5 Questions to consider for your HR function in 2024Jan 09, 2024
Human Resources is a ying and yang experiment these days. Business leaders know how important it is to have an effective HR function, and yet they tend to set up a human resources function, and then leave it to run by others on the team. As long as employees are being paid, their benefits work at the doctor’s office and the EEOC is not sending complaints, they assume they are good. But really, is that all you want from your HR function? I hope not.
Consider these 5 questions of yourself and your leadership team to begin the conversation of how you can create a human resources department that really adds value every day. There is often a lot more to be done in HR than our leaders realize. Think about the goals of the organization and whether or not HR is set up for success. And if the answers to all the questions are, “We’ve got it covered,” take the person responsible out to lunch!
Question One: How do you and your managers communicate with employees today?
We know from research that communication is the primary driver of organizational culture. And we all remember that old game of telephone from our childhood, what employees don’t hear directly, they often invent. Human resources should be in charge of delivering the right message at the right time. They are the conduit between leadership and staff. Give them the tools they need to embrace this role.
Question Two: Do you have one person dedicated to HR, or are managers handling their own HR tasks?
I have a client with 120 retail employees that were having managers do all their hiring and even payroll. Then they wondered why the stores were not at the profitable levels they wanted. We put in an entry level HR team member to handle all recruiting, payroll and benefits, and within a few months profits improved. Consider that the time line managers are spending on HR is time they are not driving your business forward. And, since they likely haven’t been trained on best practices, they are spending far longer on HR then a pro would. Consider providing training to one team member to ensure the HR function is effective and driving profit to the bottom line.
Question Three: Are you utilizing technology to eliminate basic administrative functions?
Technology in HR is critical today. Without a robust HR tech system, your human resources will be stuck in administration. It doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. Most organization with fewer than 250 employees simply use the capabilities of the payroll or benefit systems. They should all be working together. That allows your entry level HR team to focus on your organization, not processing data.
Question Four: Does your HR function reach throughout the organization?
Human resources in 2024 must be about business first. The expertise of your HR team is in employees, but their focus should be what drives your business. It is critical that HR put importance on knowing what drives the business – is it ROI, market leadership, research? Human Resources professionals at all levels need to understand the importance of networking and making connections.
Question Five: Does HR report to the CEO, or another function within the organization?
Human Resources generally will control about 60% of the overall budget of an organization. While the CEO often thinks, "The last thing I need is another direct report," what can be more important to your business then a direct line of communication between you and the employees? Empower the human resources function to act on behalf of the organization, and lead the management team to success in employee engagement and productivity.
Human Resources has become a complex and vital part of all business. Whether it is from an entry level or fully established HR professional, the role of HR today is clear. HR must be a business person first, connecting leadership and employees with the goal of driving business forward to meet the goals of the organization.
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