CEO - Human Resource (HR) Relationship


Recently went to this CIPD event in Central London, where an HR Director from a UK Based Firm came and discussed this Issue on the factors that account to successful relationship between HRD and the CEO. A lot to Learn, Great Speaker and a very comprehensive event. And would like to share some of the things is learnt there. It’s very true with HR that its relationship with any part of the organisation is never simple. People in other departments tend to find it difficult about what value HR offers to the Organisation. To solve this dilemma having a successful relation is very important.

In this case we will only focus on how to improve and the things that make the relationship a successful one. the first thing is "Build a Stage", it involves letting the CEO know what you could offer or to be more precise what HR could do well in the company, areas in which HR could add value, the reason behind this is that most of the times there is a failure to recognise the value HR could offer, and doing this upfront can save valuable time for the HR people as later they can be more focused on actual job tasks then spending time on improving relations.

Now the million dollar question ... "How to Do it", the platform to do it is through Meeting with the CEO, whenever you get to see the CEO, Be open, talk about what HR dould offer in different scenarios, Come Up with Ideas and talk about them, motivation and showing the ability to contribute could be a vital success factor.

Now some of the skills that HRD might need in order to to establish long lasting relation. For me the top one is what motivates the Boss, What grabs his focus, if HR directors, could get hold of this, then it’s easy to establish a unity of direction, and CEO will be all ears to what you want ot say. Apart from this is the Communication, with this is the Timing and Medium of communication. Both could help in developing a close rapport with the bosses. As on part of the CEO, he might think that HR is very understanding. Further down the line and very important are the Analytical Skills, being able to analyse situations, thinking on it from different angles, being constructive, reflective, could very well gain respect from the CEO. Having analytical skills is not easy, for this HR should have more foundation skills relating to different functions of the Organisations, giving them a firm grip on what the business does, and then they are able to take into account the different angles and could be more analytical in their judgments.

Mediation Skills

Before going into further details on how mediation actually works, let’s find out what mediation is all about. Mediation in simple terms is a technique whereby workplace conflicts are resolved, that may be between individuals or groups and that is done by an independent impartial person, at the end of the day we all do it in our daily life, every now and then, and the ultimate objective is to restore and sustain the relationship. Let’s clarify what a mediator shall do and what things he should refrain from doing....

  • Mediator shall be someone seen as impartial and independent
  • no emotional attachments
  • Shall have some sought of experience on techniques that could make the matters easy
  • and ultimately sustain the relationship

Now the Don'ts

  • Should not counsel, but try to change the behaviours
  • shall not defend legal rights, as it might be seen as a bias
  • Shall not focus on the history of dispute, he should be forward looking, what done is History.

So as per any technique, mediation also involves certain skill set, normally he should

Listen: Key to Success of the process, Let the people say what they have do, LISTEN properly, try to pick up the causes, do not interrupt.... Be all Ears

Question: Calm the member of staff down, ask question but make sure do not offend in any way and let then Talk freely and LISTEN

Reframe: Now you have listened, reframe it, and check whether or not you have understood it properly

Build: try connecting the individual’s interest to the need of the workplace.

Respect: key to success of the mediation process, if you do not respect the person, you might not be able to achieve success in mediation, respect his dignity, issues,

Reflect: after listening, reflect, see your perceptions, analyse them through different angles, see their implications justify alternatives

Perception: it is the interpretation of the information by listening, talking, observing, and interaction, being a careful observer, and active listener can result in early perception of the problem and make it time saving and cost effective too.

With any conflict the earlier its recognised the easier it becomes to solve it, so who can we detect that a conflict might be taking shape, a few things might be change of behaviour, increase in absence level, or lack of attention at work. These are just a few examples. so what are the things that cause conflict at workplace, there can be loads but a few more common could be poor management, unfair treatment, lack of clarity in job roles, lack of availability of development opportunities, poor work environment, bullying and harrasment. All these mentioned causes of conflict emerge from strong influence of personalities, people are different and should be treated that way, if not management properly conflict would be hard to control.

Before going into the detail of how to mediate, its important to see what a mediator needs to do to be a good listener, as this is the most important trait for a mediator

  • Focused on the speaker
  • positive body language, showing he is all ears
  • concentrate on key words
  • write brief notes
  • ask questions
  • offer feedback

So what sort of questions shall be asked, as failure to question properly may send signals of biasness or lack of interest?

  • Avoid leading questions, unclear questions
  • Be Clear, don’t keep them guessing
  • ask both open and close ended questions
  • use response while posting questions, be reflective

So what should be done when a conflict surfaces at workplace, Mediation as a mean to solve conflict could be divided into two stages, the first informal stage and the second Formal-procedural stage.

During the informal stage it’s more about talking to the people involved, listeing to them, providing them time to express their opinion and concerns, the objective here is to clear the air, also at this stage the mediator investigates the situation informally by talking to people who may be able to provide some worthwhile input, like the supervisor. The next thing is focus on the outcomes, be clear, as mediator the responsibility is to find a reasonable outcome and see the wider interest than the individual interests. Moving onto the formal procedural stage, this is the step wise process of mediation. It’s not hard and fast and the method is flexible and can include more steps if needs, there are different models, one of them is described here for your information.

  • Talk to the Parties, and make sure you could bring both together, clarify your roles and an independent player.
  • Prepare for the meeting by creating a purposeful and relaxed environment
  • Set the focus, State the purpose and confidentiality of the process
  • Start with the first person, by askign him to describe his side of the story
  • Make it clear that second person will be given time and hsould not interupt. Questionning only at the end
  • Ask a second person to Summarize what they have heard, and ask the first person to correct any aspect.
  • Now both parties understand the position each other is on
  • The picture become clearer, a solution might be in front at this stage, but if their no is solution negotiate and try to reach to a conclusion.

These are a few of the steps of the formal mediation process, things could be added or deleted from it,