“WHAT HR NEEDS TODAY: A PERSONAL TOUCH”
One of the most trying times in a young person’s life is the experience of leaving home for the first time.
Moving to a new place, making friends, adapting to a new routine, and making financial ends meet are all
challenges young people face. There’s an entire network of resources to make this transition as easy as
possible. And it all starts with the Human Resources, who diligently anticipate new recruit’s needs, adding
value to the overall.
WHAT TODAY’S HR LACKS IN: THE CHALLENGES
1. Availability and Accountability. The stress factor is double-pronged: While HR may be a separate
department, it is hardly an island in corporate waters; all company personnel believe they should have
some representation through HR. HR should be at the beck and call of all employees. And if the HR
professional totally buys into the rescuer role, taking every personnel problem home at night…beware:
Burnout is less a sign of failure and more that you gave yourself away.
2. Objectivity. The challenge for an effective and widely accepted HR department is to maintain some
functional independence even when part of the management structure. The HR professional must be
somewhat detached from yet, also, be an objective and concerned advocate for both management and
employees to be a robust problem-solving (not just numbers crunching) force in the organization.
3. Multiple Roles. In light of his or her hub position, not surprisingly, the HR manager/professional often
plays many roles – from coach and counselor to cop and confessor. And, if that’s not enough, he or she
must be the organizational or interpersonal safety net or back up when there are breakdowns or problems
with: a) manager-supervisor-employee relations, b) reorganization change, such as a downsizing, c)
outdated or illegal policies, d) prejudicial procedures, etc.
4. Disgruntled Personnel. Clearly, as outlined above, there are HR demands and responsibilities
aplenty. The proverbial icing, of course, has to negotiate problems with people who have a grievance with
a supervisor, are upset about pay, performance evaluation or promotion (or termination) issues. Certainly,
it can be emotionally and professionally rewarding helping rectify a significant personnel problem. Still,
chronically providing service to angry customers can all to easily result in a case of "brain strain."
5. Transitional Glue. Especially in times of rapid or volatile change – mergers, downsizing or rapid
startup or growth – the HR Manager often becomes a company cheerleader (or that stress confessor). He
or she often must help folks sustain morale in the face of an uncertain and possibly vulnerable future. The
HR Manager may become the messenger helping employees and supervisors interpret reorganization
pronouncements from the management mountaintop.
6. Crisis Management. A potential danger in being the hub of the wheel believes you are the center of
your corporate solar system. All organizational life depends on your energy source. The HR Manager
must realize when certain crises are outside his or her sphere of productive "hands on" influence; one
must resist the "solo savior syndrome" role. When downsizing trauma started evoking racial tension and
7. Privacy Requirements. An ongoing challenge for the HR Professional interfacing with numerous
individuals, departments and senior managers is sharing critical information and upholding employees’
privacy rights. Another stressor recently came to my attention: an HR Manager unsure how to respond to
a supervisor’s breach of confidentiality. This supervisor unprofessionally (if not, illegally) shared with her
employees that a colleague was hospitalized for mental health reasons. Such a breach is like a virus that
can contaminate everyone’s operating system and sense of security. The HR Manager’s standing as a
leader is on the line, not just the supervisor’s.
8. Ever-changing Technology and Policy. Like other corporate entities, The HR Department must keep
up with new software and data processing systems. Increasingly, having an internal website for sharing
key information with employees is critical. And invariably, to get up and running technologically takes
longer than anticipated.
9. Training Demands. The HR Team cannot provide individual handholding with employees for all
personnel issues. Depending on company size, HR must have enough time and staff to provide
classroom orientation on HR-related matters. An HR manager often needs to delegate the training
function to a subordinate. A manager who cannot delegate is a manager who cannot survive. Individuals
must be encouraged to do reasonable data gathering or research or else HR will be enabling inefficient, if
not dysfunctional, dependence.
10. Office Space-Time. Finally, the HR Manager/Department must discover that elusive balance
between reasonable physical access and protected space for productive energy. A department without
some "closed door’ time and a closed meeting space for the HR team invites both productivity and morale
problems – from actual privacy violations to free-floating privacy anxieties amongst employees.
MORE TECH – LESS TOUCH
In the last few there has been heavy discussion on the issue of Technology and Personal Touch in the
workplace. No, this isn't about harassment - that's a separate topic. This is about how email, voice mail,
cell phones, Black-Berry's and other new technology keeps us from connecting in person with coworkers,
clients, customers, and the many others with whom we conduct our business.
How often have you played "email tag" - sending 1-line or 2-line emails back and forth to someone
when a telephone call or a visit to their office would have gleaned faster or better results?
Are you a self-described e-mail addict - checking your emails multiple times an hour to see what
surprises this magical service has in store for you?
Have you ever calculated how much time you spend communicating with people by reading and
receiving emails and by exchanging voice mails?
