Working in various organisations and industries, I’ve experienced many common issues encountered by HR teams. No matter how successful or talented a team’s members, no matter how forward thinking an HR leader, a universal issue seems to permeate most teams at one time or another.
That issue is underexposure.
This issue is often confused with being unappreciated or an organisation’s lack of focus on HR issues. A feeling that “They don’t understand how much we do for them” or “They don’t understand how important this is.”
In some cases, these are true. However in many cases, it is more to do with a lack of profile.
(Not sure if this approach works! )
There are many great HR teams working to provide valued services to their organisations. They service internal clients with efficiency, insight, focus and dedication. The question is – who knows about it? How many of the services your team provides to the business do you actively promote? Can a junior member of staff in your smallest client group tell a friend what HR does for them at work?
Underexposure of your HR team can cause many problems for your team and your organisation as a whole.
Perception is reality so if your clients don’t know you’re providing a great service. Then you’re not. Simple as that.
If you are providing the basic HR functions (and a few “nice to have” extras) to your internal clients with consistency and efficiency, then why not tell them so? Do groups within your organisation refer business to each other? Then why not HR? Does your organisation advertise the services they provide to clients? Then why not HR?
It should be obvious that raising the profile of HR within your organisation has many benefits. Having a well established communication strategy for HR allows for better use as an attraction tool and a retention tool, not only by providing great service to current and prospective employees, but also by word of mouth – thus building your employee value proposition every day.
Creating a high profile for HR also opens you up to more opportunities as an HR professional. NB- This is not about HR having “a seat at the table” (Pffft!) … this is about providing better service and gaining increased opportunities and rewards. We all know that eventually, in business as in life, you reap what you sow and it’s no different here. If you’re concentrating on what you are giving to your team and your clients, you will be rewarded with more interesting projects, progression for your team, respect for a job well done and a happy worklife.
Failing to address a low profile HR team means that you’re working hard on creating and implementing initiatives that aren’t serving their purpose. And you’re also providing your services and expertise without receiving recognition for your great ideas and initiatives!
There are many ideas on how best to raise your HR profile. I’ve found that asking for referrals to other parts of the business from people you’ve done good work for is a helpful one. This is especially good for services like recruitment where you can measure results such as time to fill – Get a client to share their experience with a tentative client or someone who’s not confident in HR.
You can also use tools like Survey Monkey to test how much your clients know about HR services and how you can help them. Then… communicate, communicate, communicate! Go back to Marketing 101 and “Shout it from the rooftops!”. You’re selling your expertise to your clients. It’s a valuable resource.
Avenues for shameless self promotion!
- Lunchtime Information Sessions
- Business updates
- Social media
- HR champions
- Service level agreements
- Add HR services as a staff benefit.
If you’ve found a great way to raise the profile of your HR team, I’d love to hear about it.