10 solutions for Human Resource departments to maintain employee satisfaction.

I have been reading lots of articles about how human resources people are having a real difficult time figuring out how to “keep good employees.”  Without having ever been a human resources manager, or employment professional, I can’t say I understand their issues.  I also have no clue how fortune 500 businesses do their meetings.  I’m pretty sure it’s mostly online though.  However, without this experience I can only give my experience as an employee, and of course I dont think all or any ideas of mine are new and genius, or that some companies dont implement their own strategies already.

1) Have upper managers visit low productivity offices more often.  I’ve had a few different jobs when I heard that the “CEO” was coming into town.  Nothing amped me up more than knowing that they were going to visit.  “Omg omg, the CEO’s coming, I get to see this person who’s the boss of my bosses bosses bosses bosses bosses boss!  Let me go clean my desk.”  Also when my last CEO visited my office, it seemed everyone really put their productivity into high gear.  Obviously this puts pressure on regular managers as well, but maybe they can just just make this a “fun trip” rather than something stressful.  Putting stress is bad sometimes.

2) Provide more ways for people to talk/chat/even gossip.  Maybe every business should have their own social network.  Now we don’t want every department sharing information with every department.  Of course the people who need to know something will know not to share.  Either way, there are probably lots of people with good ideas.  People like to talk and show how smart or great they are.  Give everyone a place to chat, and vent.  People will talk and gossip no matter what.  At least try to make it so that it can be productive…possibly…  As long as people don’t waste their time on it.

3) Give random projects:  Not something that puts pressure on them… Just something cool that will make them work.  Perhaps give the entire sales team a “free new product” and ask them to write a review on it.  I’m not sure how feasible this is, but I personally enjoyed reviewing the products.  This can’t be with pressure though.  Maybe the person who writes the best review gets to be featured, and could possibly have a chance of getting a bonus for the number of visits to the review online.

4) Give all the employees something random but useful or even not useful, that will make the person say “what the hell is this?  I have no use for this..  This company wasted money on this? Well maybe I’ll use it… Actually this isn’t that bad… It’s random, but I guess my companies kinda cool.”  Maybe a harmonica?  A squeeze ball?  The book “Everybody Poops.”  You know someone is going to talk about a random occurence like this on reddit, you might as well be the company that does it.  Good for marketing and just random surprises.

5) Make more effort to reach out to employees who are having difficulty.  This “could” be the regular managers job.  However, sometimes the manager just doesn’t have that “connection” with a certain employee.  It probably happens.  Maybe this could be a passive aggressive way of the manager saying they care.  Managers tell the human resources.  However, I feel the title “Human Resources” just gives a little extra dash of “I care” from the company. I’m sure human resources people have lots of other things to do than to call an employee who’s having a difficult time, like trying to prevent the company from being sued.  However, looking out for employees is the same as looking out for the company.

6) Give a suggested read for employees.  Sales team kind of slow?  Get them to read a book.  Human Resources having difficulty solving employee problems?  Suggest a book.  Nothing makes someone feel smarter and more intellectual than finishing a book.  Not only will they know more afterwards, but they will have an extra feeling of camaraderie afterwards with others who have read it.  Some of these suggestions may feel like highschool ideas, but it might work.  It shouldn’t slow productivity, and it may even increase productivity post read.  You could say people should be motivated to read on their own, but all salespeople know the power of suggestion.

7) Spend 2weeks-1month riding along or shadowing someone in every position.  Nothing trumps experience.  There are many things you will never understand until you get put in their shoes.  I could always talk about stocks, and worry about what happens to a stock, and try and predict the stocks actions.  But nothing is the same as taking a big chunk of your bank account and actually buying part of a company.  This isn’t only to see what the job is like, but when you hang out with someone for long enough, they’ll probably tell you a LOT of their troubles, and what they love or hate about the job.  Who knows maybe this is an opportunity for human resources to transition into other roles as well as backup.  There’s plenty of benefits for this.

8) Learn sales skills: Sales people know people.  They know how to see if someone is a potential buyer, or whether they should drop it and not waste time.  They are good at asking the right questions.  Human resources should maybe take a look at what the sales teams go through in terms of training to build upon their own.

9) Take into account Special Occasions: Let’s look at Human Resources people differently.  Let’s look at them as “salespeople” for the company for just a second.  They sell the company to employees to try and keep them there so the company doesn’t have to shell out thousands/hundreds of thousands of dollars to find a new employee and overcome this loss.

Nothing shows a “customer” you care more than actually doing it.  For example, in my past position, I would give cards only on occasions where an employee was having a child.  I didn’t give cards for every occasion because that was nearly 100 customers with nearly 12 employees per restaurant.  That would be 1200 birthday cards, + 800 anniversaries, + childs birthdays.  I gave cards only for the birth of a child, which was surprisingly often.  Maybe one every month.  Either way, the company doesn’t even need to give cards.  Just have human resources keep track and e-mail out a special letter on a birthday or something.  Of course this takes LOTS of work as the company needs a database.  But it takes baby steps.

Start now by having every employee enter their birthday into a group excel sheet.  Have the manager or some random employee put those in order, then have them mail it to one person to compile all of them, then get them all in order and send it to the resources manager.  This goes back to the social networking aspect of “facebook birthdays.”  A quick “happy birthday” comment could mean much more coming from the company.

10) Hire less from other departments for one more HR person or extra branches of HR: Maybe HR is bogged down about their job.  Maybe they need a human resources resource.  Without knowing anything about human resources, as an employee, I have no idea who they would go to.  I’m sure they have bosses, but I think HR people have a title that gives them that “aura” of helpfulness.

With all of this said, I know Human Resources are set in place to protect the company first and foremost.  They need to know laws, how to prevent harassment suits, how to handle employee injuries, health insurance, life insurance, 401k.  They have lots of responsibilities.  However, if the question is “employee satisfaction” here are just some thoughts…

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