HR Shouldn’t Shield Us from Each Other

Apr 15, 2024 | About L2L, All Blogs, HR, Human-Centered Practices, Talent Advisement Resources

When clients come to us wanting to hire, they discover that our Human Resources and Talent Advisement processes go beyond finding and selecting candidates. 

We consider hiring as one part of a larger set of supportive structures and processes, and a reflection of an organization’s culture. It doesn’t serve you to hire someone without creating a culture where they would want to work. 

This all makes HR a very different department than we usually consider it. In a values-aligned and human-centered culture, one of HR’s main functions is building relationships, connections, and belonging. 

HR no longer has to be the department that protects employees and employers from each other. To be sure, all employees need a safe place to turn to in the face of discrimination or harassment, and compliance and risk management are critical functions. But those are not the only functions of HR. 

Too often, HR becomes a mechanism for avoiding vulnerability and hard conversations. People learn that conflicts get resolved through HR, not through dealing directly with each other.

A recent California bill is a striking example. The newly proposed law aims to give employees the “right to disconnect” at the end of the workday, by giving them the legal right to ignore a supervisor’s call or email outside of established working hours. 

Like many policies intended to simplify and replace human conversations and negotiations, its impact may be causing more complications than resolutions. 

First, the law applies to salaried employees, except for those under a union contract and except in emergencies, which isn’t clearly defined. Hourly employees can still be contacted after hours, and everyone can still be contacted after hours by a co-worker, just not a supervisor. And there’s the problem of what this law will do to overtime. 

If an employer violates the law, they can be fined. But is calling or emailing prohibited, or is the employee simply empowered to ignore them?

The bottom line is that a blanket policy designed to “protect” is causing confusion and more work for everyone. And when HR is reduced to setting and enforcing policy, relationships suffer. 

Transforming Human Resources

Imagine instead a supervisor and their team talking about their working hours and expectations. If they could say, sometimes I’ll email you during evenings and weekends because that’s when my schedule allows, but there’s no expectation for you to respond until working hours. What if the team was given the flexibility to take care of personal appointments during the day and so they could be available if needed in the evening? What if they regularly revisited and evolved these working agreements to fit their changing needs?

The hope is for everyone to share how they work best and what they need, to be accommodated as much as possible, and asked to compromise where necessary. HR could actually enable, encourage, and support these conversations.

It starts with providing clear expectations, supportive systems and structures, and the psychological safety we need to build relationships and be in dialogue. 

When we partner with organizations to build equitable and inclusive HR systems, we help with:

  • Conducting a pay equity analysis and forming a pay equity strategy
  • Creating equitable compensation structures and pay scales
  • Performing regular pay equity training and monitoring
  • Designing a values-aligned compensation philosophy
  • Designing new employee onboarding experiences for belonging
  • Advancement re-onboarding for new manager leadership skills
  • Creating performance evaluation processes
  • Training leaders in performance management 
  • How to plan for succession 
  • Creating human-centered HR policies

Transforming Talent Advisement

When we partner with organizations seeking to hire, our approach is holistic. We help with:

The Position

  • Reviewing and writing values-aligned job descriptions
  • Creating inclusive job postings

Candidate Search and Interviews

  • Job posting management and promotion
  • Screening resumes 
  • Phone screening candidates for qualifications, competencies, and value-add to your culture
  • Writing interview questions
  • Training interviewers on noticing bias, legal watch-outs, and equitable discussions
  • Facilitating interviewer debrief sessions for equitable decision-making

The Employee Experience

  • Designing new employee onboarding experiences that foster belonging
  • Designing team onboarding experiences for new and established employees to build relationships, deepen understanding of your organization’s values, and grow personally and professionally
  • Creating performance management systems based on employer-employee partnership
  • Organization-wide trainings in Human-Centered Practices to build better relationships and teams

Our placements have included C-Suite, Executives, Directors, Attorneys, Managers, and Coordinators.

Contact anyone on our team if you’re ready to hire and create a culture where people will want to stay.

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