A different kind of HR Consultant is my tag line, but what does it mean? When I launched, my concept and business model was to be recognised as an innovative, efficient & impactful HR partner, creating improved business performance through best practice.
Business will invest thousands in machinery and software with the aim to innovate; provide a better service to industry and as a cost saving measure. They outsource or recruit in house finance specialists to conduct in-depth analytics to identify areas for increasing operating profit; where to tighten the reigns and tax efficiency measures. So when it comes to your employees, your greatest asset, how much emphasis do you place on the HR function to embed innovative human resource solutions in your organisation that will align with your strategy to achieve business success?
Several years ago I was engaged as the HR Manager for a local organisation in a niche industry. Prior to my commencement the HR function, like many businesses, was seen as an administrative task. It was recruitment, payroll & terminations. The policies that they had purchased at great expense from an external provider were basic & did not reflect contemporary best practice. The approach to recruitment was what is referred to as “bums on seats”, meaning if you applied and you weren’t a serial killer you were employed.
First order of business was to implement a structured compensation strategy consisting of structured remuneration and policy to guide the organisation on mapping pay levels and annual increases, I introduced a very cost effective employee reward system, rewrote every HR policy to align the policies with the Strategic Plan, and, to reflect contemporary HR practice and introduced a Performance Management System that focussed on aligning employee behaviour to the values of the organisation.
After a very busy 6 months I conducted an Employee Feedback survey to tap into the pulse of the organisation, in order to understand if we were heading down the right track we had to show transparency as an Executive and seek feedback from employees and feed those results back to them. The results weren’t great, the bulk of the 120 strong work force didn’t know or understand how their role fit into the wider organisational goals, they weren’t engaged, they told us communication was lacking and they didn’t feel inspired by their leaders.
Phase 2 involved the introduction of a behavioural & values based recruitment strategy. This means the core focus was on applicants that yes, possessed the skills to undertake the work, but more importantly, they were able to demonstrate throughout the interview process that they shared the same values as the organisation. The recruitment focus changed focus from “I need someone and I need them now” to “ Right person, for the right job at the right time”. Leadership training was implemented to build capacity across the organisation and we continued to show our appreciation for employees by sharing communications of company initiatives, taking the time to be more personal in our interactions and the introduction of Christmas gifts (again very cost effective but very appreciated).
At the end of the first full financial year of these initiatives in place employee turnover reduced from 35% to 26%, our second Employee Satisfaction survey told us employees were a lot more optimistic overall and of course the flow on effect from this was our clients reported greater satisfaction in the services received.
They key to seeing these results was leaving behind that notation that HR is either not need or purely an admin function. When engaged properly HR is a true strategic partner, we can work with you to embed & strengthen organisational capability to give you that competitive edge over the competition. In short, this means developing a particular mix of resources, processes and values that makes it hard for rivals to match what your organisation does.