The idea that employee experience is HR's job is one of the most ridiculous ideas however, HR can ruin it quickly if they don't work together with managers and leaders.
I find it rather peculiar that HR hosts conferences to talk about people when managers and leaders are in charge of those people. They discuss culture when it is the managers and leaders who create those cultures. Wouldn't it make sense if leaders and managers who are in charge of their teams spoke about employee experiences?
HR is a department like any other, and they are only in charge of HR nothing else. They are not in charge of people in other departments.
My experience as an employee comes from the immediate people I work with (team members), my direct line managers, and my direct leader (Department Head).
The idea that my experience is HR's job comes from the belief that HR is in charge of people. HR is in charge of nobody apart from the people in HR. They are in charge of people-related processes that may negatively impact employee experience if not executed well or are too rigid. The execution of those policies is in the hands of managers and leaders.
It is time that we reject the idea that HR is in charge of people and give back employee experience to be handled by managers and leaders.
As a manager and leader, my team is my responsibility, therefore, their experiences are my responsibility but I can only take responsibility for something if I have full control over it. Otherwise, the blame game will kick off.
I, as a leader or manager, must make sure that they are motivated, engaged, and productive, know their goals, and their contribution, and have a great team atmosphere. I, as a leader or a manager, must have the freedom to decide how to shape their experiences so if one of them wants flexible work HR will not come with their rigid policy saying "No you cannot do it, because Susan from another department is not doing it for her people." I must have the freedom to reward my people for high performance the way I want and what they need even if that means giving five days extra paid holiday instead of a paper certificate.
I must have the freedom to decide that within my department we work four days a week because this will get the job done and that's what my people want without HR showing up to say "No this is not company policy".
That way managers and leaders can be made accountable for employee engagement survey results as engagement is really in the interactions between them and the employees.
Unfortunately what is happening is managers and leaders blame HR and HR blames them when things go wrong. Managers say. "yes but HR doesn't allow me to ......" and HR says," They are your people you need to manage them."
Too many cooks if you ask me.
Can we stop HR from clinging to this belief that they are in charge of people?
Leaders and managers are in charge of the people and HR's role is to guide and support managers and leaders in this process and not to tell them what to do. HR's role is to create flexible policies & processes that managers and leaders can use as tools to manage their employees' experiences and not to restrict them.
HR's role is to develop leaders and managers and enable them to create better employee experiences instead of handing out ice creams.
It is time that we made it clear that employees' experiences are the responsibility of managers and leaders and not HR. It is time that we made it clear to HR that their job is to work together with those leaders and managers allowing them to fulfil their responsibilities.
I never wanted Peter from HR to come to tell me how to engage my people but I always needed his help in learning about labour law and the potential risks of my decisions. As a leader, that's all I need Peter from HR for. Nothing else.
HR makes themselves more important than they are by trying to take employee experiences away from managers and leaders. It is not yours lovelies.