Are these wonderful technologies increasing or decreasing our productivity?
Is technology truly increasing interaction or just creating new distractions?
What do you think the true impact of this instant availability is on our employee productivity? What do we
lose by allowing ourselves a life of constant interruptions? Does the benefit of multi-tasking outweigh the
productivity factor of focused concentration?
I think it's time we stop to analyze the true effectiveness of our time management, our technology
management and its impact on our people management. While our tools and instruments offer us a
tremendous benefit, have you considered what they may also be costing us?
ONLINE APPLICATIONS REQUIRE FOLLOW-UP FOR A PERSONAL TOUCH
In addition to job boards, many companies are using their websites to post positions, and are
encouraging candidates to apply online. The process is streamlined; a few clicks, a cut, copy, and paste,
and you are a candidate. You get an automated response thanking you for your application and you start
counting the minutes until you get the call inviting you to interview. The only problem is that your well-
written and well-organized resume has had no human eye contact yet.
The volume of online applications is huge and has spawned many electronic applicant-tracking systems
to help staffing specialists keep up with the ''e-paperwork." These tracking systems allow human
resources professionals to perform key-word searches to identify specific expertise or the name of a
former employer. These searches can help some candidates rise to the top of the pile.
Adjusting expectations is one of the first mantras for any job candidate. Yes, technology moves some
things more quickly, but other things move more slowly because the volume of candidates who figure ''I
don't even need to pay for a stamp, so why not apply?" can clog the arteries of any system. The job-
search process is often one of your top priorities, but filling the position may fall somewhere further down
the list for human resources staff.
EMPLOYEE-BOSS BEST FRIENDS
When compared to time spent with relatives, children, customers, colleagues, or bosses, time spent with
friends is rated as being the most enjoyable, according to a recent study. On average, time spent with a
friend ranks even higher than time spent with your spouse. How could that be? The research on the same
was a bit logical. For example, if you were in the midst of rushing your daughter to school or changing
your son's dirty diaper, you might have been asked to report how happy you were at that moment. In
contrast, you might have been asked to recall a moment with a friend when you were relaxing or having a
Perhaps most concerning was the bottom of this "people we enjoy being with" list. Clients and customers
were third from the bottom; coworkers were second to last, followed by bosses, who were dead last.
Interacting with the boss was also rated, on average, as being less enjoyable than cleaning the house.
Undoubtedly, there are thousands of managers in the workplace who have no business bearing the
responsibility for developing other people. Most of us have had a boss like this at one point or another.
They make you miserable, less productive, and even diminish your physical health. But we have also
found thousands of exceptional managers who have the opposite effect, and they have something in
common: These great managers care about each of their employees as a real human being, not just a
means to an end.
Herein lies one of the secrets we have learned from top managers (and from great teachers, for that
matter): They get to know each person as an individual, and they tailor their management to each
We want and need managers who care about our lives
beyond the workplace. Gallup has asked more than
eight million people to respond to the statement "My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care
about me as a person" and has found that people who agree with this statement:
are more likely to stay with the organization
have more engaged customers
are more productive
If you're fortunate enough to have had a manager who treated you like a friend and cared about your
personal life, you probably understand the difference this type of genuine friendship can make. The best
managers in the world are not only experts in
systems, processes, and technical competencies --
they are experts in your life. And, because of this,
they increase your engagement and productivity at
All employees deserve a manager whom they can
truly call a friend, or at least a manager who cares
about their general well-being. The bottom line is
that we spend roughly 50% more time with our
customers, coworkers, and bosses than we do with our friends, significant others, children, and other
relatives combined. If you want to be happier and more engaged at work, consider developing a few
strong friendships at the office, maybe even one with your boss.
PERSONAL TOUCH LEADS TO HAPPINESS AT WORK
Whose job is it to make you happy at work? Your manager? Your co-workers? The company? Society?
Here’s the truth: The ultimate responsibility for your happiness at work can only lie with you, for three
Happiness at work is an emotion. It’s something totally inside of you. Only you can truly know whether
you’re happy at work. Only you know if things are fine, or if something needs to change.
Happiness at work is individual. Only you know what it takes to make you happy at work. Therefore you
are responsible for making sure you have what you need to be happy.
Making yourself happy at work can entail some tough choices. It may mean quitting and finding a new
job. It may mean unpleasant conflict, because not engaging in conflict would be even worse. It may mean
battling existing corporate culture and values. You are the only one who can make the decision of
whether or not to do these things. The choice and responsibility are yours.
THE MANAGER’S RESPONSIBILITY
We currently act as if people are not inherently motivated, rather that they go to work each day and wait
for someone else to light their fire. This belief is common among managers and employees alike. And this
belief is fundamentally wrong. We can’t go to work and expect others to light our fire. It just doesn’t work
that way. The fire is inside you—the only person who can light it or douse it is you!
