The department of human resources branches out across many areas of a business, from employee wellbeing to social media channels. Join Impact International, transformational leadership specialists, and take a look at how HR has advanced in modern companies in recent years.
Business culture and values
Prioritise business culture to make your workplace stand out from the crowd. Boost employee happiness, by focussing on business values and philosophies and don’t forget to apply them daily. Aspects such as productivity can be enhanced in a workspace where business culture is inclusive and supportive. Many managers are aware of the impacts of presenteeism, so training to identify the early signs of stress, and work-related depression is becoming more common. With a staggering half a million people in the UK said to experience some kind of work-related stress, business culture has become increasingly accountable for alleviating these worrying stats. To get the most out of each day’s work, your business culture should not mean having relentless employees who show up to work in ill-health or check emails late until the evening. Welfare matters should be covered by your policies to avoid these habits, and this also reflects kindly onto your company’s reputation. Business culture also covers areas such as:
- Flexible working hours
Many businesses have chosen to introduce a system of core hours (commonly referred to as flexi-time), which allows employees to have a bit more flexibility and work around their own preferences and commitments. For example, the early risers among us might prefer to clock in earlier and leave earlier, and wen implemented this approach can help to boost productivity. Whether it simply allows workers to arrive earlier and bypass the inevitable traffic jam that they’d usually encounter, or if it means being able to pick a child up from school after leaving the office, it could have a huge impact on employee welfare.
- Employee benefits
The leading smoothie retailer innocent drinks offers employees a whole host of welfare-supporting benefits including a free gym memberships and regular staff breakfasts. By providing such extras, they are advocating for employees to be mindful of their own welfare. Similarly, the activewear company Sweaty Betty encourage a good work-life balance through a series of initiatives, such as yoga classes to help staff combat their stresses through exercise.
What does ‘transparency’ mean in business, and how does HR go about making their respective workplaces more transparent? Human resources professionals should be working hard to promote a sense of openness amongst employees throughout the entire company. Those at the top tier of the business should interact with colleagues at all levels, regardless of authority, taking note of any feedback. This creates transparency by having an open dialogue, and human resources are key for making such arrangements happen. Informal catch-ups over coffee can be all it takes to open a conversation and they can trigger big strategy overhauls and simple changes alike. Another good step towards transparency is by keeping all kinds of news in circulation, be it good or bad. Employees like to feel connected, so set some time aside for a business-wide meeting or a collective email to share the highs and lows of the month. Many employers now opt for e-forums or digital apps in which HR departments can share updates, and regular staff meetings with a representative from each department can prove invaluable for voicing opinions and thoughts. Many of these elements can all become attributes of a community, and this is a desirable aspect in a modern workplace.
HR departments have often been caught up in controversial policies surrounding employee appearance and uniform matters. In March 2019, Virgin Airlines made the topical ruling that their air hostesses were no longer required to wear make-up, high heels and fitted skirts. The company has acted in defiance of rigid beauty standards which have long contributed to the ‘trolley dolly’ image, using human resources to redefine the perception of their brand as an up-to date, conscious company. Questions have always been rife about whether or not employees should be expected to adhere to dressing a certain way, and it has left many HR departments with the struggle of trying to equate for both sides of the argument. While uniforms convey professionalism, many companies have dropped the strictness from their policies and allowed for a more laid-back approach.
The modern workplace is constantly evolving to meet the needs of a diverse employee base, and Human Resources departments have a key responsibility in materialising these changes.