offering a little time off work, this can make an immense difference to their sense of loyalty. If you are part of the dream then it makes sense to stick around and do your best to the host that is helping the business to eventuate.
Business generally works on a basis of trying to slave their employees into staying for the long haul. This is a clear case of relying heavily on the personality and not being clear on the Standard Operating Procedures of the role. Turnover should be expected. Loyalty should be appreciated.
And you never know what benefit the idea you are supporting could help your own venture.
INDIVIDUALS DON'T NEED GENERAL ASSESSMENTS
I have a saying - you can't tell who someone is until you understand their personal leap. By this I mean you might meet someone that is positive and doing well in business to find out their parents have the same traits and the person grew up in that environment versus someone that grew up with an alcoholic parent and worked full time to put themselves through school. The second leap is paradigm changing. The first is a replica.
Therefore, establishing PERSONAL guidelines for each employee would create a more real gauge as to how they are progressing under your wing. If they are healthier, more motivated and curious than they were a year ago, then it's an upward trajectory.
BRING THE BODY INTO FOCUS
Offering to be a fitness coach or helping someone on a diet might be too much an investment and can appear to be pushing an agenda not desired on the employees behalf. Instead, providing educational programs as a topic to discover either in house or connecting with other small businesses that offer a range of activities might be worth considering. This is not news - companies offer sporting activities often, however it is rarely discussed as part of the employee assessment.
Ayurveda considers exercise by body type for well-being -
Vata types are waving their hands non stop and moving around naturally. An activity that slows them down like a yin yoga class would be most ideal.
Pitta is naturally competitive and will want to fuel that spirit through team sports. This needs to be monitored - excessive competition in this body type can lead to aggressive behaviour and an inability to see others' point of view. Something like swimming would be good. It cools the excessive fire. Martial arts also helps to tame a wild spirit.
Kapha people can tend towards being too stable and inert therefore running or a high activity (team sports for sure) would be good. This body type can afford to really let loose and it will help provide them motivation to get up in the morning.
FOR REGULAR EMPLOYEE OUTPUT DO REGULAR ASSESSMENTS
Assessments can be treated more as a mentoring exercise than a school report. An annual assessment drifts off into oblivion. Yes having regular chats with employees is great but creating systemised assessment on, say, a quarterly assessment gives the employee the feeling of progress and that someone cares. So many people feel alone and deal with their mental health issues with medication behind closed doors. To just know that they are a part of a system that is making sure they are doing ok as a human, as well as connecting to what the company desires can make a difference as to their attendance rates.
Within structure and clear agenda a company can feel like a home to some that never had that structure growing up. It can also provide walls for those that feel like their big dreams might fly away. Employees like to feel proud of where they work, they like to be seen and they like to think they are thriving under their leader.
No different from how we feel living in our country.