Human resources can be a confusing place to work, particularly if you are trying to make things happen within your organization. On the one hand, you are the employee advocate. Employees need to know you and trust that you will help them through issues, obstacles or problems when they happen. In addition, you are an advisor to the management in regards to their employees: who to hire, how to fire, and what to do in between. In both of these relationships, it’s either implied or explicit that you be liked by both of these groups of people. After all, who wants to work with someone they don’t like or trust?
HR Change Agents Beware
But, as HR professionals, we are being increasingly called to step up to standards like being more strategic and proactive. We are called to be change agents within our organization. If managers suck, we are expected to change how they manage. If our pay system is out of whack, we are expected to bring it back in line. If the company needs to cut labor expenses, we get to figure out how. All important work that we enjoy doing. But, there’s one problem. People hate change. And, through association, they aren’t too fond of the change agent either.
So, here’s the question: can you be well-liked AND be an effective change agent at the same time? If so, how?