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Psychology will be fundamental to HR relationship building

Shandel McAuliffe, Head of Content - Cezanne HR

Survey results show link between HR DEI efforts and HR/employee relationships.  58% of people agree that their HR team champions DEI, evidencing strong HR leadership in this area. This 58% also indicated better performance for HR when asked if they trusted their HR team more or less than before COVID-19, and they perceived less favouritism by HR towards senior or junior staff in the business.

While most HR professionals and organisation leaders are now well versed in the business benefits of DEI, they may not realise its ripple effects.

58% is a good result for HR in terms of championing DEI, but it still leaves 30% of survey respondents who didn’t know if their HR team champions DEI, and 12% who said their HR team didn’t.

DEI should be a natural fit for HR as they influence, shape and roll out people strategies; if other areas of the business are looking after DEI, it’s crucial they align and work alongside HR. If no one has taken responsibility for DEI within an organisation, HR should take the reins so their organisation isn’t left behind. And HR should make sure good DEI practices reach all levels of the organisation – for example, more DEI at board level can equate to more support from the board because they are personally invested.

For Cezanne HR’s new report, The Psychology of HR Relationship Building: Trust, visibility, and respect, 1,000 people across the UK and Ireland were asked about different factors that might influence HR’s relationships with the workforce. DEI is an important focus for organisations worldwide, so the survey sought to understand if HR is leading on DEI, and how those that are doing well were perceived in other relationship-building areas.

The last 18 or so months have seen HR grapple with COVID-19 and what that means for their workforce, as well as an increased focus on DEI due to world events. HR’s job hasn’t been easy. But if HR professionals need further motivation to step up and lead on DEI, Cezanne HR’s survey showed that those who did, had a higher percentage of people who trusted them more than they did before COVID-19 (40% versus 32% for all respondents).

Shandel McAuliffe, Head of Content for Cezanne HR states: ‘One could surmise that HR teams who are championing DEI are natural leaders, and the pandemic is just another forum for them to showcase this. Or perhaps the trust earned from championing DEI then spills over into other HR-related areas. Either way, it’s a win for HR and employees alike.’

Being perceived as showing favouritism to business leaders over more junior staff is an accusation often levelled at HR. Interestingly, for those who feel that their HR team leads on DEI, the perception of favouritism was less than for all survey respondents (50% versus 43% said they trust HR to act impartially).

Shandel concludes: ‘It’s not a surprise if HR teams who make DEI a priority make fairness in not showing favouritism a priority, too. Favouritism isn’t in the spirit of DEI, so it’s good to see these results.’

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