Ruby Goldman: How HR Can Caffeinate Engagement

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Ruby Goldman: "How Human Resources Can Caffeinate Engagement"

While in Greece, jet lag and constant museum tours has left me craving coffee everyday. From Greece’s capital, to the island of Spetses, and many small towns in between, I’ve visited A LOT of Greek cafes. While learning that ‘freddo’ means iced was an important lesson during these visits, I’m also happy to say that I’ve also gained some insight into the importance of Human Resources.

Human Resources is a fundamental aspect of the Management and Leadership Major, as well as any business major. While HR is found throughout the larger corporations of America and other European countries, Greek coffee shops have taught me that many businesses in the nation are falling behind in terms of HR. This is due in part to its myriad of smaller tourist-serving businesses that have less resources available for additional needs like HR.

In smaller-scale Greek workplaces, employees report directly to their boss for help in an area that an HR representative would usually fill. Given that these are often family businesses, this can sometimes mean talking to a relative. While we can hope that family relations are easy, it’s hard to imagine saying “Dad, I’d like to talk about my treatment as an employee.”

In other nations and larger-scale Greek businesses with more developed HR systems, we already understand the benefits of this role. HR can improve employee engagement, which boosts productivity and profits (Sinyan & Nink, 2021).

HR is also an integral part of training employees. In Greece, with its heavy tourist industry, many of the workers are seasonal. With such short work periods, training is done mostly on the job. Bosses are quick to take control and show their employees how to take an order, or how to add milk to a coffee like the Americans like it; a very strange concept to them. This doesn’t mean these employees are poor performers, in fact they are quick to learn new skills and embody the relaxed spirit of Greek islands like Spetses. While everyone loves a chill vibe at coffee shops, this perceived training shortcut could potentially be sacrificing employee productivity.

Employees who are not fully trained can not be fully engaged, and can cost the company profits. Furthermore, employees who cannot communicate about their poor training conditions, and other issues that could be addressed by HR, are at a greater risk of becoming actively disengaged. While a lack of engagement may lead to decreases in productivity in individual employees, active disengagement can spread and reduce engagement throughout an organization. While Human Resources may cost money, its benefits are worth its price. The cost will lead to long lasting improvements in engagement and therefore increases in profits (Bouronikos, 2021).

However, there are many businesses with very few employees that may struggle to feel that they can make room for HR. Many of the small coffee shops I’ve visited have told me that they’ve barely begun thinking about hiring their first employee from outside their family. So, what can these small businesses do? Well, just because you can’t hire a dedicated Human Resources specialist, doesn’t mean you can’t learn from the HR discipline. Prioritizing good relationships, helping employees develop strengths, and focusing on training can all happen with a determined leader, even a family leader. And if these businesses need a little push, training specialists, like Dr. Ensher, can offer training workshops for employees and bosses alike! No matter how you implement HR, it’s a worthwhile investment for any size business!

Works Cited:

Nink, P. S. and M. (2023, March 30). How European companies can fix their workplaces.

Work-based learning in Greece: A plan for economic recovery. Institute of Entrepreneurship

Development. (2021, September 17).