Workforce.com

How To Be a Great HR Professional—According to Scrooge

December 23, 1999
Charles Dickens famous story, "A Christmas Carol," is about embracing the spirit of the season. But it's also about one employer's (Ebenezer Scrooge s) relationship, or lack thereof, with his employee (Bob Cratchit). It took some prodding by the Ghosts of Christmas, but Scrooge eventually became, to quote Dickens, "as good a master, as good a man, as the old city ever knew." Here are some HR lessons to take away from the tale—no ghosts required.

  • Pay competitive market salaries.
    It's important for morale and productivity, Besides, jobs aren t scarce anymore, as they were in Bob Cratchit's day, and employees won t wait for their employers to have a supernatural experience and increase their salaries. They will simply go elsewhere.
  • Consider work/life issues from the standpoint of significant others, as well as employees.
    Poor Tiny Tim could have used the services of a decent HMO, and Bob Cratchit needed some time to take care of his ailing son and celebrate the holiday. Make sure employees have access to the resources they need.
  • Every once in a while, spot-check employees environments.
    Are they comfortable? Productivity-enhancing? Just think of how much more productive Bob Cratchit would have been if Scrooge had allowed him to buy more coal during those freezing London winters. The firm of Marley & Scrooge could have used some sprucing up, too. Try to provide an inviting environment to encourage better work.
  • Show genuine interest in employees careers.
    Ebenezer Scrooge owed a debt to his former employer, Mr. Fezziwig, who took him on as an apprentice and made sure Scrooge became an expert as his job. Mr. Fezziwig also went a step further by showing his employees the pleasure and rewards of a job well done.
  • In your strategic planning, take into account the organization's past, the present situation between management, employees and HR, and the bright future both for your organization and you, the new breed—as long as you don't let the dark shadows of ineffective practices send HR to a nameless and ignoble death.