Most companies have realized people are the most important asset. In essence, people are the competitive advantage of any company. Unfortunately, historically employees have been seen as a tool, no different then a machine or software. Few companies looked at employees as the reason the company survives. As competition has grown and the world had become smaller, companies have worked up to the value of employees. So much so that employee engagement is now a $1.5 Billion dollar business. The attempt to have employees love the company and thereby being more productive. Studies have show when employees are happy, they work harder and ultimately profits go up. So before you think that companies change of perspective on the value of employees is altruistic, realize it is business.
It will always be business with a company. A company is agnostic to the employee. The entity does not care about people, process, technology. The only thing the entity cares about is sustaining itself. Now the managers and leaders inside the entity known as a company can care about the employees. So it is important to keep the two separate. The company will never tell an employee to go home. In fact, it would want the employee to work as long as they can. Where the manager will not want the employee to work 24/7. It is just not healthy and is terrible for the coveted work-life balance.
The challenge managers have is only 32% of employees are engaged with the company. So they look for ways to increase that number. This is where Human Resources comes in. For fun, let me give a brief history of Human Resources as a corporate function.
- 1930’s – Personel administration
- 1940’s & 1950’s – Personnel
- Professionalizing HR Begins
- 1960’s & 1970’s – Employee Relations / Industrial Relations
- Professional Degrees
- 1980’s & 1990’s – Human Resources
- Generalists in the Field
- 2000’s and beyond – Talent Managers
- Specializing in different HR fields (total rewards, HR Business Partner, Talent Acquisition, Learning & Development, etc.)
Over the last 100 years, Human Resources has evolved. The funny thing is work has been going on since the creation of the world. The creator of the universe was the original HR manager. He laid out the guidelines for overseeing employees. So over the next few days I am going to use heavenly principles to show how HR should be done.
Unfortunately, HR is best known for policy and process. Even in this modern enlightened age of Human Resources, too many still feel they are the compliance police. “Thou shalt not do this” has been a consistent mantra over my 20 years in business. Imagine if Human Resources was something everyone did instead of a department in a company. Of course, Harvard Business Review made a case in the early 90’s to do away with HR. I am not proposing that at all. I think there is a value in having a function that manages the process called Human Resources. However, if everyone in the company worked according to the heavenly principles, HR would transform dramatically.
Why do we need HR at all? Because we have to work. Earlier this month, I had a post that went over work in the bible. Go to Post on Work for more information. For these next few days (I don’t know how many as I am trying to be Spirit led to write each day) I will focus on the different aspects of HR and show how we can be different. I am trying to focus on the employee, though I know there are some elements that are specifically for managers.
What we know is working is a gift from God. We are told in Ecclesiastes 3:13, “And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God.” So that is where we really need to start, whether in HR or as an employee. If HR would see that all of us are created in the image of God, therefore have value, I believe we would see a change in employee engagement. If employees recognized the value of working for something greater than a paycheck, they would see success beyond their imagination.
In Colossians 3:23-24, we are told, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.” This is the holy grail of employee engagement. Working for God would be truly joyful. We would be truly engaged and not have to worry about programs or processes or parties to make us feel good about a company. This is a transformative concept that too many people and companies do not even look at. I long to lead an HR team that can have a workforce with this kind of perspective. For we know in Proverbs 16:3, “Commit your work to the LORD, and then your plans will succeed.” Our careers will be successful. What an amazing thought!
Tomorrow, I will start exploring specific HR related topics.
What do you think? Any thoughts?