Hiring an HR professional partner can fix what is ailing your organization.

4 Ways an External HR Partner Can Fix What Ails Your Organization

Written by on February 28, 2014

The negative and often reoccurring people issue symptoms that your firm or organization is experiencing may indicate that it could benefit from hiring an external Human Resources Professional partner. These symptoms are often quite similar whether your firm has 20 employees or 400 employees and regardless of whether it is a start up or has been in existence for decades. Whatever the size and/or age of your firm, an expert Human Resources professional with skills complimentary to your needs brings years of expertise and a complex variety of strategies to meet your people challenges where you are at.

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Generally, the most common symptoms include:

  • Employee-related:
    • Decreased productivity
    • Increased absenteeism
    • Employee disengagement and disharmony
    • Open conflict or tension in the workplace
    • Workload and confidence on the job struggles

  • Leader/Manager-related:
    • Don’t know how to deal with difficult scenarios or conversations
    • Don’t know how to move people issue strategies into consistently applied action
    • Suffering in silence and isolation, often turning away from managing people issues

The HR Professional Partner can choose to approach these scenarios in four different (and often interwoven) roles.

  1. Through Coaching

    When approaching human resources through a coaching lens, the critical skill is to ask questions that will delve into core issues. Themes and patterns of behaviour that begin to emerge can be identified and worked through with the clients in-situ. For example, , the coaching might begin by meeting with the manager to determine what strategy will be most effective in achieving elusive goals. The coaching may ultimately reveal that the issue lies with the manager/leader who needs to increase their knowledge and skills in specific areas, such as dealing with difficult employees or increasing employee engagement prior to approaching those involved. This prep work can benefit the organization as a whole by establishing up front new awareness of development before the directives are given.

    A skilled HR Coach will be able to match an assessment tool to the client situation. When working with several managers in a large organization with a human resources budget, the HR Professional Partner as coach may choose a comprehensive assessment such as a 360-Degree survey. In this type of assessment, the management team might evaluate their current effectiveness. The focus is then turned to other managers as peers, to staff, to the leaders of the organization – to complete the same assessment of the manager.

    In smaller companies, a simple survey can be used as an assessment tool, perhaps focusing on employee satisfaction or wellness. Such a survey may glean insights into personal time management, asking questions such as:

    • “Do you have time to exercise?”
    • “Are you able to spend time with your spouse?”
    • “What responsibilities do you have for elder care or children?”

    These assessments will determine which role the HR Professional Partner needs to be played to best serve the client’s needs.

  2. Through Consulting

    The process may begin with the HR Professional Partner in the consulting role. The role is one of auditing the existing processes and then making suggestions for improvement. If the manager/leader has a clear idea of what the challenges are, the consultant can then begin with this information. If the company has undergone rapid growth and there is no formal human resources designate, for example, then the consultant might begin to help implement programs such as recruitment and training or performance reviews. The consultant role is more formal and often involves initiating a new direction and providing industry advice.

  3. Through Mentoring

  4. Often what a leader and/or business owner require is an HR confidante skilled in strategically supporting them through their HR issues.  The HR expert works with the leader and possibly members of their management team from a mentor approach – best served with a skilled coach approach as well – both sharing their expertise and experience from their HR career history and also by asking thought-provoking coach questions to illicit the client’s own thoughts, biases and learnings.  The result is that leaders and managers who are often solely focused on service delivery without active consideration of HR issues that help or hinder progress, are now learning firsthand the strategic value of HR mindfulness.

  5. Through Facilitation

    The information gathered from assessments discussed in the Through Coaching section above may lead to the planning of facilitated sessions. The HR expert takes on a more educational role, bringing information and ideas to a team in a workshop series or multiple sessions working with different tiers of the organization. These working sessions are designed to be interactive and team members should leave with renewed sense of purpose and a plan to improve best practices.

As you can see, the opportunities and business value of working side-by-side with a strategic HR Professional Partner are rich and robust, creating numerous avenues for lasting organizational success. When hiring a Human Resources Professional Partner, look for the expert who can demonstrate both the flexibility to competently and confidently move in and out of these individually specific and collectively powerful roles as well as their proven experience and/or certification in these areas.