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How much human is in your human resources?

by Todd Horton on October 15, 2020

Not so long ago, I heard of this idea called customizable customer interactions.  Supposedly instead of getting a random mailing that ended up  in the trash, I was going to get mailings (electronic and/or hard copy).  No more getting the junk mail I would just toss out.  This ideal quickly went down in ashes.

So what happened? I continued to get junk mail. Maybe more of it.  Of course my name was involved somehow.  But I can’t say the communications felt any more personal.  It was certainly missing the human element. 

I think of this because when I speak with the human resources leaders I speak to regularly on behalf of KangoGift, I often challenge them to tell me how much human is in their human resources? Many of these people will react by saying how great they are in this respect, but when pressed will often realize that, while doing outstanding work, they need to make their HR more personal; more human.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to ensure that employee engagement improves by using the best part of your title  3 ways come to mind.  They are:

  • Keeping the human in human resources
  • Use available resources to maximize your interactions with team members
  • Become more human by using the data you have available properly

Let me explain these ideas in more detail.

Keeping the human in human resources-- When I’m meeting with HR leaders they often lament they only feel like they only spend 5% of their time on actually dealing with the humans who work for the organization. It’s a truth and we have to deal with it.  So how can we increase engagement when so many other, extremely important tasks demand action?

Let’s make sure there is always one eye on the word human.  As humans we want to make sure we are meeting the needs of all employees so they can remain engaged and see their value to the organization. One way to do this is to make sure that the data we use is more than just a lot of information.  It is great to help us decide the best way to make the organization and more personal, more human, place to work. 

Use available resources to maximize your interactions with team members- This is a good segue into our next are of communication and that’s about using available technologies to achieve maximum benefit.  A great example is to engage machine learning in your program. 

Maybe your accounts payable department is seeing a lot of people leaving.  (Not picking on AP just using it as an example). You can use an employee engagement system to flag when a certain value is passed, or flag when a certain department stays below a certain threshold. 

This will allow you to catch a situation before it becomes a costly problem. A seemingly impersonal resource such as machine learning has now become a vital tool in helping your organization act in a human way.  Is a certain team starting to see an uptick in departures?  Identify it and see what you can do to change the tide. Investing in technology is a lot more effective than spending the lost time and associated costs of replacing someone. 

Become more human by using the data you have available-Again a nice segue from one topic to another.  We all know the tremendous amount of data we have at our fingertips.  Of course we then have tools utilizing machine learning to help us be successful. What’s important is that we have to use this data to move, evolve, beyond data to build a great culture for the organization. 

Of the companies I speak with, I have seen repeatedly that the truly great ones have great cultures. This has nothing to do with company size or geographic location.  What I’ve found most intriguing is the absolute random nature of great cultures.  In fact, that’s what makes a culture truly great.  It relies on the human element above all else. 

The truly great cultures use data and technology as a way to improve the culture.  These HR leaders are typical in that 95% of the work they do is the very important tasks that need to be done. Still they make sure that 5% that deals with the human aspect of the role goes towards building a better and stronger culture.

I’d like to leave you with some quick takeaways.

  • Make sure that no matter how busy you are; how much of the chores you are doing, that you always ensure that the word is HUMAN resources.  So make sure to remember that everyone involved is, in fact, human. 
  • You have tremendous resources at your disposal to become more human.  Data is wonderful, but it can become even better when you match it to the HUMAN in human resources.
  • Lastly combine the HUMAN in human resources with the technology you have in hand and you will build the type of culture that will sustain you and allow you to build because you’re not losing precious resources trying to replace all the time. 

It is possible for HR to put data into a system that allows you to build a culture that will sustain and advance your organization.  It will only happen if you remember the HUMAN in human resources. 

Topics: Human Resources Trends, Machine Learning, employee retention

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