Professional Service Agreement

HR Serving More of a Coach than a Cop

July 16, 2018

Claim prevention has become big business, yet something has been lost along the way. If HR serves more as a coach than as a cop, it can be more effective at preventing legal problems.

Over the past 30 years, employers have greatly increased their investment in compliance and claim prevention. What's the return? Surging, record-breaking numbers of workplace claims. The number of employment law claims on state and federal dockets has skyrocketed since the 1980s. HR should serve as coaches, not cops. That approach will help HR create better workplaces with increased employee engagement, retention and performance, and HR will improve its effectiveness in preventing claims. Both executive coaching and HR focus on workplace behavior. The way they do often differs dramatically. Here's how HR can benefit from adopting a coaching paradigm:

  • Shift the focus from deterring bad behavior to promoting good behavior that benefits everyone.
  • Instead of being the "Department of Answers," become the "Department of Questions & Options."
  • Instead of hierarchical accountability (fear of consequences, e.g., "zero tolerance"), promote self–accountability.
  • Replace risk avoidance with efficient risk management that assesses probability, magnitude and prevention costs.
  • Develop policies, procedures and processes not as compliance ends, but as a means to create great work environments.