The HR team should be knowledgeable, accessible and above all attuned to the employees. You have to be visible, and honest, share your knowledge, and serve as a resource for everyone. But how do you do that on a day-to-day basis?
Check in with employees. It doesn’t have to be a calendar meeting. You can walk past their desk and ask how things are going, send an e-mail letting them know that their hard work isn’t unnoticed, and just saying good morning with a smile when you see them by the water cooler.
Check in with managers. This should probably be a calendar meeting. Sit down and get their gauge on the team- who is happy, who is not. Who is under-performing, who should get a raise. What do THEY need to make the team more effective. It helps you keep the finger on the pulse. It also helps you stay visible and just as importantly, helps you with workforce planning.
Demonstrate your knowledge in a way that matters. You know a lot about topics that matter and that impact each an every employee (and their family members). FSA, Health Insurance, 401k (and the list goes on and on). Offer information sessions on the various topics that impact employees’ lives. Make those sessions available (deck and recording) so that everyone can review at the time that is right for them, and leave plenty of time for questions.
A Manager forum is another easy to implement tool to keep your finger on the pulse. Encouraging an open discussion among all people managers in the organization, helps build camaraderie and share ideas. Each session should have a topic, and a few pre-determined guiding questions, let the managers take the conversation in a direction that is suitable, observe, answer, and take notes. Ask managers for input on topics they’d like to discuss.
What if you don’t have an HR team?
Leverage your managers and team leaders. Empower them to act as your eyes and ears, and make sure that you do more than smile and nod. Ask them to regularly update you on the team’s status, discussing specific employees, and using that intel to facilitate an open conversation with employees when appropriate. You should also leverage your vendors for information sessions. Ask your healthcare broker, and your 401k plan administrator to do information sessions.
Doing all this shows that the company cares and often helps detect systematic problems early on. It also selfishly helps with workforce planning, employee retention and keeps employee moral high.