The HR divide: Why employees and HR just aren't seeing eye to eye

There's a disconnect between what employees want and what HR thinks they want

The HR divide: Why employees and HR just aren't seeing eye to eye

Ever felt stuck between a rock and a hard place? Not sure what your employer expects of you? Well, HR, you’re not alone.

“This particular piece of research shows that there has been quite a disconnect between HR and employees, and it’s been exacerbated because of the experience that we’ve all just come through,” said Jane Kennelly GM of Skills Consulting Group.

The company has released the findings of their annual Work Wellbeing Index Survey. This year’s research found that although the Work Wellbeing Index was holding steady, there were areas showing signs of cracks so have produced a series of reports that delve deeper into these issues.

One of those reports entitled ‘Mind the Gap’ explores the disconnect between what HR thinks employees want and what they really want.

Read more: Disconnect between leaders, workers a roadblock to recovery

“We’ve heard about the great resignation, and that’s real. Now we’re looking at people disappearing offshore, and I think for HR this about really understanding what employees want from their place of work and how it needs to be delivered,” Kennelly told HRD.

What are employees saying they want?

  • Organisation and management genuine care
  • Supportive Management
  • Swift issue resolution
  • Flexible working
  • Remuneration
  • Benefits suited to the environment
  • Communication

Where are the disconnects?

  • 72% of HR professionals thought their employees felt their company genuinely cared for their wellbeing, but only 58% of employees agreed.
  • 72% of HR professionals thought their employees felt their organisation enabled them to look after their own wellbeing, but only 64% of employees agreed.
  • 81% of HR professionals thought their employees felt their manager genuinely cares for their wellbeing and acts upon it, but only 64% of employees agreed.
  • 72% of HR professionals thought their employees felt their organisation had structures and programs in place to ensure their wellbeing, but only 54% of employees agreed.

Is HR technology creating that divide?

Is one engagement tool a year enough to give you a sense check of what’s happening inside your business? Is two a year enough to give you an idea about how your people are feeling?

Conceding it was potentially a bit provocative Kennelly pondered that HR technology could be the problem. “I look at the some of the mechanisms that are being used at the moment and I just go there’s got to be a better way than this.”

The importance of genuine care

Kennelly believes that HR need to start understanding the value of showing genuine care because it is still genuine care that has the biggest impact on driving overall wellbeing. “Overwhelmingly, people just want to be shown genuine care,” said Kennelly.

Read more: New Zealand leaders: Fearful and disconnected

“One of the biggest issues that HR really needs to recognise at the moment is burnout especially in women. 41% of women are seriously experiencing burnout trying to navigate what is a very complex world,” she continued.

“One of the ways you can show genuine care is by taking the time to talk to people, not just once a week, do it twice a week and understand how they feel and what’s happening for them,” said Kennelly.

When you start to bring genuine care into an organisation HR has a responsibility to lead the way in showing what that looks like and it will impact your business if you haven’t got your head around this. Under HRs remit now is understanding wellbeing and what that looks like, and it’s not wellness, it’s wellbeing. The whole person picture.”

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