It may be unheard of as a role, but those in HR do carry out tasks similar to that of an employee champion, despite the fact that it is not recognized as a separate role. The role of modern-day HR is very broad, whether it is as a change agent or a strategic business partner; having someone in HR as an employee champion is a thing in modern workplaces where employer branding is very important.
Let's now understand who an Employee Champion is and their role.
Employee champions can be assigned by HR to assess employee morale/motivation and level of satisfaction in the workplace. This person or team is in charge of it and drives these factors through relevant activities and by collecting information to further improve productivity and satisfaction levels. This makes the workplace more appealing to employees. The happier the employees are, the stronger the company’s culture and employer brand will be.
For example, if a department is falling behind in terms of productivity, the employee champion makes a point of approaching and speaking with the employees in that department. When the champion has identified the problem, he or she should report back to the management or the relevant team leader so that appropriate steps can be taken.
Can anyone in the workplace be an Employee Champion?
The beauty of this HR role is that sometimes it necessarily does not have to be someone from HR. Sometimes the team leader may take on this role unofficially. We call them natural employee champions. They do it unknowingly & don’t need to be assigned. They naturally work towards boosting team morale. An employee champion role example is a high-performing employee in a small team or department where they act as an informal leader who guides everyone or inspire the others to be productive as well. Anyone can take on this role.
You may now wonder why the company needs a separate individual for this role when we have team leaders who act as the employee champions. The simple answer is that not all team leaders will be this way. Not all leaders can take on the role of employee champions. In addition to that, there can be instances where the team members in a department may be reluctant to talk openly about factors influencing their work motivation. Having an unbiased person whose only focus is to be there for the employees helps during such circumstances.
Benefits of having an Employee Champion
If a business is overly committed to delivering and making its products or services top-notch or expanding, it risks losing sight of its employees. This may happen during a stressful business quarter as well. Employees are more likely to experience anxiety and feel burnt out during this time. If no one steps in at the right time to check on them, they might gradually lose confidence in the company. A team leader or someone may not always be able to dedicate time amidst situations as such to the team members. Having an employee champion can solve this problem by focusing on the internal issues faced by employees and giving them tips on how to stay sane during stressful times.
The editor-in-chief of EmexMag describes employee champions as catalysts. When policy shifts or any major changes are bought about in the workplace in an attempt to increase efficiency and productivity, they are often met with a grudging acceptance. It takes a while for most people to accept or absorb any change that takes place. An employee champion can help the other employees transition to or adopt the new policy faster.
Every workplace is different and the way they are structured will be distinct as well. It is unlikely that all leaders in the organisation will be able to take on the role of an employee champion and be able to effect the change necessary to improve organizational capabilities and possibly even analyse the potential of a workforce. Therefore, it is a good option to have an employee champion from HR who will be able to provide undivided attention to the employees.