Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Hitch in the Hierarchy: Bridging Manager/Employee Relationships

Back in 2014, I conducted a training for the Northern California Human Resource Association entitled: Our Three Audiences

The goal was to workshop the avenues in which Human Resources is the one true conduit to all organizational functions: Employees, Managers & Executives.

We continue to use buzz words to evolve the HR profession, but our most important function still focuses on bridging workforce gaps.

The New Rules of Engagement were conceptualized 6 years ago yet they remain relevant. To paraphrase the first New Rule of Engagement:

People Don't Leave Companies, They Leave Managers

Just last week in a session I conducted at HR West, this topic resurfaced to guide an impassioned debate.

There are 3 pillars in the Manager/Employee relationship that still demand our attention:
1. Managers have to embrace team strategy & individual development separately
2. Silos have to be destroyed
3. HR has to be a safe space

A Cup of Coffee and a Napkin 
One to one strategy is as important as overall team strategy (which creates twice the amount of work for managers). We tend to blame managers for poor employee relationships while demanding 10x from them as we do their direct reports.

The problem is that one-to-one time between managers and employees is usually spent crunching numbers and discussing expectations; said meetings seldom end with a smile and a pat on the back.

We revisit the SCARF methodology. Employees are individually motivated in one of 5 ways:
Status - I want to climb the ladder
Certainty - If I'm succeeding, recognize me! If I'm failing, help!
Autonomy - Leave me alone
Relatedness - I want to party with my Co-Workers
Fairness - I need to be reassured that the playing field is level

SCARF has been dismissed as a buzz word. This is because organizations over-emphasize it's important to performance management.

All it takes is a 10 minutes meeting for a manager to have his/her employee stack rank the five motivational objectives above from most to least important. This will give a manager a guiding light as to how to motivate individual performance.

An Exit Interview as an Introduction
People don't leave managers... they leave micro-managers.... who prohibit people from reaching beyond their silo to seek holistic motivation.

A managers primary objective should be to get every one of their employees promoted!

3 things happen when managers embrace Servant Leadership:
1. Employees find people in the organization who possess leadership skills that their manager doesn't
2. The manager is not stressed to fill time adapting outside of their skill set
3. Everybody wins

Managers who seek to keep their employees under their thumb hinder everyones opportunity for success!


Do Something About It!
HR Professionals need to be dangerously honest when reflecting upon the past:

If an employee complains about a manager:
- Do you use this as a format for dialogue?
- .... A means to red flag an employee?
- .... An alert to protect said manager?

Two of the three above options defeat the purpose of being a Human Resource and have been the grounds workplace abuse for years.

At the very least, an employee should never feel that going to HR means the end of their tenure at your company.

Reality check: this stigma still exists!     

In simple terms: HR's commitment to organizational advancement (or at least survival) starts with:
  • Providing Managers a format for relationship building
  • Advocating open dialogue

All You Need Is Love:
~ Be Proactive 
~ Gain Trust
~ Bridge The Gap

Don't Forget to Remember!


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