Leaders have asked me this question, “Are you pro company or pro employee?”
This is not a very good question to ask a Chief People Officer. The question reveals management’s love/hate relationship with employees.
My mindset is different – If you are pro employee, you are also pro company. I am for both.
A leader may ask, “But shouldn’t you side for the employer since you are part of the management team and have their best interests at heart?”
Well, no, not really.
The company’s best interest are served when I make an unbiased, fair and honest decision when employee relations issues arise. This is why most Chief People Officers are in a precarious position. Certain types of executives want to win every battle with employees. In the world of human resource management, when executives win it likely means the company will eventually lose. Winning a battle with employees may cause a company to ultimately lose the war on talent, productivity, customer service and increased profitability.
It’s not about winning or losing.
Employee relations issues should not be about winning or losing. During times of conflict or issues that need to be resolved, the focus should be in making an honest and fair decision while building trust with employees.
A human resource professional who is serious about their role as a strategic member of the leadership team must be willing to make unpopular decisions with employees and management. Making the right decision, regardless of direct pressure from either side, is our role.
So, back to the original question: Are you pro company or pro employee? Winning business people are both.