Increasing Workplace Culture and Morale Isn’t HR’s Job

After companies conduct an Employee opinion survey, they are faced with the challenge of taking action to create real change. Where some organizations go wrong is holding HR accountable for changing culture and morale within the organization. That’s not to say HR does not play a role in the change process, but what exactly is this role, and what is your role as a leader?


It is unreasonable to hold HR accountable for taking the results of your last Employee Opinion Survey, interpreting these results, creating an EOS action plan and improving the culture, with only the “blessing” of the CEO and the senior management team. Changing the culture and creating a great workplace environment is the responsibility of every leader, and every employee. HR and the executives are there to help, but it is important to understand their role in the process.


Create Benchmarks


It is the job of the CEO and the HR team to provide a vehicle that will measure the culture of an organization. The CEO and VP or HR will approve the budget that will enable the company to administer an Employee Opinion Survey, Customer Satisfaction Survey, or a 360 Leadership Development Assessment.  All of these instruments provide a level of data that the majority of companies in this world don’t use. Why? It takes money, time and effort to administer a survey and take actions based on the results.  Most companies are too busy fighting today’s fire.  One exception to this rule is WD-40.  Garry Ridge, the CEO of WD-40 assembled a new team in 2003 called, “Tomorrow’s Team” under the direction of Executive VP Graham Milner.  The sole purpose of this team is to focus on creating an environment and products that will be the future of WD-40’s revenue streams.  The CEO can approve the final budgets.  The HR team can hire a consultant, help to design the survey, coordinate the administration and feedback of results.


Help Managers Facilitate Reporting Back Employee Opinion Survey Results and Creating an Action Plan


After a first survey, every manager and HR team member asks the same question, “how do we report back the results?”  HR representatives are the right people to assist managers who need help in presenting back their departmental data and helping the manager to facilitate an action plan that includes both management and employee actions.  A simple action for a manager might be to communicate the department strategic goals, and how the team is progressing towards those goals four times a year.  A simple action for employees could be to have each employee meet with the manager to clarify how their individual goals support the department goals and the overall goals of the organization.


Design a Performance Management System that Works


One fact remains fairly consistent; About 50 percent of employees and managers don’t like the performance management tools your company utilizes.  Thus, it is critical for HR to help develop a performance management tool that effectively appraises an employee’s performance, guides an employee’s future development and growth opportunities, and appropriately rewards the best employees when properly utilized. It is the job of HR to help develop a performance management system that works.


Be a Coach and Consultant to Leaders in the Organization


HR cannot do a manager’s job for them.  But, one of the HR team’s goals should be to act as a coach or consultant in building the capacity of the leadership team.  The stronger the skills of managers and supervisors, the lesser the need for HR to walk behind managers with a pooper scooper cleaning up HR mess.



Provide Leadership Skills Training


The only correlation that is uniquely consistent with all companies in the “Worst of the Worst” benchmark is poor supervisors. As a consulting firm, we know that the immediate supervisor plays a huge role in how an employee feels about their company.  What some don’t realize is just how significant of an impact one manager can have on the overall results of a company’s survey.  HR has the responsibility for ensuring that training opportunities are available for managers and supervisors to take their skills at achieving results and building relationships to an even higher level.



Help Share Managers and Leaders Who Don’t “Get It” With the Competition


There are some managers and supervisors who don’t enjoy leading people.  These managers and supervisors don’t enjoy communicating, don’t hold people accountable, are late on their performance appraisals (which lack thought and opportunities for employee development), don’t enjoy quickly solving problems, and fail to appreciate or recognize their people.  Work is a chore and employees are a commodity.  HR can play a huge role in working with the supervisors of these poor leadership performers. To help this leader’s manager coach, counsel, and train (and share this manager with a competitor if the first 3 don’t work) will make great strides in improving the culture of an organization.  We don’t advocate any manager losing their job over the results of one survey.  But, if this manager refuses to utilize the data from multiple surveys and refuses to make changes to improve quality, service or their relationship with employees, they need to go.  We promise, poor managers brighten up the whole company when they leave.


(2) Comments

  1. Article Entitled: Increasing Workplace Culture and Morale Isn’t HR’s Job.

    In the second paragraph of the article above you refer to “EOS action plan”. What does the acronym “EOS” stand for?

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