People before process

This should be a core principle for any one in an HR role. Yet so often, the reality of HR work is process rather than people driven. Of course, procedure is important in order to promote consistency and fairness. However, we can end up immersed in the technical details of procedure and lose the human element.

Our first option should not be to reach for the handbook. It should be to reach out and connect at an individual level, having a proper human conversation. Taking time at an early stage to show our human side can prevent so many issues escalating in workplaces. We can only do this if we are prepared to listen and understand the context, explore options and challenge in the right way early on. A combination of strong challenge and strong support. It is in everyone’s interest to avoid issues escalating.

It is vitally important line managers feel confident and supported to have these human conversations too. So many HR professionals can become stuck in ‘process paralysis’. Often this is because organisations are so fearful of legal risk.

Let’s get back to simple, humanising conversations. Prioritising people over process builds trust and a positive culture.


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At Apex HR, we believe in challenging the status quo when it comes to people at work. Outdated HR thinking and methods just won’t cut it in a rapidly changing and dynamic world. It is time for a new approach.