Making your HR systems work for you
WHEN WE DEVELOP OUR BUSINESSES WE PREPARE A BUSINESS PLAN, AND INCLUDED IN THIS PLAN ARE OFTEN KEY AREAS WE CONSIDER IMPORTANT TO OUR BUSINESS SUCH AS OUR FINANCIALS AND A MARKETING STRATEGY, A SWOT ANALYSIS (STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS) AND RESEARCH CONCERNING OUR TARGET MARKETS AND COMPETITORS.
How many of your business plans include the human element of your business?
Most common workplace issues that arise are managed easily with the support of a human resources system.
Clear and well defined systems, policies and procedures, including regular performance appraisals or assessment of performance of your team members are the vital conduit that enables your team to meet or ideally exceed your expectations as well as their own.
When I’m discussing a basic platform of HR systems with clients, I like to keep things simple so we talk about using an HR wheel (essentially a base model that flows together). It’s the interlinking key components used simultaneously which form a great solid foundation and basis for success of a planned system – let’s just call it ‘Michalle’s wheel’.
Here’s the catch however. The key components are inter-dependent or co-dependent. If you remove just one of the key areas of the wheel or fail to consider or include it, the wheels of the system might just literally fall off, pardon the pun.
Common workplace issues can often be linked to either one of or a combination of the key areas of the wheel failing at some point in the process, as set out below.
Inadequate internal systems in relation to handbooks, manuals, policies or position descriptions
This signifies that:
New teams haven’t been given adequate instruction in how business is done and what the expectations are, which is counterproductive to the goal of engaging a high performance driven team.
Roles aren’t clearly defined, leading to conflict, breakdowns in communication and potential performance or disciplinary issues amongst team members.
Inefficiencies and poor time management are inherent in the workforce, as team members perform tasks to any standard rather than following a focused and productive manual provided by the business which guides each member of the team to work efficiently and timely.
There are no reporting mechanisms to measure performance against targets.
No Recruitment or selection program
This can lead to:
The employment of team members who don’t have the skills needed and aren’t suitable to the business, resulting in staff turnover and employment costs.
Uncertainty and confusion around selection criteria for roles when recruiting.
Poor marketing techniques when trying to attract team members in areas of skills shortages;
An inability to assess potential team members for roles.
A lack of procedure for conducting a professional interview process – the potential new team member is checking you out at the interview and assessing whether or not you are the best company for them to work for, so you want to present professionally to them as well.
No induction plan or program
If there is no induction plan or program, this means:
The team has not been provided with adequate instruction on how the business operates and what the expectations are – this can potentially lead to workplace disputes and employee disengagement.
The business is at risk due to inadequate policies and workplace boundaries which should have been implemented to ensure that teams are safe and working to a best practice standard.
There are no standardised systems, which indicates there is no way to measure efficiencies and no evidence trail.
There is no consistency in the message being provided to team members on ‘how we do it here’.
No ongoing training or development
Training and professional development are vital to ensuring that innovation occurs regularly and ongoing improvement is an acknowledged quantity in the business. Failure to provide training, whether internal or external is guaranteed to leave team members feeling frustrated, potentially bored and less engaged than providing them with regular development opportunities.
No regular or consistent performance management
By having no regular or consistent performance management regime within a business, there will also be no standard platform for providing constructive feedback to employees to improve performance and output and to reward, praise and recognise team members’ achievements.
A successful performance management process is one that supports the workplace culture and is accepted and valued by the team.
Having a consistent approach to performance management provides opportunities to address problems in the workplace, generating effective solutions to these issues in a comfortable and safe environment.
By not having a regular performance management program in place, a business may be unable to provide evidence to prove it has actively worked with team members to ensure they are treated fairly in the workplace.
When there is a conflict in the workplace or a breakdown in communication, systems can be a guiding light in facilitating conversations. Being able to bring the conversation back to an agreed standard or procedure, instantly removes some of the potential for emotive responses and can be an excellent tool in diffusing potential conflict situations.
Having those tough conversations with employees about failing to perform to the required standard is certainly challenging. Some managers and leaders detest having to hold these discussions and often fail to truly communicate the real issues through fear of hurting someone else’s feelings.
Rather, when provided fairly and in the right and appropriate manner, constructive feedback actually helps the team member to grow and learn within their work environment.
Funnily enough, your team members actually thrive on knowing what they do well, but respect feedback also when they need to improve. An unclear or ambiguous directive as part of a performance review is never helpful. In fact, it’s again, one of those counterproductive measures that leaves your team member feeling confused and deflated when they leave the meeting.
A lot of employees tell me they get very frustrated by their employer’s or manager’s lack of constructive feedback. They do genuinely want to do well in their roles and they are not naïve about their own strengths and areas of improvement. They know that there are quite possibly things that they could improve upon. Most are willing to work on their own personal development and will work consultatively with their leaders to come up with solutions on how they can improve.
Definitely worth planning for your People Investment!