What are HR up to now: HR from the employee viewpoint

This post will introduce a series of articles which will be published over the next few months that will explain some HR practices from the employee’s perspective so they understand what it means for them. I will be looking at things you may see happening in the workplace; things such as understanding your rights when it comes to disciplinary action; how to raise a grievance; how to deal with bullying but I will also look at recruitment, why employers/HR might want us to be motivated and engaged and what they might do to encourage this to happen.

Teaching HR the majority of my time is focused on what HR does, what it means for the business and for managers. In this series I will focus on taking the different areas of people management and explaining what this means for you as an employee; putting things into words that make sense to you. From my teaching I’ve discovered that students enjoy learning about what’s happening to them from an employee perspective, how they can manage situations and what their rights are. They see how these things are relevant to and have an impact on their lives, not simply their studies, learning to be managers of tomorrow.

I’m going to cover the full range of what we call the Employee Lifecycle, but over time, I will be covering the following:

The Employee Lifecycle (Topic Areas)

The employee lifecycle is basically a fancy term to explain everything that happens from the moment an organisation employs a new start, until the day they leave – and everything in between

Blue background of silouette mountains with woman jumping across the mountains
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Attracting and Employing new staff

This covers where companies will advertise; I will also look at how to apply – the difference between CVs and Application Forms and why companies might have preferences. We will then look at what happens to help you settle in to the organisation so you will hopefully stay.

Performance Management

Under this heading we will explore what happens during appraisals/performance reviews, any kind of objective/target setting and what’s going on when our managers set standards for us to work towards. Managers will also want to deal with any poor performance so we’ll explore that, but I’m also going to look at the reality of what happens when we have bad/poor managers and if its possible to manage our managers. Finally under this section, I’m going to look at policies around the issue of absence management – company policies etc that kick into place when we’re off sick.

Training and Development

Under this heading I’m going to look into the reasons why organisations train their staff and the different types of training and development approaches they may use. Coaching and mentoring are a big thing in organisations today, so we’ll dig into that too. I’ll look at how we make training work so that you, the employee get something personally out of it; there is a big debate about the shift in responsibility for training staff – that you should be responsible for your own training, so I’ll be looking at that.

Pay and Reward

Obviously we all have an interest in being paid; but how do we decide whether we’re well paid or feel under-valued and underpaid. These are the themes I’ll be including under this heading. I’ll look at how pay levels are set, discuss the concept of fair pay as well as looking at issues of pay gaps and pay discrimination. In addition, I will also look at reward management – what rewards (bonuses, extra holidays, gym membership etc) work and how HR would decide what to offer and what they’re trying to achieve through the offer of the rewards packages that they do. It should also give you a better understanding when looking at your own job or if you are looking for a new job, you will have a better understanding of what’s really being offered.

Employee Relations

This is the biggest area within HR and covers quite a broad range of different themes. Overall, the idea here is to create a good relationship of trust between employees and the organisation. I’ve already written about the concept of quiet quitting which reflects that the relationship isn’t so good – employees are feeling undervalued and unappreciated – so I will be exploring this much more. I will be looking at something called the psychological contract which is a representation of the expectations we have of each other – when our expectations are met we are happy at work, but it works both ways and our employers have their expectations of us too. So I will be exploring the dynamics in that relationship. Obviously there are factors which would reflect happiness and harmony in the workplace but there will also be others that explore conflict in the workplace – most obviously we’re seeing that with the growth in trade union membership and the tension that is being created between Trades Unions and Employers.

I will also take you through employment rights, policies and procedures around discipline, grievance, bullying and harassment, and so much more. I should say that I will be focused on the legal framework in the UK and I recognise that this will be different across other countries but it is a good starting point for a discussion for us as employees.

I love to hear about what happens in other countries; what the rights are elsewhere and I look forward to hearing from you via the comments section below. If you have any questions or suggestions for future topics, please leave a comment or send me an email.

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