If HR wants to be a ‘Strategic Partner‘ should it shy away from the employee advocate role?
Since business mindset is focused on survival, winning the competition and improved bottom line, these, in some extent, may seem prejudicial to the interest of employees.
Is there a conflict of interest if HR decides to become an employee advocate?
The employee advocate role is noble and every HR professional should aspire, but at the end of the day, it is still the interests of management that HR will protect. Regardless of what HR thinks is right or humane.
Is balance possible?
Employee advocates listen and respond to employees and find the right balance between demands on employees and resources available to employees. They promote employee contribution.
Deliverable/Outcome : increasing employee commitment and capability.
The blend between strategic and functional day-to-day work of HR is one of the emerging themes in ‘Human Resource Advocates.’
The employee advocate role for HR professionals encompasses their involvement in the day- to-day problems, concerns and needs of employees. The main activities for the management of employee contribution are listening, responding, and finding ways to provide employees with resources that meet their changing demands. As higher and higher demands are placed on employees, HR professionals and line managers who serve as employee advocates creatively seek and implement the means for employees to voice opinions and feel ownership in the business; they help to maintain the healthy “psychological contract” between the employees and the company, and they give employees new tools with which to meet ever higher expectations.
As an employee advocate, the HR professional plays an integral role in organizational success via his knowledge about and advocacy of people. This advocacy includes expertise in how to create a work environment in which people will choose to be motivated, contributing, and happy.
Fostering effective methods of goal setting, communication and empowerment through responsibility, builds employee ownership of the organization. The HR professional helps establish the organizational culture and climate in which people have the competency, concern and commitment to serve customers well.
In this role, the HR professional provides employee development opportunities, employee assistance programs, gain sharing and profit-sharing strategies, organization development interventions, due process approaches to problem solving and regularly scheduled communication opportunities.
The tasks of developing the Employee Advocate role in HRM Function include:
In today’s organizations, to guarantee their viability and ability to contribute, HR managers need to think of themselves as strategic partners. In this role, the HR person contributes to the development of and the accomplishment of the organization – wide business plan and objectives. In order to perform this role HR professionals should have:
This is more than a 'welfare' role--it is making sure that HR have the exposure and credibility, with both employees and managers, to play an effective part in maintaining good employee relations. HR can be in a difficult situation, on the one hand representing the views of employees to management and, on the other hand, representing the views of management to employees. To walk this tightrope successfully, they need to gain the trust of both employees and managers.
The role of HR Employee Advocate is a long-term role for the HRM Function and it cannot be built in a short time, as the trust of employees as well as the management has to be reached.
"Employee advocacy is not merely window-dressing," writes David Ulrich & Wayne Brock bank. "It contributes to building the human infrastructure from which everything else in the organisation flows."