The importance of HR in building an effective workplace culture

Guest post by Kelly Tucker, Director of HR Star

Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that, on average, people in the UK spend 31 hours a week in work (33 if you work in London).

On top of that, research has also shown that around a quarter of people leave their job because they feel ‘burnt out’.

With so much of our time, and indeed lives, spent in work, it’s unsurprising that so many people are left feeling on edge due to work pressures.

For many people, this pressure can often come from a lack of understanding of what is expected of them – surely the fundamental foundation of any role?


Effective people management improves engagement

Managing a business is one thing, but managing the people in your business is another – it’s important to work with your employees. Effective people management increases staff engagement, and thereby, a person’s fulfilment in the office and, more importantly, their role within it.

Research has shown that a good workplace culture can increase staff motivation, engagement and ultimately, profitability for a business.

Whether you are looking to improve or take the first steps towards creating such a culture, by listening to your staff and taking their comments and opinions on board you can work together to develop something that works, on balance, for everyone.

This is where the role of HR comes in.


Traditional views of HR are being challenged – and engagement is key

Traditionally, views of Human Resources have been of a straight-laced, rigid and box ticking exercise required to help employers cover themselves against claims from disgruntled employees, but with people now taking more control over their own welfare, HR can, and is, doing so much more than that.

In my experience, staff engagement is at the heart of running a successful business. After all, happy staff equals productive staff so why would you not want this to be the foundation your business is built upon?

By truly understanding yourself as an employer, your business values, your employees and what drives you all, employers can engage and develop their staff by identifying a common goal. This then benefits everyone involved.

Staff feel motivated and eager to come to work, generating positive outcomes for you and your business.

Of course, as well as the knowledge of what they are working towards, employees also want to know and feel they are valued. They should feel empowered to take ownership of their role and have access to the tools to enable them to do so effectively – this includes the respect and support of their manager and co-workers.


People want to feel they make a difference – so listen and make sure you share values

In carrying out their role, people want to know they are making a difference. What could be more motivating that knowing what you do on a daily basis is helping to drive forward the business as a whole?

This is why, then, it is so important to develop a workplace culture that holds the interest of your employees at its core. They, after all, are key to fulfilling the interests of your business.

When was the last time you spoke to your employees and found out what’s important to them? You may think your business goals are the priority, but if your staff do not share your values, how well are you truly achieving them?

So, listen to the people around you. What do they think is missing; what’s being done well; what can be improved? By listening to them, you can make improvements and develop a culture from within, ensuring an effective outcome for all.


There is still a place for ‘Traditional’ HR

However, while it’s important to embrace this sense of ‘new HR’, it’s important not to cast aside those more traditional HR processes.

When creating core company values, performance management, appraisals and 1-2-1s naturally become a more proactive and relevant exercise that is driven by the employee rather than the employer.

Staff are recruited based on the values, trained using the values and measured against the values. This way everyone is truly working towards the same goal and are proactively engaged in the business and their own development.

In the modern workplace, HR has often been sidelined but it pays to take an interest in your employees, not only for them but for yourself as an employer as well.

Everyone is, after all, working towards the same goal so you should all feel happy doing it.


About the author

Director Kelly Tucker set up HR Star in February 2015 after over a decade in the industry, with the aim of offering a friendly, helpful and professional service.

HR Star is a Cheltenham-based consultancy, working with businesses who need help with either a HR project or ongoing HR advice, through face to face meetings, telephone and email support.


Author: Editor

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