Strategies to Develop a Transparent and Humanistic Human Resources Department

Posted By: Sandy Wiley Skinner AASPA Blog ,

For aspiring Human Resources (HR) professionals, I encourage you to continue to pursue your dream.  Being an HR administrator is a rewarding profession as it provides life changing opportunities for people.  You will afford employees the opportunity to realize their dreams, assist them in fulfilling long term goals, and in family planning.  

The fundamental work of the Human Resources Department does not compliment the culture and climate of school districts or educational institutions.  When I was a teacher, I would often wonder ‘why’…  Why did the HR department make certain decisions?  I’d often wondered why the HR department was distant and in some ways impersonal.  After becoming an HR professional, I’ve come to understand this is primarily due to the fact that most schools/educational institutions are based upon relationships and providing exceptions.  Fundamentally the work of the HR Department provides no exceptions.  This is the one office that must provide consistency, follow policies, and a clear understanding/processing of all related matters.

With this reality, it is imperative to find a balance between the work of the human resources department and the culture/climate of school districts.  From my work as an educator and human resources professional for 20+ years I have found these five (5) strategies have supported the development of a bridge. 

Over time, this blog will showcase those five (5) strategies that all newly and even seasoned HR professionals can utilize.  This blog will highlight the first strategy.

Strategy Number One:

Ensure you have processes for the different offerings, benefits, etc. that are clear and overly communicated

As a general rule, you can never communicate too much.  Consider it as equipping your staff with handling their own matters with your support. 

When you are newly hired, you will be able to identify a number of matters that would need to be addressed.   You would want to communicate with your immediate supervisor/superintendent.  Your research into the topic begins after you have permission to look into this.  Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Identify your district policy and practice regarding this topic.
  2. Determine if there are any preceding matters that would have established a precedence.
  3. Consider the employee groups that would be impacted by this. 
  4. Establish a small committee to support this work, involving the appropriate administrators. 
  5. Gather data from other districts to better understand their process.  (This may not be needed.)
  6. Meet with the committee and ensure your voice is minimal.  Hear them first, clarify their thoughts, repeat what they say and get further thoughts/suggestions from them.  You may have to meet with them multiple times, but be committed to this work.  It is imperative they see you as a partner with them, versus someone who does something to you.  Spend time building relationships with the committee, etc.
  7. When you have a plan of action, work to implement this.  Clear it at all levels and then communicate, communicate, and communicate.
  8. Ways of communicating include offering the changes in multiple communication channels, i.e. (flier, road shows, short video, create a handbook, etc.).
  9. Create a solid platform for communication, Google Drive, etc. with all of the information sent as an email.

Again, these tips will assist you in creating a more humanistic version of the human resources department.  Stay tuned, as step two (2) will be even more practical and take you a step further in your human resources career.