by Paul Rudo on 10/10/12 at 7:32 pm
In theory, human resources departments in most companies exist to create a more productive and satisfying workplace experience, thereby creating a more successful environment for both employers and employees. As the positive effects of engaged employees for business have come to light in recent years, the importance of human resources has grown tremendously, and in many cases, so have the HR departments themselves. While it may seem logical to assume this has lead to a better, more communicative workplace environment, a recent survey by business improvement company Kenexa found that HR professionals at many companies are far less attuned to the thoughts and feelings of their employees than many would expect.
In the survey, Kenexa posed a number of questions regarding attitudes and engagement to both HR professionals and employees. “The results were disconcerting,” said Kenexa President of Compensation Lena Bottos. The survey found 69% of employers believe employees are engaged, while only 34% of employees make the same claim for themselves. When asked whether their organization offered fair benefits, 71% of HR professionals said yes, while only 48% of employees agreed. “Communication is key for employees to understand their benefits package and how much the organization spends on their benefits,” says Bottos, who studied and wrote on the results of the survey.
“Employees might only notice when they pay more out of pocket for benefits, when in reality both employees and employers are sharing a growing cost.”
While the disconnect continued on topics ranging to compensation to retention, perhaps the most telling results came from a question asking whether employees would recommend the organization to a friend. While 81% of HR professionals agreed that employees would recommend the company, only 38% claimed they would. For employers, this should be stark evidence of how detached employees many employees truly are with their work.“Bringing a friend into an organization that you aren’t fully engaged with might affect a personal relationship — a risk many aren’t willing to take,” says Bottos.
In order to streamline their human resource departments, many startup companies are proposing innovative answers to the human resources bloat.
Recently, former Google executive Adam Bosworth founded Keas, a site that utilizes the popularity of gaming to encourage nutrition and activity among employees. Once a company signs up for Keas’ 12-week program, workers are broken up into small teams, and compete to complete tasks, winning modest prizes along the way. The goal is to promote peer bonding, while at the same time championing wellness, and important factor for ensuring employee health and keeping long-term company costs down.
Another company, TribeHR, seeks to assist small companies in overhauling their entire HR department through a web-based package that allows HR departments to recruit, track potential hires, see a company calendar and monitor employee profiles. HR representatives who can efficiently find information on employee vacation days, goals, and hiring information can then use more of their time cultivating relationships and creating a healthy and productive workplace culture.
Over the years, the growth of human resources has gone a long way towards drawing company focus to the satisfaction of individual employees. Yet, it is important to remember that HR departments are not immune to their own perceptional flaws. Raising the efficiency of the necessary bureaucracy most HR departments must deal with, though, may allow for more opportunities to engage with employees and build the genuine relationships that promote effective workplace communication.
About The Author: Author Juliana Davies is an education blogger whose recent work includes a summary of where to find the top online MBA programs–and whose expertise in all things “business” makes her a natural source for HR advice.