The beginning of a new year can feel like a fresh start, but for business leaders seeking continuous improvement, the past cannot be ignored. This is especially true for the HR department, since even a minor issue in this area can send negative shock waves throughout an entire company. There’s no better time than now to evaluate your HR department in an effort to improve its function and provide better support to your organization immediately.
Evaluating how well your organization managed risk and liability is perhaps the most important aspect of an HR review. While some organizations should be commended for escaping 2017 without a single violation, that can invite a false sense of security. Was a year of zero violations due to having a meaningful strategy in place, or was it pure luck? Today, claims of harassment and discrimination seem to be at record highs as reports flood the news each day. Yet, it’s not just actors, musicians, politicians, or other public figures who are placing their employers in dangerous situations.
Having an effective compliance training program in place is the absolute best way to reduce your organization’s risk and liability. It cannot be stressed enough that a single compliance violation can devastate the profits and image of a business. For many companies, the issue is that it’s simply difficult to keep up. Instituting a training program takes time and is difficult to do without prior experience. Additionally, keeping track of local, state, and federal law changes is a nightmare for many HR professionals.
While having some sort of compliance training in place is a good start, the best organizations go further than just doing what might be required by law. Having an effective, all-encompassing employee training program in place is the best method for ensuring a well-rounded, safe, and productive workforce. Instead of grouping all employees together, it’s most effective to tailor training programs to roles and experience levels.
For example, executive coaching can refine a CEO’s ability to communicate to subordinates, maintain a high-level view of operations, and grow overall as a leader. Likewise, managerial training can improve a manager’s effectiveness in managing their department, resolving employee conflicts, and recognizing disengaged employees before they become too disgruntled. Finally, soft skills training can round out the skill set of every employee, especially since spending long periods of time in front of computers has hurt communication skills. If your organization was lacking in any of these areas in the last 12 months, then it may be time to overhaul training procedures.
Organizations often become well-oiled machines, keeping processes moving along year after year. While that sounds great on paper, falling into a pattern of doing things the same way often results in failing to ask the right questions and potentially missing brewing problems. Unfortunately, 70% of U.S. workers are not engaged at work. That means there are a number of managers who don’t even realize they are supervising disengaged employees until that employee’s frustration builds up enough for them to put in their two weeks’ notice.
Creating effective employee surveys is a great way to assess the engagement level of your employees. However, disseminating surveys just to make employees feel like they are being heard will be quickly seen for what it is. It’s necessary to appropriately evaluate all survey results and, most importantly, take action in overcoming negative feedback. Doing so can enhance employee morale and retention, which in turn will boost the recruiting process as positive word of mouth and employer brand improve.
Efficiency within an organization can be difficult to measure precisely, but it can still be easy to spot problems in this area. Were company leaders able to focus on their business expertise in the industry, or were they stuck dealing with payroll errors, employee conflicts, or other distracting HR duties? If the C-suite spent as much time putting out fires as they did strategizing for their product or service, then efficiency may be questionable. This mentality extends throughout the entire organization, whether it’s hiring managers who are losing great candidates due to long recruiting processes or department supervisors who struggle to inform their employees about the intricacies of health care open enrollment.
HR doesn’t always get the attention it deserves, and yet the strength of the HR department has a significant impact on the overall health of any organization. Issues here will spread throughout a business rapidly, upending productivity. By reviewing and improving risk management, training procedures, employee engagement, and overall efficiency, an organization can revitalize HR processes and business operations as a whole.