Children have learnt many moral lessons from the pages of Dr Seuss books, but if you were to reread those books you’ll find many of those lessons can be applied to HR.
"So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads." – Dr Seuss
HR can be a communication heavy role but, if you want to communicate effectively it’s important to keep messages succinct. Quick fast facts with links to additional information or an invite to ask for further clarification can suffice. Joe McCormack, author of Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less explained that being brief is essential in the 21st-Century workplace.
"People are buried with information, and the average attention span is now eight seconds. You can't hold anyone's attention if you're not brief," he said.
To keep communication concise he recommends three tips; prepare beforehand, don’t over-explain and once you’ve said what you need to say stop talking and listen.
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." - from the story The Lorax.
Tasked with investigating complaints, delivering and comforting those facing difficult times, and implementing changes means caring is vital for an HR job. Failure to handle matters with appropriate care can impact on employee engagement and staff retention, so while it’s essential to maintain professionalism a bit of mindfulness can go a long way.
And let’s not forget HR are often the change agents for an organisation so it you want something to be better, you have to get involved and make it happen.
As Steve Johnson, Managing Director of Transformation Partners said: “Capable and passionate HR leaders stand out. Their passion is infectious and they inspire those around them. Through their passion they can attract a talented team who buy into the firm’s vision and understand the level of contribution and focus required of their team and themselves.”
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – from the story ‘I Can Read With My Eyes Shut.
Knowledge is power and unless we wish to remain stagnant ongoing learning is vital. As champions of training and development not only should HR professionals be further educating themselves but also be driving the up-skilling and development of their organisations employees. In a Forbes blog, Howling Wolf Management Training, LLC, founder and principal, Victor Lipman, stated that development planning makes good business sense as it helps build loyalty and increases productivity.
“Development planning doesn’t have to be elaborate or costly. At its core it’s mostly a matter of good managers taking the person-to-person time to understand their employees… recognising their skills and needs… and guiding them to fill in the gaps. If it’s done well, the payoff can be substantial in terms of long-term loyalty. If it’s not, the costs can be substantial in terms of long-term talent,” he wrote.
“So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s a great balancing act.” - from Oh, The Places You’ll Go
HR is a balancing act and it takes judgement and sensitivity to balance the interests of employees, middle management, unions and businesses. And as the success of one often depends on the success of the other it is essential HR are able to work out problems in diplomatic ways.
When it comes to communicating with diplomacy there are six rules according to Dale Carnegie Training: Firstly give others the benefit of the doubt, secondly listen and learn why they hold that particular belief. Thirdly when responding use statements beginning with “I” as “you” can come across as blaming and confrontational. Next use a “cushion” when voicing a different opinion such as “I appreciate your view on” but refrain from following it up with a “but” or “however”, use “and” or pause and say nothing. Following with a “but” or “however” erases the acknowledgment. And finally state your point of view/opinion with relevant and factual evidence.
*Image source: Wikipedia