September 5, 2019
The early stages of a business are great way for any department, especially HR, to demonstrate company-wide value. However, when things start to stabilize and the growth cycle plateaus, how does your HR department continue to show just how important you are? And you are important!
It’s easy to overlook this question while you’re focused on sales, production or other more client-facing departments, but it’s important not to. As your organization grows and evolves, so too should your HR. So, what do you do to keep your department involved in your company’s goals?
You’ve reached a point where you’re not growing your team and business is relatively steady. If anything, you’re replacing people due to turnover, not growth. What can a human resource manager do at this point that increases their value to the company?
For one, you can develop stronger and better relationships with your employees. Part of HR’s responsibilities is to be an employee service center and advocate for their needs. While it’s easy to be very good at hiring and addressing employee concerns, it’s more difficult to dedicate the time to relationship building with current staff.
This can be particularly valuable in positions that tend to have a higher turnover rate. HR can proactively get to know employees, the jobs they do and what complications arise. Is the job itself hard? Is it a manger or a coworker that drives folks away? What are some fixable issues that are driving employees away?
Engaging with employees and supervisors to find ways to improve retention can be exceptionally valuable when it comes to money, time and resources. The potential cost savings from decreasing turnover alone can be worth it and really help your HR department demonstrate long term value. It’s estimated that the cost of losing an employee ranges from 1.5-2 x their annual salary. HR officials don’t have to wait for a problem, but can take the time year-round to reach out to employees and proactively address issues that may result in higher turnover.
Every company has goals and plans. In order for any department to contribute to these organizational goals, they must be included in the planning strategy somewhere along the line. The HR department needs to understand the direction of the company, what you’re pushing for, before contributing and adding value.
As an HR manager, request to be part of company planning meetings and explain how your participation is key to the organization’s overall success. Once you have a seat at the conference table, take the time to research and come up with tangible ways you can contribute. Are there training grants in your state to take advantage of? Is there a specific college that specializes in a needed position in your industry? Could you do recruitment there? These are just a few specific examples, but the bigger point is to ideate some ways you and your department can continue to demonstrate ongoing value alongside other areas of your business.
If HR is not included in these meetings, does anyone notice? Business leaders should be aware of HR’s absence. If not, there are a couple potential reasons that could be concerning. One of them is that your leaders do not value the contributions from the HR dept., therefore do not think it is a problem if they are left out. Another reason is that your HR professionals are not offering value or contributing to discussions. Make sure to talk with all leaders and figure out how to improve this.
A situation found in many more established companies is a tendency to keep doing things “how we’ve always done them.” Does your HR team fall into this trap, or are they adaptable to a changing economy, employment landscape and company direction?
There will often be some rules and policies that can’t be adapted, but overall, an HR professional should be reevaluating the way the work on a regular basis. According to a study done in the UK, 17 percent of respondents did not believe their HR teams were doing a good job. One of the main reasons was that they failed to adapt to the changing business economy.
If an employee or manager seems difficult, instead of blaming or reciting years-old SOPs (Standing Operating Procedures) your HR professional should pay attention to their communication style and adapt accordingly.
New generations of the workforce care about different things, their work ethic and values have changed. Instead of lamenting and fighting this, HR should embrace it, be adaptive and find the best way to work with all aspects of employees. This also applies to newer HR departments dealing with seasoned employees. A good HR professional should find a way to work with all employees.
For more information about getting the most out of your HR department, connect with us at Aspirant.
Judy partners with executives and leadership teams to engage and inspire employees in a way that delivers sustainable strategic results. She brings deep expertise and creative ideas to solve organizational effectiveness issues and closely collaborates in a way that builds internal capabilities. Judy has spent over 25 years consulting in a variety of industries, bringing her expertise in behavior to a wide range of organizational issues including organizational behavior change, leadership, change management, culture and engagement.