Human resources often gets a bad wrap, and is accused of being an unorganized and chaotic part of the corporate machine. While for many HR professionals the saying, “those who live in glass houses…” comes to mind when faced with these accusations, we do have to take some responsibility for the shred of truth that exists here. Many HR organizations across the board are not performing at tiptop shape for one reason or another. It falls to those sitting in the driver's seat to identify and address some of the hot-button problems currently out there.
Getting to the point where your decisions are as valuable as other verticals in the business is the first obstacle, but once you've obtained that seat -- now it's time to hold onto it. Human resources isn't a profit-generating business unit, but it certainly saves the company just as much in hiring expenses and other related costs.
Here are a few areas of potential improvement moving into the rest of 2017.
Debug Tech & Stay Current
The process to source and fully implement a new technology into an organizational wide hiring process can be full of “ughs.” First of all, depending on the scale of the organization you’re in, the acquisition process may be painfully slow. By the time a contract has been put in place for a new tool or platform, the next best thing is already in beta stage. Not only does this leave your organization trailing behind the industry, but it can create frustration at the ground floor of human resources and recruitment departments. Employees who feel like their organization doesn’t support new tools and tech can create a retention problem with newer generations in the work force. Flexing your executive powers to influence the way technology is acquired, with the emphasis on speed, can be a door opener to success.
Recruiting and talent acquisition has been under the microscope lately. All teams are driving ahead to develop plans and programs to improve hiring speed and cost effectiveness of long term hires. A main component of this optimization has been through rethinking the way we engage employee referrals. With technology changing (think mobile) and social networking sites plentiful, referral programs need to keep pace and change with it. Additionally, the culture of your organization can have a direct effect on the diversity of referrals received. Setting the proper tone for hiring goals from the very core is the only way to permeate the organization as a whole.
Trying to create a systematic method to onboard new employees across various lines of business can be a source of continued headache for HR executives. Its that moment when you begin to feel like your title should be “senior leader of departmental refereeing.” The fundamental rub is that HR knows that onboarding can be the key to long term success of a new employee and their adoption of the organizational culture; but the departments receiving new personnel are normally so strapped for help that anything considered “fluff” will be thrown to the wayside for productivity. There is a twofold solution to confronting this problem. One, get stakeholders involved in the policy making and see what learning and understanding for all parties may occur. Two, foster a culture that fundamentally focuses on employee experience and positive work environments, rather than cost cutting measures.
Developing vs. Managing
In many organizations the only time an employee's career trajectory is discussed is in conjunction with a dreaded annual review. Not only is this awkward for everyone involved, but it also sets the perception that career development is more of an afterthought. By implementing more open conversations between managers and employees regarding career goals, employees feel as though their place of work considers them valuable enough to develop them for the long haul. This is a win-win for overall employee productivity and retention.
With Millennials being old news, and generation Z beginning to emerge from college, now is the time to start understanding this new group entering the workforce. While it’s easy to assume that they are characteristically the same as the previous generation, you have to remember that this bunch are the ones who watched their older siblings graduate college and fight tooth and nail to find a job in their career field, all while working three jobs bussing tables. With that in mind, they don’t see the traditional employer as the only answer and have little patience for old school hiring methods that can’t keep pace with their mobile based world. It’s going to take a lot of work on the part of HR leaders to keep up.
Having a seat at the table is not for the faint of heart, nor for those who lack stamina. However, for those individuals who are ready to take it on, it can be one of the most rewarding places to be. The key thing to remember is that there are many people at that table, and a whole network of others who sit at similar ones who can serve as a community to guide each other as we face these challenges together. Don’t be afraid to reach out.