Quick! What’s your HR department doing right now? Depending on the size of your staff and company, they might be advertising open positions, recruiting new employees, onboarding new staff, managing payroll and benefits, investigating complaints, writing and policing company policies, changing employees’ status forms, overseeing staff training and development, and much, much more.
When they’re this busy, it’s not surprising that your HR staff can’t see the forest for the trees. They don’t have the time or energy to see some of the very things that would help them the most. How can you improve HR function so they can be more efficient at their jobs?
3 Things Your HR Department Needs to Be (But Probably Isn’t) Doing
Here’s where you can come in. Take a good look at your company and see how many of these your HR department is (or isn’t) doing right now:
1. Share the Responsibilities
Whether working for the official department or not, everyone in your company is involved in human resources – or should be.
Employees should be motivated enough to want to excel. Managers should be deeply invested in developing the people they manage. The leadership team should be harnessing the talents of the entire staff to drive company goals. And your trusty HR department should be behind them all, pointing the way.
Not only does this shared responsibility alleviate some of the HR overload, but it creates employee engagement and can inspire real, heartfelt ownership in the company.
In addition, working together from a consolidated system improves communication and keeps everyone in the company on the same page.
2. Consolidate Systems for Efficiency
Payroll information in one computer system, basic employee data in another system and benefits in a third. Sound familiar?
Not only does storing information in separate systems force some poor HR staffer to type an employee’s requests and information into multiple databases, but it also requires that every change made over the years – benefits modifications, address changes, tax adjustments, pay increases – be made in triplicate.
In addition to being an extremely inefficient use of time, multisystem processes can practically guarantee mistakes.
Put all your information into one unified system, however, and your team can spend a lot less time on mundane data entry. And that gives them more time to work on a strategy that can help grow your business.
3. Spend More Time on Your HR Strategy
There are a couple of ways to give your HR staff some breathing room. Some companies choose to outsource part of their HR responsibilities to another entity. But if you already have a capable and fully-staffed HR department, you may just want to improve your technology so you can streamline numerous functions.
With more time, HR can focus on big-picture plans for people and processes such as:
- Developing training programs so employees reach, and exceed their potentials
- Motivating staff to excel
- Developing competitive compensation
- Methods to reward and retain the best employees
- Best practices in measuring performance
- Building succession plans
Remember, technology is your friend. According to Scientific American, people tend to buy new cell phones approximately every two years. Shouldn’t your company’s HR system deserve the same attention?
Now granted, a new HR system costs a bit more than the latest iPhone but if it helps your company reach its business goals, shouldn’t it be more important than a device that lets you play Candy Crush?
The latest human capital management (HCM) systems relieve HR departments who are drowning in data by consolidating HR data and processes such as:
- Employee administration
- Employee and manager self-service functions
- Benefits administration and enrollment
- Payroll management
- Tax compliance
- Reporting and analytics
Future Proof Your Human Resources Strategy: 5 Critical Steps
If you think it’s important to have a business plan and strategic vision, you need a human resources plan, too. It’s just as critical.
An HR plan gets your people ready to execute your business strategy and goals. It helps you prepare your current staff and anticipate the people you’ll need to add in the future. It preps your business for employee turnover and your managers for making future hiring decisions more strategically. A good HR plan should also include a succession plan, so you can limit disruptions to your business should there be a change in management or structure.
Follow these five critical steps to creating an effective HR plan:
1. Assess Your Current Workforce
Your first step in strategic HR planning is identifying your current employees’ knowledge, skills and abilities. This includes evaluating your employees’ strengths, education levels and additional training or certifications.
But you shouldn’t stop there. You should also consider what talents they have beyond their current job descriptions. For example, your data entry employee may also have a knack for building customer relationships. You can pick up on these less obvious talents by getting to know your employees through regular conversations, both formal and informal.
Chances are your personnel files already contain a wealth of information you need to help monitor your employees’ talents and skills, such as their resume, continuing education history, performance reviews and completed projects.
Having a system (like an interactive organizational chart) to capture and archive your employees’ information can make keeping track of your employees’ talents easier. At the same time, your employees will feel more valued if it’s clear that you’re making note of their strengths.
In addition, performance reviews can help you determine when employees are willing and able to assume additional responsibilities. When employees consistently rank high in all categories, it is a good indicator they may be ready to take on some more challenging work. Not all employees want to move to other positions, though. If this is the case, look for ways to challenge them in their current roles.
2. Create Employee Development Plans
Having qualified employees is only one step when building a long-term, winning workforce. To make a real impact, your employees’ work needs to support the company’s growth goals.
You can do this by making an employee development plan for your staff. This will help you create clear direction on how to increase their skills and advance their careers so that your business can forge ahead. Follow these steps to help make sure your employees’ development plans are on point.
