Top Tips For HR Professionals
Documentation / Policies & Guidelines
One of the main tasks for a HR Professional in any business is the development and update of business documentation, including policies and guidelines used for new staff and existing staff. There should be continual review of these policies, potentially with help and guidance from other departments, for example when developing the ‘IT Use’ policy. Keeping abreast of changing technologies is useful, for example including ‘social networking’ into your usage policies ensure that all staff have a clear understanding on where they stand and what a companies policy is on using social media websites in work hours.
When you are looking at prospective candidates to employ it is vitally important to not only ask for, but to follow up on personal references. It is becoming more common for HR Professionals to not follow up on references, or instead to simply let departmental heads take care of this aspect of the recruitment process. You should ensure that this process is kept within the remit of the HR department as sometimes this process gets overlooked when more pressing business requirements come up. If potential references cannot be contacted for whatever reason, ensure you allow the candidate to provide you with additional references. Getting positive references as a method of vetting prospective candidates can help save a big headache later on.Â
Many times when a new starter joins a company their first impression is a lasting one therefore it is important that an effective new starter enrollment programme is designed and implemented. For example documentation could include information to hand out to new starters detailing facts on the company and office. As a company policy it may be a good idea to create an enrollment training day for new starters as this can be helpful to impart the company philosophy. Ensuring that new starters are also escorted around the building to be shown facilities and meet other members of staff is also important, however many times this exercise is not carried out effectively when left to individual departments, therefore the HR team should take responsibility for this. HR should also oversee that IT systems are put in place prior to a new starter joining a company. It looks (and is) unprofessional for a new starter to join and find that their IT system are not in place.
Incentives & Recognition
For any individual it is important to feel that what they contribute to a business is not only recognised, but also can aid their long term career though either incentives or career progression. A HR department’s role is to ensure that these recognition and incentive schemes are put in place as this helps to motivate employees and improve overall performance. Whilst salary primarily tends to dictate a persons motivation other incentives and rewards, which can have little financial burden to a company can pay dividends long term. Starting creative incentive schemes with fresh new ideas can aid moral and also help lengthen to time employees stay at a company.
Understanding your Business
Whilst as a HR professional you are focused on your core responsibilities, learning about the business and marketplace that you are working in can aid the development of your HR programmes. Understanding the specific requirements relating to an industry can help you understand some of the more complicated HR issues that you might come across in your role. For example, HR professionals who work in surveying marketplace could keep updated on training events held by trade bodies such as the RICS. This would help employees with their personal development.
Whilst it is important to have a good grounding and understanding of the business in which you operate in as a HR Professional it is also vitally important that you stay abreast of any developments in the HR industry. Monitoring trade journals and magazines should become a routine habit, the attendance at trade fairs and expos should also be carried at frequently. Ensuring that you are aware of any changes to legislation is vitally important. Any changes to HR laws and rules will have a big impact on how a business operates with at worse companies that fall foul of any new legislation could find themselves being sued by individuals.
Ensuring that there is an effective appraisal and personal development programme implemented is important. In many companies appraisals are carried out haphazardly. However this is a mistake as an appraisal not only allows a company to get feedback from the employee on how they feel about their role and the company in general it is also an opportunity to help map and plan an employee’s career within a company. Whilst many employees leave a company due to salary or because they are looking for a different challenge, many employees also leave a company due to a feeling of dissatisfaction with a company in general, therefore a highly tailored appraisal process can help alleviate this problem. You should look towards implementing a goal or target orientated appraisal programme that gives both a company and an employee something to work towards as this can help keep motivation high.
Whilst having to carry out disciplinary procedures is one of the tasks that would preferably be avoided, in many circumstances it is a necessary part of the role of the HR team. Whether disciplinary procedures are carried out by employee’s line managers predominantly, it is still important for HR to be involved in this process to ensure that internal processes are followed correctly as any mistakes here could leave the business open to tribunal actions or claims. HR teams should instruct management personal to follow a selection of simple guidelines to keep the disciplinary process professional. Managers should: ensure that they stick to facts and not to bring up irrelevant information that is based on hearsay or gossip. Should not get ‘personal’ or violate confidentiality. Follow disciplinary procedures correctly and not ‘skip’ steps. Managers should also consult the HR team in any doubt and formal procedures should be put in place by the HR team to allow this.
When a person leaves a company it is an ideal opportunity to gain some constructive criticism as to why that person is leaving and what they think could be changed within the company. It is important to ensure that the exit interview remains not only impartial, but confidential as in many cases an employee may not feel comfortable talking about certain things, such as if they are leaving because of issues with their line manager. It is important to understand that many industries tend to have ‘close knit’ communities and individuals can end up working with the same colleagues again at a different company. As a HR Professional with constructive feedback from departing employees you are in a position to action company policy and feedback to departments any changes that could be made for the better.
A great skill for any HR Professional is time management, ensuring you can allocate your time effectively is important as it means that you can keep on top of your work load. One of the best ways to ensure that your time is allocated correctly is to write a to-do list and then prioritise each action with a different priority level. This helps you keep on top of your work load. Time management is also useful for the majority of people in your company therefore getting relevant people onto time management workshops can help the productivity of the workforce immensely.
Enhance Your Career
HR professionals can develop their careers through a number of accredited training channels such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) or other training organisations that offer HR courses. Ensuring that you are constantly enhancing your skill set allows you to not only develop further in your career but also have better skills to help progress and develop the HR policies where you work.
Rachelle Phillips is a freelance writer and loves to write on a wide variety of topics