Six Tips for Building a Strong HR Department: Part 2
Building a strong HR department is crucial to the long-term success of a company.
Hire the right people and life will be easier. That starts with human resources, including who you hire to fill key HR positions and who those integral HR people bring onto the team.
In our first post about strengthening your approach to HR, we pointed out some crucial action steps: Focus on the employee experience, hire a consultant when building a new HR team and recruit certified human resources professionals.
In this post, we’re going to expand on our earlier advice via the expertise of HR professionals.
Win the HR Battle by Going Mobile
The race for talent is as tight as it’s ever been as the economy grows and qualified candidates flood the job market. One candidate could be the target of multiple companies and, in order to stand out from the competition, says SocialChorus exec Sonia Fiorenza, you have to focus on a culture-relevant HR strategy: mobile outreach.
“The growing gig economy means individuals also now juggle multiple types of jobs, vastly changing the ways and tools they use to engage with their employer,” Fiorenza said. “And, tied to this, the shift to an increasingly mobile workforce is forcing HR departments to do away with legacy systems and processes, and implement mobile-centric strategies to identify new ways of reaching remote workers.”
Part of that mobile-centric strategy includes:
- Developing new methods for ongoing access to feedback and company news.
- Designed curated, target content through apps.
These two tips are only part of an overall strategy that will keep an HR department performing well. Sometimes, a complete overhaul of the HR process is necessary, Fiorenza said.
Use Trade Organizations to Lay the Foundation
Startups that are focused on scaling, subscriptions and rounding up capital may not place much importance on HR. So, when someone is tasked with launching human resources, they’re most likely going to feel like they’re on a very isolated, overwhelming island.
In our first post, one of our experts recommended hiring a consultant who can get a feel for company culture and then recommend action steps for building a solid department. However, if you or your team are DIYing human resources, Cheer Partners’ Cat Graham says you need to tap the trade organizations to get all the information you can.
“You can join SHRM and download annually updated and state specific employee manuals to ensure you capture all the important policies and employee rights pertaining to compensation, benefits, IT, sick policies, FMLA grievance procedures, jury and military leave,” Graham said.
SHRM is the Society for Human Resource Management, a national organization that includes many of the nation’s top HR professionals in its membership. Their resources are extensive as is their network of HR pros.
Once you’ve solidified the basics, you can add the nuances that will make your department more reflective of your company’s goals and mission.
“Add personal flavor by inputting employee referral bonus program, merit review and increase policies and, most importantly, required harassment and sensitivity policies with zero tolerance for drug use, abuse of employees and clients and alcohol use,” Graham said.
Don’t Shut HR Out of Big Decisions
There’s a perception of HR out there that treats the department as more of an apparatus that an integral part of implementing a company’s vision.
Mark LaScola, CEO of consulting firm On The Mark, says that firms who provide HR with a seat at the most important meeting are the ones who tend to have the strongest HR departments.
“HR needs be a strategic partner in the annual planning process to understand what the future holds. HR’s role in this planning process is to consider people plans and talent management needs in accordance with the company’s strategic review,” LaScola said.
Short- or long-term strategies require manpower and, as the branch of the company most acquainted with the process, HR is essential to the big picture.
“The outcome is ensuring better anticipation of the need of talent in advance,” LaScola said. “In return, leadership can plan development investments and talent acquisition requests into the annual budgeting process.”