Best Practices in HR

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Julien Emery
  June 6, 2016

The Time-Saving Advice You Need to Run a Lean HR Team

Human resources is the heart and soul of any business. But managing any number of employees isn’t easy. Between finding qualified new applicants, processing time-off requests, and keeping up with ever-changing health insurance benefits, many HR departments are overloaded, overworked, and frequently get bogged down with tedious tasks that pull them away from really important work.

But with a few small changes, any HR department can run more efficiently. Here’s how.

Always have your ear to the ground

When a job opens up, the traditional way to find a new hire is to put up an ad on a job board and see who applies. Unfortunately, this usually means being inundated with unqualified applicants who didn’t really read the posting and spending far more time than necessary wading through them all. But thanks to sites like LinkedIn and Indeed, there’s no reason to cast a wide net with a public posting anymore. Going through the resumes on these sites can often lead to finding the perfect candidate in a quarter of the time as sorting through a hundred resumes would require. But you already know this.

Here’s another way to save time searching for candidates: consider asking people who work in the department that’s hiring if they know anyone who would be interested in the position. Your own employees often know the perfect person for the job. If you find an ideal candidate but you’re not ready to hire, an easy way to keep track of these potential employees is by creating an internal “talent pool” document. That way, when a position does open up, you’ll know exactly who to contact.

Simplify your HR records with technology

Many HR departments are patchworks of multiple computer systems and paper files, but it’s an outdated and inefficient process. If you want to attract and retain talent, you’ll need to modernize your workflows. You don’t have to part with spreadsheets entirely, but you’ll want to consider incorporating tools and technologies that will save you both time and money.

We created Allay to take the pain out of recurring tasks that don’t need to be done manually so that you can focus your efforts on highly strategic work. Hours you’d otherwise spend inputting new hires, keeping track of current employee training and certifications, and monitoring employee benefits can now be put towards more pressing issues like figuring out your company’s parental leave policy or educating millennial employees about health care.

Give more feedback, more frequently

At first, this advice might seem counterintuitive. Isn’t more frequent feedback going to take more time and make human resource management less efficient? Not necessarily. If you can come up with a system to quickly give (and receive) feedback on a more regular basis, it won’t take much time at all. This might entail scheduling weekly in-person check-ins, setting up regular phone meetings, and sending emails—offering different ways for your staff to reach you can improve employee engagement. An effective way to share feedback is by using the STAR model, which helps you tell your employee what was achieved, how it was handled, and what the outcome was.

The real time saving comes from how employees react to that feedback. More positive feedback has been proven to boost employee morale. And while many HR heads and managers dread giving corrective feedback, it’s an important step to ensure less time is spent fixing work that isn’t up to company standards. Research shows that employees are actually pretty open to negative feedback, if it’s given constructively—this improves their performance, rather than keeping them stagnant and repeating the same old mistakes.

Treat employees as individuals with different skills and needs

It’s important to remember that everyone works differently. But regardless of our differences, honest feedback and transparency are key to the modern workplace. Aligning your team on company goals, challenges, and the roadmap ahead keeps everyone motivated and inspired.

While every business is going to have its own policies and procedures, finding the right way to communicate these ideas most effectively to each employee—whether it’s a casual weekly check-in, a structured monthly review, or an all-hands-on-deck meeting—is where the real skill of an HR department comes into play. Understanding these differences and knowing how to cater to each employee’s skillset so that he or she can thrive in your company is key to running an efficient and effective HR department.

Allay can save your team hours of time. Learn more.

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Source: Julien Emer