Let’s face it: “why can’t we all just get along” is a cliché that everyone is sick of. The catch? It’s built on truth—it’s tough to get along and collaborate consistently, especially in a business setting. Despite best intentions, teams can easily (and usually unintentionally) become their own isolated islands, avoiding contact with other departments. However, when teams do put in the effort to make inter-department collaboration work, impressive success company-wide is possible. Human Resources is the liaison between every department and individual, but even getting management and HR to work together can be a challenge. Priorities for each team are different, as are methods for achieving their desired results. Communication can easily become strained, causing even greater rifts and breaking down compromise. Building healthy relationships between management and HR is an extremely important growth factor in any business, and it’s a goal executives should have from day one. Here are just a few benefits of HR and management working together.
Better Hiring Decisions and Smoother Transitions for New Employees
HR can assist managers in the hiring process, doing preliminary screening that can weed out unsuitable candidates. This frees up extra time for managers to focus on their projects and existing team, only interviewing candidates who have the desired skills and background. HR can make the transition for new employees easier, working with each department to equip new employees with essential knowledge that will help them settle into their new roles more quickly.
Efficient Implementation of Policies
New procedures and goals come in from the top all the time, and it’s HR’s job to help implement these new strategies and policies. They can’t do it alone, however—they need buy-in from management in every department. By discussing these changes with managers, supervisors can more effectively explain the reasoning and new protocols to their respective teams.
Quick Response to Problems
The management team is on the front lines of day-to-day operations. They have the opportunity to identify problems and stressors quickly, allowing for quick action. While managers should be empowered to solve small conflicts on their own, they should also be able to call upon HR when more substantial mediation is required. Stress and conflict negatively impact productivity, but quick HR action can help mitigate these effects.
Open Communication Within the Company
The key to good relationships is transparency and good communication. Often, managers and HR don’t have open communication or adequate trust to work together effectively. The key to open communication is listening and making everyone within the company aware of new developments, and any information that is not required to be confidential. Building trust and communication are the cornerstones of respect, which will allow the departments to work together more effectively.
Employees who feel like their concerns are being addressed quickly by both their superiors and HR are more likely to feel like a valued part of the organization. This, in turn, helps to retain superior talent and keep morale high, reducing the amount of gossip and speculation while opening up the channels of communication within the company. Retaining talent is a big money-saver for businesses who want to stay lean, and it means fewer headaches for everyone involved with the hiring process.
Seeing Value Beyond ROI
Project managers and managers of permanent teams are often under a lot of pressure to make decisions solely on the data in front of them. HR is focused on the human element of business, and these priorities often clash. By working together, managers and HR can gain insights into these differing priorities, and help both quantifiable data and intangible factors like employee morale play a role in long-term goals.
Promoting Mutual Respect
Remember, at the end of the day, everyone has the same goal: a prosperous, growing business. Mutual respect between managers and HR is crucial for building a positive, collaborative relationship between departments. It’s easy for managers to be suspicious of HR for their role in disciplinary action, and it’s easy for HR to lose confidence in management’s ability to contend with workplace conflict appropriately. By emphasizing collaboration and mediation that works for both parties, many minor conflicts can be resolved without formal disciplinary action. Therefore, promoting an environment of growth, rather than punishment will empower managers to seek assistance from HR, rather than fearing unfair repercussions. No partnership is perfect, but a collaborative environment can help management and HR to work together seamlessly for ongoing benefit to the company.