BIG small things in HR

Big Small Things in HR

By Umer Raza

Since i have worked in Human Resource Departments all my life, i have met a number of HR professionals as well throughout my career. One thing is common in all HR professionals (with different intensity) and that is, their discomfort with the top management. They are so obsessed in making some new techniques and processes work that they somehow forget their practicality in the business world and when their new BIG ideas do not work as they intended their discomfort ensues. New techniques to carry the performance appraisals, making job descriptions, job analysis, succession planning are just few areas where all HR people try their luck with new ideas while trying to customize the multinational models within Pakistan’s context. At the end of the day most if not all HR hold their head and say “why does not our CEO understand”, “why does not our management give us importance”, “why does not they let this new process work”.


On the one hand HR is the department that is supposed to control the turn over, on the other HR sees the most changes in their department heads over the years. There are very companies where HR department head has the longest stay in the organization. There are other department heads who are there since ages, they are performing, giving the management back what management needs and still when a new HR department head arrives He/she starts finding faults in those who are the main stay of the organization.


The next step HR takes is to start training the employees, giving them new buzz words of change, creativity, problem solving, team work and what not. The result after a couple of years – HR Head gets fed with all the department heads and top management and thinks that now there is nothing more that he can do here, so he should move on. Many HR people who i know have not stayed with one company for more than three years.


This is the result of every HR person, they stay with the organization for a short period of time and then search for a new position. It is because of the obsession of the HR people to get the big things done in the company……..while ignoring the small things. The big things are done any way. The big things are always been done. It is in fact the small things that matter.


Focus on the small things first. Remain available to the people in your company and take care of their smaller things such as leaves, release of salaries, advances, provident funds, insurances, families etc. Remind yourself that you are the management’s voice to the employees. If you like to use big fancy words such as bell cure, balance score cards, Hay system etc. use them, but not at the cost of your reach and availability to the people. Engage your people in activities and efforts that help them grow. Company cannot afford to send all employees on one day or two days of training. But you can always afford to get the time out and become a coach to the employees and become a growth partner of the employees. You can always use your good office to creatively engage the staff in processes where they not only do their routine work diligently but also include themselves in creative activities around the company.


Everyone needs respect and recognition. Find ways to give both to them. Simple examples of such respect and recognition is to help them come at the main stream of the organization. Let them contribute to the bulletin board (physical or virtual) of the company. Give them opportunity where they could share their best talent within the organization. Allow them to share their learning with rest of the company. Allow them to take home inspiration from the company, not only the stress and pay cheque.


Let me narrate only two such examples from my last company. I initiated the process of mid-week open house in the company. Every Wednesday at 530pm just half hour before the end of the day all staff had an open invitation to gather at the board room. All offices get hooked with the video conference facility. Each Wednesday any volunteer would share some learning in the form of a presentation. Mind you,…….. all have something to share, all have talent, all want to let others know that they are special and have something that other’s do not have. Most of the staff shared and employees and management started getting to know each other differently. This happened without any external trainer, without spending any money and this happened on a continuous basis and not for a single day’s FUN-DAY outdoor training.


Another thing that i did was sharing of motivational and learning material every weekend, by the name of weekend motivation. Every Friday i used to share a learning thing with all the staff of the company through email. That is one email going to all employees through my email. Gradually the interest in this weekend motivation concept increased so much that employees started sharing their weekend motivation as well with me. Since i had the privilege to share one email with all the employees across the country, i used to send their contribution with their name. Employees started to come closer to each other as any one sitting in once corner of the country had now the opportunity to know and to let others know that he/she has something important, creative and inspirational to share.


The result of the all such seemingly small things was that company’s employee turnover reduced to 20% in two years. These are just a couple of factors, small things with BIG impact. There can be many other small things that you can do with your employees. When you start doing these small things, you will see that they will lead to the big things too. As those who get engaged get the things done. This is what engagement of employees demand. So stop worrying about the big things (they will happen anyway) and start doing the small things (that only you can do).




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