The Employers' Association

The Employers’ Association (TEA) is a not-for-profit employers’ association, formed in 1939, with offices in Grand Rapids serving the West Michigan employer community. We help more than 600 member companies maximize employee productivity and minimize employer liability through human resources and management advice, training, survey data, and consulting services.

TEA is in the business of helping people. This blog is intended to address human issues, concerns and the things that impact people - be they self-perpetuated or externally imposed. Feel free to respond to the thoughts presented here, for without each other, we are nothing!

Friday, October 7, 2011


Human Resources MAY once have been a field where individuals having a true love for people could serve their organizations well by acting as an advocate for employees and a conduit in expressing Management’s expectations. Having been “seasoned” by nearly 30 years of experience, I would suggest a “people person” stay as far from this critically strategic role as possible! The role of HR Professional has become much more than making and keeping people happy (if ever it truly were that simple!). A strategic HR Professional makes decisions requiring logical consistency and a reasonable sense of right and wrong – made to minimize risk as an organization moves towards the accomplishment of its goals and objectives rather than out of a concern for acceptance.

Today’s HR Professional must become an integral part of his or her organization.

• We should not limit our impact to finding and hiring people to fill available openings – it must be expanded to identifying and cultivating a talent pool that will be ready when needed (which assumes an intimate knowledge of operations and company direction to know who will be needed and when they will be required).
• We should not simply track turnover – we should analyze trends, anticipate turnover and act to avoid it before it becomes a factor.
• We should not become the “police” in regards to issuing discipline for rules infractions or safety violations – we must be the developer of practical policies that can be “owned” and enforced by managers recognizing their value in maintaining sound operations.
• People simply WANTING to make a difference often avoid “correcting the boss or Owner” for fear of reprisal. Professionals truly MAKING a difference will not compromise their integrity or values by treating individuals differently – regardless of the position held within the Organization.

Though HR is intended to be the lifeline between employee and employer – the advocate that insures employees are treated with respect – an HR Professional must also advance and defend those things that are best for the business REGARDLESS of how fair (or unfair) they may seem to employees. The Human Resource profession, having emerged from the shadows of “personnel management,” serves as a vital watchdog for business AS WELL AS an essential advocate for employees. People accepting this critical role must be consistent in their actions (and unafraid to act) as they anticipate obstacles that might detour success while minimizing risk by insuring compliance with a plethora of employment-related legislation and ever-increasing regulatory activities. HR is not for the weak of heart – or for the “lover of people” anymore (if it ever were).

We all share space within the HR Universe – yet assume vastly different roles. Are you more of a “doer” (focused upon the road you must travel) or a “dreamer” (focused more on where you are going than how you will get there)? How has your world changed during the past several years? Have you embraced the opportunities change has presented or fought to minimize the disruptions? Your honest answers define the role you will play as your organization moves into the future!