Are employees really at the heart of the business?

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This weeks’ HR Hour on Twitter was certainly an interesting one!

The first question this week was “we often hear ‘people are our most important asset’ and similar statements. But is that essence really true in todays workplace?”. As you can imagine, this caused quite a discussion.

People should be the most important asset but it often gets forgotten, it is usually centred around the objectives/results with little regard on how they are achieved. A lot of people agreed with this, but the general consensus was that we generally need to be better with people related stuff.

@CIProjectsUK said “Organisations that live & breathe this ethos are the ones striving in today’s world – it’s all about people! You can launch whatever marketing campaign, implement whatever “efficient” process or introduce a shiny system – but without happy & valued people you have nothing”.

It is easy to state that employees are a company’s greatest asset but we have all witnessed, and continue to witness companies that claim to have their people at the heart of their business, but in reality do not actually treat their employees well. To actually practice what you preach, is easier said than done.

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February’s recommended read: Legacy by James Kerr

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After an incredible start to this years’ Six Nations this weekend, I thought that this month’s read was incredibly apt, given that it is all about what the New Zealand All Blacks team can teach us about leadership and sustaining success.

This unique and inspiring book was recommended to me at the CIPD MAP conference last year by Matthew Crawford who spoke at the conference about the future of work from an educational (and children’s!) perspective.

This book will suit everyone, for those looking for a “how to” approach, techniques for professional standards, and practical lessons for effective leadership. It also encourages the development of leadership qualities such as accountability and ownership.

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Appraisals, the dinosaur framework of performance reviews

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For too long HR and Management have relied on the good old framework known as the annual appraisal; a tool that was designed for good by our HR ancestors but is being  likened to household chores, unfulfilling, stressful and not fit for purpose.

I got rid of them completely in a previous role, I found them too rigid, impersonal and artificial. I simply used check in meetings with my team to create an open and ongoing dialogue. There’s absolutely no point waiting all year for my team to tell me that they needed support, the moment has gone by then and demotivation sets in quickly!

This week’s HR Hour widely debated if there is a place in the current world of work; most participants said absolutely not.

In some cases it seems that it is a framework which is highly misunderstood and is used as a tick box exercise, form is completed, sent back to HR and nothing of value is done with it. I maintain that a tool like this can only be beneficial if it is clearly defined and that managers have a thorough understanding on how it should be used, without this, you might as well forget it. It can also be used as an opportunity not to have regular communication with employees, using it as something to hide behind “save it for your appraisal” is a phrase we’ve all overheard in our HR careers.

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What a true HR leader looks like, according to HR

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After another fantastic HR Hour on Twitter this week, we explored what qualities we would look for in a HR leader.

As you can imagine, this really generated a constructive conversation and it appears that many HR professionals like to see the same qualities in a leader, albeit in different ways. In this post I’ve picked some of my favourite tweets from the evening, so a huge thank you to the contributors who made the session so informative, we learn something new every week!

Having been fortunate throughout my career, I have worked with a couple of inspirational and positive HR leaders, but many involved in this week’s HR hour were convinced that a HR leader honing these desirable qualities is hard to find.

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Managers wellbeing; the way we are working now is simply not working

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A recent report produced by the Chartered Institute of Managers (CIM) has revealed that managers are working an extra 44 days per year above their contracted hours. This is leading us towards a concerning management crisis.

In days where it is the normal expectation to never be “off duty” managers have a tendency to work unpaid overtime, and with continued advances in technological ways of communicating, there is an increasing culture of always being available. The report highlights that 59 per cent of managers admitted they check their emails outside working hours. The increased presenteeism combined with technology is having a detrimental impact upon managers’ health and wellbeing.

In short; the way we are working now, is simply not working at all.

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