One of my current clients is a non-profit, religious organization. They are thinking about making the transition from being a group of employees who consider themselves to be a "family" to an organization that recognizes that they are now big enough and sophisticated enough to - maybe - identify themselves as a business. With over forty full-time employees and a hundred plus part-timers in schools and religious education, I think it's time. This is a tough transition and I have participated in it with several organizations in the past.
When a company is small, and feels more like family, employees know each other fairly intimately. They are a small group who work closely together and sit closely together. So, issues like communication and the goals of coworkers rarely come into question. A particular camaraderie and trust develops and people help each other out.
As Organizations GrowThe goal, as the organization transforms itself for the good of its employees and members, is not to lose the good as you usher in the new. And, long term people who savored the "family" environment have a tough time transitioning to the new business environment, for all of the right reasons: desire to serve members, wanting to trust their coworkers, and the desire to keep the long term community they love. And, some wrong reasons exist such as fear of change and the unknown.
As I talked with employees this week, I found a few common threads in the discussion. One was the need for an HR manager or director to organize hiring employees, administer the offices, create consistent policies, and implement organization development initiatives and training. You know the drill, they want a person to do everything an HR Director does to add value in an organization including being a person to whom employees can bring concerns and woes.
Driving to lunch with a manager, I supported the employee view about the need for HR support. The response was interesting: "Do they 'really' want an HR Director? They should be careful what they wish for. After all, everybody hates HR." The comment reminded me that I had blogged an earlier article from Fast Company about why people hate HR. I've heard this view before, in fact, many times. Isn't this amazing? Why do you think so many people hate HR? (Please respond in "comments" below.)
Image © Nicholas Monu