05 Sep 2018

The Ecstasy and Agony Of Working as an HR Professional in Organizations Today

An organization has two distinctive elements – Material and Human. Human Resources (HR) professionals, who deal with the management of human elements of the organization, whose brain to body ratio is always higher, is bound to undergo moments of ecstasy and agony from time to time for the sheer reason that they are entrusted with responsibilities of managing human brains.

  1. Quest for the best: As HR professionals, we have the responsibilities of getting the best and the brightest of the brains from the market. The ecstasy of devising and implementing the strategies of sourcing and selection is immense. The amount of research that we put in identifying the market, exploring different media of sourcing (be it social networking sites, vendors, referrals, job boards etc.) and conceiving different strategies of selection to ensure that we get the best fit candidates for the job, gives us paramount satisfaction. At the same time, when we are unable to link our recruitment metrics with that of business profitability and do not get our share of recognition for the growth of organization then it becomes painful.

  1. Artificial intelligence and Natural Stupidity: In this era of digitalization, everyone wants to automate everything under the sun to the extent that we have ventured into mapping human brains to identify their logical and emotional intelligence level. It is indeed a great feeling to be in a profession that gives us opportunity to design such frameworks. At the same time by doing so, we are losing out on the human touch – the connect that HR has with employees to understand the actual pulse on the floor and devise interventions accordingly to the live pulse is somewhere missing now.

We are thrilled to see employee satisfaction level going high by the use of technologies like ESS, MSS etc. Organizations now have robots replacing HR helpdesk to bring in efficiency. It certainly gives us feelings of a super power when we devise such interventions but then the amount of coercion that is required to be done by HR to make the leadership understand and agree for such requirements in the organization is certainly painful. Why even today, it is so difficult to understand that budget utilized to make HR systems and processes are a long term investments and not expenses for the organization. Such experiences and feelings certainly gives agonizing moments to an HR professional.

  1. The Housewife syndrome: Like a housewife, the HR department in an organization is always devoted to its daily chores and strategic planning to ensure that the best brains are hired; frameworks are devised and implemented for its hi-potential identification, succession planning, career architecture, performance evaluation; its processes are complaint to internal policies and external regulations; different interventions are conceived and implemented to ensure increased ESAT scores, employee engagement level, employer’s brand in the market etc. and an HR professional takes pride in ensuring all such things are done for the benefits of the organization. It is proved through different researches that in the absence of these things, an organization will not go very far on the path of success. After all these things, perception of some people that has branded HR’s role as event manager for fun activities on the floor or point of contact for admin work makes it all look ordinary.

  2. Every day is a new day: Life of a HR professional is a roller coaster ride. Every morning when we leave for our respective offices, we come with some agenda on mind for the day but the moment we hit office everything falls apart. There would be different things waiting for us; be it employee’s dissatisfaction with some new initiatives or compensation related problems or even ER related issues. We need to plan our day as it progresses with issues and excitement at hand. Days are never monotonous as we get to do different things every day. This part of profession is certainly exciting. However, when we deal with these issues (ER issue for example) and get into a situation where we need to take some tough decisions (eq. asking employee to resign) wretches our heart. We certainly take such decisions for the organization but the human side of us sometimes cries from inside.

  1. Ever changing regulations: Be it the labour regulations of the country/state you are present in or regulations related to labour laws of the land you are going to mark your foot print into, an HR’s job is to ensure that the organization abides by the laws of the land and the kind of research and administrative activities that are required to ensure that all your policies and practices are in line with the requirement is humongous. An HR professional takes pride in helping the organization achieve required level of compliance. HR professional needs to be on toes and ensure the policies and HR practices in the organization are updated to cope with the changes in regulations. When such changes in the policies and practices are condemned by some people stating changes are brought in as fancied by HR departments then it leaves you with a bitter taste.

  1. One size fits all: As a HR professional we devise our policies and processes in line with external regulations and internal policies. We look into organizations’ vision and plan our people initiatives to help business achieve their target and we take pride in doing so. These processes, initiatives, policies are however standard in nature. We pursue standardization and uniformity in the face of workforce that is heterogeneous and complex and we do this to bring in efficiency in the system. We do come across cases which are genuine but don’t fit in overall standardized processes or policies and we let such cases pass by citing the policy reasons because we know an exception to one will open floodgate in the organization which is again not a situation that as a HR professional we would like the organization to be into. It is a painful event for a HR professional to let such events occur in the organization in the name of uniformity.

  1. The godly Act: As an HR professional, we are in a habit of enabling other functions achieve their targets and we don’t expect anything in return. If our business gets new client and need workforce, we jump into our recruiter shoes and do everything possible under the sun to ensure quality hiring is completed within stipulated time frame. We take initiatives and administer our developmental programs for employees to gain new skills and be ready for the future. We work with business on proactive basis to design engagement and retention frameworks and administer the same. We develop frameworks and strategic initiatives to ensure that employee satisfaction score for the organization is increased every year. After all these when the business marks profit in the books of account the credit goes to the business managers and we get mostly a thank you note stating we have been a good enabler. There is no direct contribution that we make to the bottom line of the organization. We don’t expect this either because we as HR professionals believe in godly deeds.

As an HR professional, we always strive to bring back and rehabilitate the human factor into the dehumanized mechanical system, typical of modern day organizations. It gives me immense pleasure when I am able to answer the question, “What is it that I have done today to enhance and uplift the soul and spirit of my company?” It is such a sense of belonging and esprit de corps, which promotes and perpetuates the feelings of ecstasy in me as an HR professional. At the same time when I am not able to make people in commanding positions understand “Why certain people initiative is important for the organization”, it gives me sleepless nights mixed with a feeling of agony and sadness.

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