I had the opportunity to talk randomly with a number of #SHRM16 attendees and ask them one question.
The question is based on Steve Wonder's "I Wish."
I asked people what they wished were different about their day to day HR jobs. Here are the top 5 top answers I heard.
1. I Wish I Had More Time with the People (Outside of Emergencies)
Spending positive time with employees is more than just an aspiration. It is essential to effective human resource management.
Employees need to know that they matter. And, they won't if you don't acknowledge that they exist.
Make sure your employees know that they are valued and appreciated. There is no better way you can do so than to spend time with them.
2. I Wish I Spent More Time with Strong Workers
No question: we all spend more time dealing with struggling employees than we do with those who meet or exceed expectations. Sometimes, it feels like we spend 85% of our time on the 15 percent who don't meet expectations.
We can't reverse the percentages, but we can move the dial. As with everything that is important, reserve time to interact with your solid players and stars.
Don't just thank them. Ask them how you can make their work lives easier.
They are often the least likely to complain. They sometimes have the best ideas.
3. I Wish I Spent Less Time On Compliance.
We are talking about human resources, not legal resources. So your job should not be only about legal compliance.
Even so, legal compliance is a key part of each of your jobs. The question is how to integrate the legal with other aspect of your jobs.
Think, and show, how legal compliance is in the best interests of the Company's business. For example, employees who are or feel harassed are diverted from giving their all toward your organization's mission. That does not even address the cost of litigation.
And, try to think of compliance as values. While sometimes the regulations are burdensome, employment laws focus on important issues. Thinking of the values underlying the laws makes dealing with the more onerous regulations a little easier.
4. I Wish I Were Not In the Middle So Often
Let's face it. We often are in the middle. And, sometimes, we get hit from all sides. Remember this.
Employees complain that they are working too hard and have no lives. Some managers complain employees are not working hard enough and spend too much time on their lives.
Remember, you are not a neutral. You are part of management. But you still can help bridge the gap.
For the benefit of the business, let managers know that there is only so much employees can give. By asking for a a little less, you may actually get a little more.
And, let employees know that more is expected of all of us. Accepting it is more productive than fighting it.
Of course, no one will be fully happy, but you already knew that. But at least you can help the bridge the gap in expectations so it is not insurmountable
5. I Wish I Could Have More Fun
Let's face it: the SHRM conference is fun. We all love seeing our friends and colleagues with whom we may connect primarily on social media.
Well, without the help of SHRM, you probably cannot have a party with 15,000 people. But you can have more fun with your colleagues. And I encourage it.
But here comes the lawyer. Be careful when you blow off steam that you don't say something that could bite you in litigation. Share about frustrations (where they exist). But don't talk about specific employees or pending, threatened or actual claims. There is no "HR" privilege from discovery.
Let me end this blog by playing a song that I hope will bring a smile to your face. Just substitute "HR" for "girls".