We believe that educated and informed HR professionals positively impact the HR profession and the organizations we serve. To that end, we are proud to provide HR blog posts that keep you both educated and entertained.
HR carries a reputation as the “office police.” While this was never intended to be the role of HR, it’s all too often an accurate assessment. HR is in charge of maintaining compliance, keeping employee records organized, and handling disputes, so even the most seasoned HR professional can sometimes get swept up in risk avoidance.
To function most effectively, however, HR must step out of the safe space and move into uncharted territory sometimes. Taking risks can become a strategic HR tactic and comfortably coexist with core HR goals.
Creating Value Instead of Avoiding Mistakes
The main reason for avoiding risks is to prevent the mistakes that may come from failure with new innovations. Instead of saving money and face by avoiding risks, however, HR should be looking to create value within the organization. By shifting the perspective, it opens up new avenues for creativity.
Always Asking “Why”
Simple shifts can make a big difference in some cases, so asking “why” things are done a certain way can be a catalyst for change. Why are interviews conducted on a certain day, would shifting them or opening up more windows for interviews on other days potentially create better recruitment results? Is salary truly the best way to pay managers, or would hourly wages with a guaranteed number of hours work better?
It may be uncomfortable to make these types of changes at first, but starting the process can make for a more flexible workplace and has the potential to drive more dollars to the bottom line.
Allowing Talent to Shine
When HR loosens the reins on rigid policies, it can allow people to maximize their value to the organization. Working with top performers one on one to find out how they can best serve the organization based on their talents flies in the face of the traditional job description, but may have outstanding results.
Smart companies understand that employees have complex skill sets and that using those skills can be fulfilling for both the employee and the organization.
Challenging and Changing the Policies and Practices
Challenging policies and practices is not for the meek. Introducing an idea to key stakeholders and leaders requires strong convictions and a willingness to put effort into research. There will undoubtedly be some resistance and skepticism each time a current policy or practice is challenged, so it’s important that HR professionals plan accordingly and develop a compelling case for taking the risks.
Changing policies and practices is a matter of trial and error, so persistence is required. An idea may not work at first, it’s important to assess whether the shortcomings mean the idea should be scrapped, altered, or simply held in place long enough for the workforce to adapt. While taking risks will always mean a little more work and more effort, those risks may be what adds value to the organization.
HR software can help HR analyze metrics that correlate with changes. If you feel that HR software could help your company use risk taking as a strategic advantage, we can help you find the right solution. Visit our vendor match page to get started.
Every single person will deal with a personal crisis at some point in their lives, whether it is a death in the family, a divorce, or another situation that makes the emotions run high and demands time. Employers and HR managers are tasked with figuring out how best to manage the employee through this time, while also considering the business.
The following are a few tips on handling an employee personal crisis with grace and intelligence.
Listen and Be Compassionate
If an employee comes to you with a crisis, be sure to focus your undivided attention. Listen respectfully and don’t interject with advice or resolutions until he or she is done filling you in on as much as is comfortable. Be compassionate to the situation, but be careful to stick to the facts and avoid blurring the lines between boss and confidante.
If an employee doesn’t come to you with a problem, but is suddenly behaving in a different manner than usual, it may be necessary to call a meeting. Follow the same tips for listening and remaining compassionate, but also let the employee know what it is that brought the matter to your attention so that they are aware of how it is affecting work. This may be news to the employee and may help with figuring out solutions.
Make Sure Work Isn’t the Problem
In some cases, the crisis may be the workplace or workload itself. An employee may feel overwhelmed with deadlines, bullied by a coworker, or trapped within a schedule that doesn’t work. If work is the problem, confronting it head-on may help you to avoid losing a good worker and identify a problem that could be causing your company’s turnover ratio to be higher than necessary.
Keep It Professional
Asking directly about an employee’s personal life or feeding too much into their story can be dangerous. It may cause accusations of favoritism, creating conflicts with other employees. It may also give the employee a false sense of leniency, which could lead to him or her taking advantage of the situation.
Every employee is different, so it’s important to make determinations about how much to learn about the situation and how much to let others know on a case by case basis. Keep the conversations as professional as possible and steer the employee away from divulging too much.
Offer Reasonable Assistance
In some cases, it’s clear what to do for an employee that is enduring personal trauma: give the employee a few personal days to sort it out, put in for leave time, or adjust a schedule. Avoid going overboard to accommodate an employee, however, just stick to what you can reasonably offer without seriously affecting the business.
Plan for the Worst
Even if you do your best to accommodate the employee going through a personal crisis, there always exists the possibility that he or she will quit. It’s important to plan ahead for that eventuality even if you feel like the situation has been handled well, as there may be layers that you don’t know about. Stay vigilant and be prepared to cover their shifts or entire position as needed.
It’s no secret that people are complex, perhaps the most unpredictable tool in any business owner’s toolkit. However, people are also the most valuable asset in any organization. In many cases, there is a direct correlation between how well a workplace addresses employees’ complex needs and how successful that business is.
