Transparency & feedback | 3 ways to boost employee faith in HR

3 ways to boost employee faith in HR

Employee faith in HR is crucial.

Not only does it help foster a culture of trust, it can boost productivity and morale, and this can have commercial benefits for the organisation if all employees are onboard and headed in the same business direction.

Yet, research from Zenbusiness found that more than half of staff lack faith in the people function which could be problematic for businesses. To combat this, a recent Forbes article authored by the Forbes Human Resources Council pointed towards some of the different strategies that the people function can adopt to boost staff faith in the HR department. This can have huge benefits for both the individual and the business.

A hands-on experience

The first example shared by Karen Rice from Slickdeals explained that she sometimes finds that employees have this lack of faith because they don’t feel HR understands them. Therefore, Rice suggested that HR should go in and work with employees from time to time so that they can build better relationships and have a greater appreciation for the work that they do. As a result, employees may feel more comfortable airing concerns with people professionals.

This idea of HR and senior leaders working alongside employees was a notion corroborated by Nicola Forshaw, HR Director at The Landmark London. In a pre-pandemic interview with HR Grapevine, she talked about an initiative called ‘Back to the Floor’. The HR leader explained that senior managers surrender any rank that they have and are encouraged to go back into uniformed departments so they can experience the challenges that staff have and appreciate the work that they do.

Last year, Forshaw explained that she went to work in the kitchen porter department in the hotel, wore the same uniform as staff and worked alongside colleagues to get a feel for what they do. “So, when we go back to our day jobs, we are committed to that team and will help them develop their roles to make them much easier,” she added.

Welcome staff feedback

Collecting staff feedback on a plethora of workplace topics such as performance, employee engagement and initiatives is crucial. Yet, in the Forbes article, Karen Crone from Paycor Inc pointed towards the idea that employee faith can be increased if HR and senior teams invite feedback on the work that they themselves are doing and the policies that they have implemented. Employees want their voices to be heard.

One way in which AkzoNobel collects staff feedback, and promotes corporate transparency, is through a relatively new concept called ‘Scrums’. Wendy Baines, HR Director UK&I at AkzoNobel, told HR Grapevine in a pre-pandemic interview that a ‘Scrum’ consists of eight employees from the same geographic area and staff are selected at random and paired with a member of the Senior Leadership Team.

This 90-minute discussion centres around an employee being asked about the positives of working for the firm, work woes and understanding of the business strategy with a view to formalise an action plan for change. “[It’s] a really great way of getting to talk to people and seeing the whites of their eyes, what switches them on and off, it improves visibility of the Senior Leadership Team and it creates a more connected and engaged community,” Baines added.

Be transparent

The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly caused a lot of uncertainty for both businesses and its employees. Paul Phillips from Avanade, told Forbes that uncertainty can result in a lack of trust therefore transparent decision-making processes are key. Even if all the answers aren’t known to begin with, let staff know that you will come back to them with an answer in due course.

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With regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, Harriet Shurville, Chief People Officer at Iris, previously told HR Grapevine that employers shouldn’t assume what their staff want and should be transparent when communicating with staff. Referring to discussions around workplace holiday policies, she explained: “The weekly zoom call with our CEO allows us to figure out what our people are worried about – it’s a mechanism to allow us to understand what our people are really feeling. The Q&A with Chris Marlow [CEO] allows the Board to think about what is important to our people. It allows us to communicate with them and think about how people are feeling. We might not have the answer right at the time, but we can think about it afterwards and come back in a manner that best serves them,” Shurville concluded.

Do you have any tips for increasing employee faith in the people function? Let us know in the comments below…

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