Holistic HR – What is it and Why is it Necessary? image

Holistic HR – What is it and Why is it Necessary?

Staff Squared date icon7th August 2020

Tag iconManaging staff

Work, in the traditional sense of the word, has previously meant showing up to the workplace in the morning, leaving your personal life at the door while you clock in to complete your 8 hour workday, before clocking back out and leaving it all at the door for another day.  While there are still some businesses that operate in this manner, most companies have evolved with the times and human resources are responding to this change of the tide accordingly by means of holistic HR.  

Many employers have begun to recognise that their staff members are not only the pillar of success within their business, but actual people with their own lives, strengths, weaknesses and circumstances – and creating a work environment that embraces each employee’s individuality and value helps to establish and nurture a workplace culture that will benefit both the company and its staff.  

What is Holistic HR? 

The standard HR function is interested in one thing, and one thing only – what a person can offer that directly relates to them getting the job done.  

But when you start to really dissect what that means, you begin to see that the employee isn’t seen as a human being; rather, just a cog in a machine that has a function to perform. That leads to many issues that can become very damaging to a business.  

Staff can start to feel increasingly exploited, unappreciated and unfulfilled in their jobs – not to mention the stress and physical and emotional exhaustion that trying to manage and balance the conflicting demands of their personal and professional lives can cause.  

Eventually, that equates to either a hard knock on productivity and culture within a business, or a severely high turnover which has its own negative impact.  

Essentially, the holistic approach to HR doesn’t need anything additional to what the current HR role requires 

It still involves managing absences, processing contracts, keeping up with workplace policies and the like. The difference between the standard HR function and holistic HR is the way you think and do.   

Holistic HR looks to engage with an employee as a person. The idea is to understand who they are as an individual – what makes them tick, what they want out of life and how their job fits into that ideal. This allows the HR team to design processes and practices that support and enable staff to organise their work and manage their career without conflicting with other aspects of their life. 

Read about how offering flexible working arrangements can help to provide a good work-life balance to your staff.  

Why your Business should Evolve to a Holistic Approach 

Let’s face it – nobody really benefits from a stressed, burnt-out and unfulfilled workforce. Not only does the business suffer the impact, but the HR team is then tasked with having to monitor excessive sick leave, deal with disgruntled employees or, worst of all, consistently rehire for roles that staff just don’t want to stick at in a company that doesn’t give them a reason to want to stay.  

Yet, employees have been expected to compartmentalise their lives for far too long, leaving all non-work-related aspects of themselves at the door when they are at work.  

We’ve all been told, ‘you need to leave your home life at the door’, at least once in our working lives (I know I have, many times!); and in theory, that makes sense. How can you be expected to be productive and do your job right if you’re too busy thinking or worrying about other elements of your life? 

However, health, relationships, aspirations, hopes and dreams all play a massive role in your attitude and performance at work, no matter how much you try to block them out of your mind.  

There is a much wider demand on work that is flexible, meaningful and offers that broadly talked about work-life balance that so many people crave. Not to mention those who have underlying health issues to contend with (or even those who are just health conscious and know that their work environment is not healthy), who need and want to be able to balance the fine line between doing well in their job and keeping themselves fit and well.  

It’s clear that there can be a significant impact to the mental and physical well being of employees when a holistic approach is not taken in HR. In turn, that stress imposes some significant risks to a business (and the economy as a whole). Add to that, the fact that we are facing more and more challenges when it comes to talent shortages, and it’s clear that the holistic approach is the way forward for the future of HR.  

At the end of the day, if its sole focus is to put the well being of a company’s people first, in an effort to provide a more stable, supportive and enjoyable working environment (and will, in turn, create a more productive business and thriving company culture), it seems mad to think that there are still some companies that haven’t changed their approach to how they handle HR.  

 Read about how keeping your staff happy and engaged can benefit your bottom line.  

Written by Clarisse Levitan

Marketing and Customer Relationship Advisor - Staff Squared

Clarisse works as the Lead of our Customer Care Team to provide our customers with the very best care and guidance when using their HR software and is responsible for our day-to-day marketing activities and strategies.

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