Engagement is HR's after-sales service: Nosipho Damasane at HR Indaba

Nosipho says HR needs to be more directly engaged with employees post recruitment.

Nosipho Damasane says that HR has to be more conscious of its ‘after-sales service.’ Speaking at the inaugural HR Indaba, which was held at the Sandton Convention Centre on 3 October 2018, Nosipho said organisations had to shift from the approach of seeing HR as a function that is merely there to support the core business because the people are the ones that do the work thus are core to the business themselves. In the same way consumers use money to purchase goods and services, she said employees are the currency that organisations use to deliver those goods and services. 

 

Therefore, the traditional role of HR - where its primary functions are limited to recruitment, training, salary payments, employee relations, and labour law requirements – has evolved to one that requires ongoing engagement and involvement in the business. 

“What is the after sales service of the HR person? You are responsible for bringing people into the organisation and then, after that, you don’t engage with that person until there is a problem. You don’t speak to them until the time comes for performance reviews. You don’t monitor how they are adjusting to the culture or how they feel about the company the have joined,” said Nosipho, adding that failure to engage continuously with employees prevents organisations from identifying the things that cause unhappiness and disenchantment within the workforce, which ultimately results in reduced productivity. 

This is because the long-term impact of having unsatisfied employees is that their energy trickles down throughout the organisation until, eventually, it is transferred onto customers. 

Said Nosipho:

“When you buy a car, you want someone to call you afterwards to ask you ‘how does it feel? Are you happy with the way it drives? Do you know all the details around your maintenance plan.’ After three years, you have someone that calls again to say, ‘are you aware that you can get a great deal if you trade in you car for an upgrade at this point?’ But, in some of your companies, HR engages with candidates during the appointment process and then doesn’t hear from them again until they resign or there is a disciplinary issue."

“Research has shown that, in the US alone, the cost of disengagement is $300 billion per annum. It is a huge number but people are not alarmed by it because it is money that falls through the cracks of unhappiness.” 

Nosipho therefore encouraged delegates at the HR Indaba to go back to their organisations and engage with the people on the ground and drive their organisations to facilitate processes that encourage employee engagement. When employees complain and make suggestions on how things can be improved, she said it was crucial to provide feedback. Because, even if their wishes aren’t granted, it is important for employees to feel like their concerns are at least some receiving attention. 

“Do not incentivise people using money you are only. Because, if you do that, you are driving people to be motivated only by their salaries and not by the business’s purpose. Think about it this way, When they are at home, employees are treated like CEOs. They have a helper that cleans for them and brings them tea, and family that is excited to see them when they are there, but when you get to work, they are treated like a number. If you do that, you can’t expect them to deliver over and beyond the job description,” said Nosipho.