The onset of the covid-19 period, that is still ongoing has placed certain professions in the cross fire of what is morally, ethically and or professionally right. One of these is with the Human Resources Practitioners ( HRP) or Human Capital field, or we also call them Human Resources Business Partners.
When the pandemic hit the world, the initial thought pattern for many in the work force was that it was just a common flu and with time, it will go away. After all the common flu is about what, 5 to 7 days and worst case scenario is about 10 days. So this one was not taken as seriously as we now know we should have. However, as days went by it became clear that this thing is not going away.
The world started shutting down, from Europe, then Asia eventually the Americas, Africa was not really shut off as such but the effect was real. The economy begun to be negatively affected in a way that was not anticipated and or seen before. The tourism industry taking the biggest hit especially international and then shuuuush, the skies went quite. Huge companies within various industry players begun to lay off workers, shut down operations and eventually that was it – some even to date – they are just gone.
In view of the above, someone had to deliver the sad news and yes it is normally let to the staff the human resources department. Let me put a disclaimer here, ALL sectors of the economy were affected in the long run and hence the intensity of the decisions to be made regarding how to run certain businesses came into play.
For some, the HRP became instant enemies and heartless human beings overnight. In all honesty, for some of these people, the pandemic did not need to happen so as to demonstrate the wickedness and evil within ( no pun intended). But let us be honest, some of of these people are really nasty and we (they ) know ourselves. Even under normal situations, a call from the HR office would normally crystallize the negative vibe that may already have been brewing from a long time coming. So imagine if you already had bif with them before – I don’t envy you.
Even with the above notwithstanding, the HRP has to still be the ‘brave one ‘ and have the face of strength for the rest of the team. I belong to a professional HRP group and I can tell you for a fact we have issues from here to the end of the world – this is normally known as Timbuktu.
What makes employees think that HRP are cold hearted people who don’t care about the rest of the team? Has it occurred to them that the HRP is a human too, with feelings and emotions similar to what they are going through too? Do they know the tough corner the HRP is put to ensure they convey the message in the most reasonable and yet acceptable way possible? by the way, is there a good way to covey bad news? (if you find one, please let us know – as HRPs, this would really be cool). Bad news is bad news, however sugar coated it may be, it is still bad news.
I write this with full knowledge that the work place has been grossly affected by the pandemic and the HRP is normally given the mandate to communicate certain information to the rest of the team. Do staff know the kind of burden that the oath of confidentiality HRPs have had to bear even before the pandemic? With the new norm, it is even worse now that the current and persistent state has very little if any good news will be conveyed.
HRP are humans too, that that the H stands for in the HRP. Yes, they feel, the see, they touch, they taste, they hear things – both good and bad. They are also affected in the same way, just like any other human being in the work place. So when as an employee, you go bad mouthing and getting all melo-dramatic about your HRP in your organization remember, they too are humans. They have families to feed, people depend on them, personal projects that have not gone as planned due to the economic situation that every other employee is going through – it could even be worse.
My point being, try where possible to see what they are also going through. They know a lot of things that they cannot share with anyone, so mental stress is real for them. Have you ever wondered where they bounce off ideas of the psychological anguish they go through when they have to deliver not so good news? Or how they eventually get to sleep at night knowing the kind of news they have to deliver the next day? What about how they will get to sleep later that night knowing what they have been handling during the day?
So be nice to your HRP at your place of employment or even to any HRP you may know especially during this time. I would have said give them a hug or hi 5 just to show them, as an employee, I will not add to the issues that you too are facing, or better still, just do your best at the work place and your results shall speak for themselves. The situation is getting better and so they will get their grove back and smile back at you like they used to – yes the face masks will go away too 🙂 . Yes, they are working very hard to be strong for you and your fellow colleagues at the work place. The good thing about HRPs, despite all they go through it is not always only just a profession but also a calling – a vocation to serve people.
So whatever you do henceforth, look at HRPs in different light if you can, they are humans too. Or what do you think ?