- Consider your business goals. – Before you set objectives for employees, you should try to align their development plan with your company’s needs.
- Talk to your employees. – Don’t just assume you know your employees’ skill levels and career aspirations.
- Decide what skills your employees need. – Once you’ve looked at each of your employees’ abilities and experience, as well as your company’s needs, decide exactly what skills each person needs to acquire.
- Create an action plan. – Once you know what the objectives are, you can figure out how your employees will go about achieving them.
- Apply new skills in the workplace. – Set up some opportunities where your employees can quickly apply their new skills to the job and get feedback.
It’s important that your company doesn’t neglect the employees it already has, especially top performers. Even for your high achievers, there’s always room for improvement, and they still need development-focused attention from you.
The top reason employees stay with a company is they feel challenged by their work, according to an Aberdeen report. In fact, 34 percent reported that they are sticking with their current employer because they foresee an opportunity to be part of the future growth of the company.
3. Create a Succession Plan
With business growth comes change. It’s inevitable. Whether it’s a shift in the executive team or a reorganization of departments, you need to be prepared. A succession plan can help you minimize disruption by identifying critical roles in your business and employees who have the skills to immediately assume these positions if someone should leave.
You may choose to involve employees directly in creating your succession plan. This would mean having conversations with all of your employees to find out what their career goals are, where they see themselves in the future, and what development they feel they need to get there.
You can also create your succession plan behind the scenes. The choice really depends on what your organization’s culture is like.
In addition, you should always be prepared to keep your employees well informed about changes and explain how exactly a change may affect them. Transparency eases anxiety and keeps your employees from imagining negative reasons for the changes.
4. Perform a Gap Analysis
A gap analysis helps you identify what resources your company has and what you’ll need in the future. When performing a gap analysis, you’ll assess your HR practices and infrastructure to determine where your company is falling short. For example, some of your HR practices may be designed to fit where your company was five years ago, but don’t meet your needs today or where you plan to be soon. After a gap analysis, you can improve your current procedures and implement new practices that will better support the growth of your business.
When conducting a gap analysis, take a look at your:
- Job descriptions – Do they match the expectations you currently have for your employees and outline all the necessary skills and requirements?
- Employee handbook – Have you reviewed and/or refreshed it in the last two years? Check to see if your policies are still aligned with employment laws. This is especially important if you’ve expanded into new cities or states where you may be subject to different regulations. When was the last time your employees read the handbook? Consider asking them to re-read it once you make updates.
- Training programs – Are your employees being prepared for their roles in an organized way that still makes sense according to business needs?
- Health benefits – Are you providing what is required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while also meeting the needs of your employees?
- Sick days – New paid sick day standards are emerging across the country in a few states and a growing number of cities. Check the current sick days laws to be sure you’re in compliance.
- Business performance – If revenue is climbing, it may make sense to up your contributions to your employees’ retirement accounts or award more days of paid time off, which will add value to your total rewards package. If revenue is down, consider scaling back on some of those benefits to help stabilize your business.
5. Decide If/How to Increase Resources for the Future
As your business grows, so will your staffing needs. To find the best people for the job and your business, you must know what you’re looking for.
Review the information you have gathered about your current workforce. Do you have enough people? Do they have the right skills and know-how to help you achieve your business goals?
This information can help you decide what jobs need to be filled and who would be the best fit. From there, you may determine if you can promote from within or if you’ll need to recruit new talent as your business grows. Many times a current employee is a good fit with some additional training.
Incentivize Improvements in HR Function by Considering a Rewards Program
To keep your employees happy and motivated, you should reward them. Their wellness should be your number one priority. People who get acknowledged for their hard work are more productive and will be happy to spend eight hours every day working for you.
Employee rewards programs offer numerous benefits to both companies and employees. For example, less than a third of all workers feel valued or appreciated in their position. Those employees who don’t feel like they’re a vital part of the company could leave their jobs, hurting companies who need those positions filled.
Talk to your employees about their needs and consider offering incentives for the completion of weekly team goals. You can buy them lunch, cinema tickets, a gym membership or take the whole office for a team-building picnic.
Some employers even take rewards a step farther by offering experiences instead of money, a selling point with the millennial generation. Employees can earn everything from dinner to a Hawaiian vacation. There are tools that can make this task easier.
Today, many companies offer employee rewards programs from continuing education opportunities to cash bonuses or paid time off. These rewards are more than giving an employee a tangible reminder of a job well done. A well-structured employee rewards program can create a bond between companies and employees, ensuring a long partnership for years to come.
Give These HR Tips a Try
Try any (or all!) of these helpful tips on how to improve HR function for your business. Your employees will be happier and your business will prosper. Alternatively, give us a call at Solvo Global and let’s achieve a better workplace through an efficient HR department.