In this space, we are uniquely (and sometimes falsely) positioned between upper management and frontline employees. It’s not your job to play mediator between disgruntled employees and frustrated managers, but it likely feels like it.
Your role in the grand scheme of organizational needs is much larger. HR simply can’t make everyone happy; to compensate, it’s imperative to balance immediate and delayed needs throughout the company to develop employees and leadership appropriately. Creating happy employees may be a great side benefit but the work must come first. So how does an overworked HR pro figure out the right balance between the individual and the organizational?
Desire for Employee Development vs. No Budget
In the modern zeitgeist of employee satisfaction and engagement, organizations often feel the push for employee development programs. At the very least, a stipend for employees to develop job-related skills. In 2013, SHRM found that 61% of U.S. companies help pay for undergraduate degrees and 59% offer help with graduate degrees. But the problem isn’t rooted in the desire to provide this for your team… it has almost become an expectation. The real question isn’t should you or should you not provide this for your team, but rather how will you find the financial backing to do so?
In today’s business world your employees crave the opportunity for professional development… we’ve written before about starting a professional development program. In lieu of providing a stipend or educational assistance with funding you don’t have, offer mentorship opportunities within the company. You may not have the budgetary wiggle room to hire experts from without the organization, but you still have options. Work within the organizational framework to create formal learning opportunities that both benefit the individual employee and create more productivity and efficiency for the company.
Need for Talent vs No Pipeline
Talent competition is fierce - as you well know. In this territory of unending candidate rejections, you can’t help but ask yourself, “What if a manager resigns?” In a mad scramble to fill the role, the first seemingly qualified candidate is brought onto the team. Unfortunately, in the haste, the hiring manager failed to realize the new manager didn’t truly fit into the company… it becomes a fast-moving revolving door. Clearly, you need a talent pipeline; the only problem is that it’s hard to develop a talent pipeline when you’re already strapped for highly qualified and truly fit candidates.
You’re not the only one struggling, only 4% of employers said looking towards the future, their talent pipeline looks excellent… Whether it’s budget concerns or time constraints, creating a pipeline isn’t easy, but that doesn’t negate the need for one. Keep candidates who didn’t quite land the position they applied for in mind for other openings. With previous candidates already in your system, you can start creating a robust talent pipeline beyond that of (partially) rejected candidates. The bottom line is, it IS possible to create a talent pipeline while recruiting hard and fast for crucial positions, you just need to have the right processes and software in place.
Want for Better Management vs. No Training
Even the best leadership may come by the propensity naturally to lead their teams effectively, but they still need training to fine-tune their talent. A common concern among employees is their ability to work with their managers, clearly, as 50% of adults leave an organization simply to get away from their manager. Although it’s not always as simple as saying my boss was a bad manager, many times it’s a result of poor management.
Your team wants better management, but subsequently that means more training sessions for those in leadership positions. Although you may not have the means to acquiesce to the desires of company employees, you have ways around a budget to still train your managers. Monica Wofford, author of Make Difficult People Disappear and Contagious Leadership, suggests:
- Use webinars or online training - 25% of training hours were completed online last year
- Structured mentor programs - 66% of companies have some sort of structured mentor program
- Use in-house experts - If you mine your company, you’ll find a wealth of talent that can be shared with colleagues.
You have to prioritize organizational needs, so do you need a talent pipeline more than better management? Or does your team desperately need to develop their skills before you try to find more employees? It’s not your responsibility to make everyone happy - it is your duty to put the needs of the team as a whole as your priority, whatever that may be. Don’t fall prey to being just the middleman when employees can’t talk to their managers; your role in the organization is much bigger than that. It is a delicate balance of organizational needs, but when you find the center point, you can make strides to making the company a better place.
See how ClearCompany can help you balance organizational needs with our suite of workforce solutions to help you recruit, hire, manage and more.
As the head of a department in the midst of a sustained period of rapid growth, Sara has spent thousands of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.