An employee advocate must walk a fine line between representing the needs of management and the needs of employees. This can pose a dilemma to the parties, as well as the advocate since he does not want to show bias for either side. does For example, if an advocate appears to only support a few employee concerns and stringently promotes company policy, workers may feel he is sympathetic to management.
An HR professional with the respect of senior managers is a person who can be very important to employees. This person might consider all personnel systems, processes and programs that help employees get the most benefits from their jobs. As an advocate, he plays an important role in recommending practices to managers that benefit the employer and develop employees as intellectual capital. This advocacy position rests on the ability of the advocate to show how helping employees grow in their jobs will lead to organizational success and increased profits.
An employee advocate might also be an HR professional or another professional trained in conflict resolution or mediation. A person mediates arbitrates conflicts so that the employer and the employees can avoid going to court to settle the conflict. This training is also useful in other situations, such as helping an employee to confront a manager's discriminatory or harassing behavior after making a formal complaint with the employee advocate.
Sometimes an HR practitioner will not assume a role of mediator or as a management consultant. A person might be selected to hear employee concerns about the workplace. This person provides an important means of helping employees to diffuse negative feelings without becoming disgruntled and upsetting others in the organization. As an advocate, a person must use effective listening skills and demonstrate understanding and empathy for each employee's situation.
Truly Beneficial to Employees
Employees also depend on managers and HR professionals to be true advocates of employees when explaining new programs or cuts and changes to existing programs. It is one thing to say that something is beneficial for employees, but more effective to show why. To be a true employee advocate, a manager or HR professional can link decisions to outside practices that clearly benefit employees in other organizations.
- "Implementing Best Practices in Human Resources Management"; Hugh Secord; 2003
- "A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice"; Michael Armstrong; 2006
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