Of course, your manager has a huge influence on your happiness at work, but the ultimate
responsibility is yours. Managers have three responsibilities when it comes to happiness at work. They
1. To make themselves happy.
2. To know and care about their people.
3. To create a mood where it’s easy for people to be happy.
As a manager, your most important responsibility is to make yourself happy at work. A happy leader is a
natural role model for their employees, and spreads a good mood by their very nature. An unhappy
leader, no matter how well-meaning, can’t reliably create that atmosphere of happiness that is necessary
to allow people to do their best work.
Secondly, managers must know and care about their people. You can’t lead people without a sincere
interest in them and some detailed knowledge about them. How happy are they at work right now? What
makes them happy or unhappy? What are their goals and dreams? Good managers know this about all
Finally, good managers use this knowledge to create an environment in which it’s easy to be happy.
Whether or not employees take this opportunity is up to them. You can’t force people to be happy,
Obviously some managers fail completely at this, and instead manage to create atmospheres of mistrust,
apathy, and desperation and cut-throat competition. These managers are failing in their responsibility to
happiness at work.
Other managers create a mood of happiness, positivists, openness and teamwork, and still find that some
employees remain unhappy. That is not the manager’s responsibility, and it never can be.
THE COMPANY’S RESPONSIBILITY
Top management’s responsibility is to enable managers to create an atmosphere where it’s easy to be
happy at work. No matter how well you do, you can’t force people to be happy—that is still their own
The company has a responsibility to prioritize, value and reward happiness at work. It’s no use for a
company to say, “We want people to be happy at work,” and then turn around and reward massive
overwork, ruthlessness and a traditional authoritarian management style.
You can forget lunch breaks. You can’t make money for a company while you’re eating lunch... if you
don’t put in the hours, someone just as smart and clever as you will. Fact of life: the strong survive.If you
ignore this you might just end up as roadkill—lying dead by the side of the corporate highway as others
drive right past you.
THE CO-WORKERS’ RESPONSIBILITY
You and your co-workers have a responsibility to work together to create an atmosphere in which it’s
easy to be happy at work. Whether people choose to be happy in that atmosphere is their own
As long as you sit on your butt waiting for your colleagues, manager and company to make you happy,
nothing will happen. Things will start to improve only when you choose to act.
The truth is that your options are almost endless—and most of them are pretty good. But it’s better to
start somewhere else, with something even simpler. Start by making yourself happy at work.
HOW HAPPY ARE YOU AT WORK?
When you consider everything that’s good or bad about your job and the people you work with, I’m betting
that you already know well enough which of these three categories you fall into:
Argh!—I hate my job and would rather walk a mile across burning coals than ever go into work again.
Meh! —My job is kinda OK. I can take it or leave it. Not too bad, not too good.
Yay! —I love my job. It’s so great, I would pay to work there. Please don’t tell them I said that last
Take a moment to rate your current job. Where are you at, right now?
In most workplace surveys, 10% say they hate their jobs and 10-20% love it. The rest, between 70 and
80% of employees, are somewhere in the middle. If you’re at Argh I can only advise you to do something
about it as soon as humanly possible. If you’re already at Yay you can still decide to make your job even
more enjoyable. Or, even better, choose to spread some of that work happiness to the other people at
work. Meh is dangerous because it’s comfortable. It’s easy to accept a nice, safe, slightly fun, slightly
boring, slightly unpleasant job situation. Don’t! I’m deadly serious here. Don’t accept it—push for Yay.
When you’re at Meh, you’re only a shadow of what you can be. You’re using only a small fraction of
yourself. You’re not infecting people around you with your energy and happiness. You’re not coming
home every day with the knowledge that “I rocked!”
Don’t settle for Meh, decide to get to Yay—then figure out what it takes to get there.
HR FOLKS: ENHANCE PERSONAL TOUCH
Here’s How –
1. Birthday / Anniversary cards for all family members
2. SODEXO Meal discount coupons / Big-Bazaar Gift Vouchers
3. Department / Division parties
4. Large scale integration meet with COO / CMD
5. Family visit to plants
6. Different kinds of contests for kids e.g. drawing, essay writing, quiz etc
7. Merit scholarship above 80% to the wards
8. Interest free loan for higher education for self and family
9. Spontaneous Gifts to innovators (value added work) on a day-to-day basis, e.g. movie passes
10. Tea / Coffee / Lunch / Dinner sessions with CMD
MR. HARI NAIR, a young Masters in Public, Personnel Management &
Industrial Relations from Osmania University, did his Graduation in
Commerce and has a Degree in Education Psychology & a Diploma in
Journalism. Currently he is at the helm of affairs at Sona Koyo Steering
Systems Ltd, Gurgaon as its Vice President – Human Resources, and can
be reached by e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
and on his Mobile No. +91-98-102-89047
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