Do you trust HR?
I heard a story yesterday that once again brought this question to mind.
A friend told me of someone who had recently been assigned an "executive coach." Apparently, there were some performance areas in need of improvement.
The coach collected 360° feedback data from over 30 people. The process took a few weeks.
The executive and the coach scheduled a meeting to discuss the data and to formulate a coaching plan.
The executive showed up for the meeting.
Instead of finding the coach, an HR person was there.
The HR person informed the executive that s/he was being immediately terminated.
I don't know any other particulars.
My question is: What do you suppose happens the next time someone in this organization is offered an executive coach?
I'm certainly in no position to judge this incident. Who knows what happened.
But I do know that HR is the organizational function that is responsible for attracting, engaging, energizing and retaining talented people. HR professionals are an organization's experts in the complexities of personal and interpersonal dynamics.
And, in today's deeply interconnected workplace, those dynamics almost always rest on a foundation of trust. Study after study finds that workplaces characterized by high trust deliver significantly greater levels of innovation.
A day doesn't pass that we don't hear about the importance of trying new things, risking failure, learning from failure and moving on.
All of which require a lot of trust.
To my way of thinking, one of HR's greatest contributions to an organization's success is the degree to which HR experts help develop a culture of trust.
But, when I hear stories like the one I heard yesterday, I wonder if HR, as a discipline, is up to the task.
How about you?
Do you trust HR? Do people in your company trust HR? What are HR professionals in your company doing to enable trusting cultures?