As 2019 comes to a close, the Human Resources team over at Kiwi Partners took time to reflect, and share in some of the valuable learnings that we have had throughout the course of the year.
While the responsibilities of an HR professional have evolved as the workforce continues to adapt and navigate in an increasingly complex and digitized environment, it is still the human interactions and vulnerability that add spirit to both our role and our communities.
Our team is grateful for the diversity of our collective experiences, and hope to continue to our role as change agents to support and inspire your organization's growth and vision.
2019 has been both exciting and informative for the HR Team at Kiwi Partners. This year, the HR team spent some time learning more about workplace investigations. The training gave me a better understanding of how investigations are conducted and completed.
There are elements to an investigation that remain static regardless of the size or type of company. However, I learned about the modifications that can be made to tailor the investigation to the business needs. These new skills enable Kiwi clients to establish better policies that support the entire organization and its employees. As 2020 approaches, I am confident in HR team’s abilities to assist our partners in whatever challenges they may encounter.
As I sit and reflect on what valuable lesson I learned, I think about the difficult conversations around equity and inclusion. I believe each of us should position ourselves to either facilitate or obtain a facilitator to discuss the impact of inequity and exclusion on our community, our work, and ourselves.
Throughout the year, I heard sentiments that reflect helplessness and injustice. My response was to provide words of empowerment, courage, and supportive ideas on how to navigate this change – the change of not to being afraid to have conversations around equity and inclusion. Employees give so much to the community they serve, yet find no support in terms of equity and fairness within their organization. Honest and thoughtful dialogue will offer insight to leaders; it will provide opportunities to acknowledge and address perceived or real internal inequities.
The one best practice I found to be invaluable this year is being transparent with benefit offerings. Every organization has their unique way of communicating to their team when it comes to an organization’s benefit offerings. Often times, I had noticed employees may sign up for benefits but may not fully understand the ins and outs of the plan. Take, for example, a retirement plan. If your organization has a workforce that varies from experience and generations, employees may be comfortable with investing their income into an employer sponsored retirement plan. But if your organization has a workforce with a younger generation and this is their first experience with investing, they might not understand how their money is being invested.
We sometimes forget that everyone comes from different levels of experience working with this particular benefit. I often recommend organizations offer resources to help guide their employees to understanding their retirement plan either by offering internal financial courses or connecting the employees with the brokerage firm directly when they have questions. In this case, the organization chose to have the broker managing account come in to provide a basic course to educate the organization on the plan.
When I reflect on this past year, I realize a good portion of my time and energy was spent on trying to optimize the employee experience by way of new benefits. Regardless of the efforts strategizing, researching, proposing, there were (and will always be) instances in which my work did not come to fruition.
While it is difficult to not feel a sense of disappointment (regardless of factors outside one’s control), it is easy to overlook the impact of starting the conversation and planting the seed. With most things in life, a no is often times not the answer in perpetuity. It is important to not view these outcomes as set backs but rather pauses in the overall movement towards progress. Keeping a pulse of relevant trends, both internal and externally, will help when developing the roadmap and revisiting the conversation at a time down the road
My biggest takeaway this year is how much unconscious bias can impede us from recruiting the best candidates. In order to get the best outcomes in recruitment, I learned that I first need to realize that we all have stereotypes that we’ve grown up with that need to be dismantled. Next, I need to acknowledge that I will always have biases that I am not even aware of having – unconscious bias. There are many tell-tale signs of unconscious bias, the most common being gender and name bias. At my clients I’ve already begun to use tactics like posting on job boards that cater to multiple identities as well as those that focus on underrepresented identities and creating job descriptions that have more inclusive and neutral language. In the future, I plan on also redacting names and dates when reviewing resumes and job applications.
We can learn as individuals, but there is also so much we can learn from one another. If you would like to converse or connect with any of the Kiwi HR team members, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Our team hopes that your year has been enriching in every aspect, and we continue to send our well wishes for an even more exciting New Year to come.
Thank you for being a part of our community.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Kiwi Partners!