Human Resources is a busy job. HR Managers need to find effective ways to communicate policies, administer complicated benefits programs, recruit and train employees, update systems, prevent turnover, manage company culture, ensure morale is high, facilitate change, enable succession and continuity, identify staffing needs, ensure compliance, and so much more. The power of relationship management, social cues, and social media are well documented for recruiting processes, but what about everything else HR managers must contend with?
By learning positive social techniques, managers can communicate more effectively, increase employee receptiveness to change, improve feedback processes, and manage complicated systems without getting an awful headache.
HR managers are expected to have competent decision-making, interpersonal, managerial, organizational, and speaking skills. This package of talents can be improved by focusing on three core components: body language, open communication, and multitasking.
Social Technique 1: Body Language
Body language becomes crucial when dealing with business owners and employees of an organization. HR managers need to use a different set of skills depending on whether they’re seeking a changed response from an employee or promoting a new program to management. Learning how to respond in each situation helps to ease potentially difficult conversations.
It’s crucial that employees feel comfortable and open with their HR teams, so always avoid using constricted body language. Crossing the arms sends a hostile message and can make well-intentioned employees feel unappreciated. Maintaining open body language leaves both parties feeling that a mutual understanding and respect have been developed.
By contrast, many executives like to feel that they’re in charge of the conversation. HR managers should be careful to express themselves clearly and confidently, asserting the potential costs and outcomes of their proposals, while at the same time being careful not to waste time. If HR is perceived as an expense instead of an asset, its ability to be effective is limited.
Social Technique 2: Open Communication
Whether posting to a company bulletin board, sending an email, or addressing a committee in a conference, open communication helps to reinforce a sense of integrity and honesty. When recipients of information feel that the briefing provided an up-front and detailed account of a change, it helps smooth over any potential ripples in the transformation process.
People respond better to changes when they can see the behind-the-scenes process and the reasons why the changes became necessary or desirable. Encouraging feedback and providing links to additional sources of information empowers people and gives them a way to get involved in the decision-making process. Especially in larger businesses with entrenched employees, open communication can prevent rumors and cut the risk of employee turnover.
By providing all relevant details behind a decision, HR managers can ease transitions and improve the overall company morale during times of change. Being social doesn’t have to be anything fancy—it can be as simple as making decisions with a keen awareness of the community that will be impacted.
Social Technique 3: Multitasking
HR managers need to be able to quickly change hats depending on the issue placed in front of them. One moment, they may be helping an employee with a personal crisis. The next, they can be conducting job interviews, reviewing benefits claims, coaching managers through performance reviews, or delivering termination notices. Having the ability to quickly switch focus and respond appropriately in any situation is an essential social technique for all HR staff.
HR problems often fly in at the same time. An employee with a problem processing his or her insurance claim doesn’t care that another employee has an urgent request for time off. HR managers who are effective multitaskers also succeed by automating, delegating, and outsourcing tasks whenever it will save time or money. In this way, the HR manager performs a type of triage, evaluating the seriousness of issues and redirecting them to the appropriate personnel.
Leveraging social techniques can transform the HR department and the entire organization well beyond recruiting. From advanced technologies to simple day-to-day adjustments, improvements to the way employees interact and engage can bring about significant returns on the investment of resources. At their most basic, effective social techniques show confidence and respect for other people.
Ultimately, a successful HR manager needs to give full attention to every workplace issue. When employees are treated with respect, feel empowered, and have the skills and resources to accomplish a company’s mission, the HR manager has done his or her job effectively.