Many employers have begun taking initiative to ensure employee health and work/life balance, offering benefits and implementing wellness programs. However, the picture isn’t complete until mental health is taken into consideration.
Mental Wellness and Work
According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression costs U.S. employers $44 billion annually. When employees are suffering emotionally or mentally, they are not going to be as productive and may miss work. By bringing the mental health discussion into the light, employers work to ensure more holistic employee wellness and prevent problems that may impact work flow.
While mental health discussions have become more frequent in the news, they are still taboo in the workplace. Taking a “mental health day” is synonymous with playing hooky and the majority of employees don’t feel comfortable talking about depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses. Some workplaces offer mental health resources, but employees may not necessarily feel like they need “help” or have big enough problems to warrant that kind of attention.
Changing the perception will take time and effort, but may really help the employees and the organization in the long run. Something as simple as watching the language can change the way employees feel about the program, such as how a UK program for the postal service was changed from “Help” to “Feeling First Class.” Encouraging employees to talk about experiences and feelings – rather than leaving it to them to reach out – can make a difference.
Providing resources is the first step to ensuring mental wellness in the workplace. It may be tempting to assign employees to look over the resources and participate, but this technique isn’t actually very useful when it comes to this particular topic. It’s important to make sure that employees can access mental health resources, but it’s also important to leave the rest to them – micromanaging can be especially harmful in this situation.
Checking In Daily
Talking with employees about their home life and concerns is an effective way to check in daily. If they seem to have emotional issues that you feel could be addressed using available resources these discussions could be a good way to introduce those resources. Daily check-ins may also help you to understand how situations outside of work may affect employees’ ability to work and productivity.
Expect Changes in Behavior
As employees begin to feel comfortable relaying mental health concerns and using available resources, there may be a temporary rise in absences and usage of mental health resources. These changes in behavior don’t indicate actual changes in mental health, but rather a type of unburdening that employees didn’t feel was acceptable before. Absences and complaints will generally level out, and employees may indicate greater satisfaction as time passes with new mental health policies in place.
HR software can help you to distribute resources to your employees and even facilitate conversations about mental health between employees and human resources professionals. For help selecting HR software that could benefit your organization, visit our vendor match page.
One of the essential elements of a successful company is leadership. Managers drive productivity, coordinate efforts towards goal achievement, set the pace and tone for each and every shift. While employees may be employed by a company, they are truly working for their managers.
Having effective leaders in place can keep retention rates at an all-time high and facilitate company growth. Hiring and cultivating leaders should be a main goal for any business, but what makes a great leader?
Air of Authority and Professionalism
One of the marks of a good leader is that you know who is in charge as soon as you encounter them. A good leader will be providing direction, answering questions, assisting with tasks, and looking to the future when running a shift. “Supervising” should never look passive and a manager should always be a model of professionalism, although what that looks like may be different from company to company.
Respect for Others
Speaking respectfully to employees, working with their needs, and extending trust can go a long way when it comes to retention and job satisfaction. Great leaders also have a respectful relationship with vendors, employers or top managers, customers, and any other person that interacts with the company. Respectfulness can open doors to success, great leaders know this.
Eye for the Big Picture
Coordinating team efforts and utilizing specific employee skills to maximize profits and reach goals is the main job of an effective manager. Doing this takes a certain perspective, however, a big picture focus. Great leaders are adept at figuring out how each small step will help or hinder the ultimate goals of the company.
Flexibility and Adaptability
Change is unavoidable, ideal leaders are flexible enough to be open and excited for change and adaptable enough to carry on operations while adjusting. Even more than being able to embrace change, the best leaders are able to invigorate the rest of the team to make changes work in the company’s favor.
Ability to Help Others Grow
Inspiring others and encouraging their growth and development are causes near to most great leaders’ hearts. Allowing employees to step up and take on new tasks, providing guidance and criticism throughout the process can create a team that is cross trained and able to function effectively, even through challenges like staffing issues. Being able to guide employees towards development materials that will further growth will also aid productivity and increase satisfaction.
Hiring and Cultivating Great Leaders
Hiring great leaders isn’t easy, as you never truly know what a manager’s performance will be until they are in place. HR software can help in some ways, providing assistance with resume parsing and interviewing that will help you to highlight candidates with the greatest potential.
Cultivating great leaders from within is another worthwhile strategy, however, as you can select employees that you know possess the qualities you are looking for. Making training materials and certifications available through your HR software can assist you with hand crafting your future great leaders.
If you think that HR software could help you find and train your future leaders, we can help! Visit our vendor match page to find out how.
The New Year is a great time to act on all of those updates that you’ve been meaning to make when it comes to your company’s HR department. Starting out the year fresh can feel good for employers and employees, providing a little morale boost and rejuvenation. Reviewing where your company stands can also give you a strategic edge as the New Year inevitably ushers in new technologies, laws, and trends.
The following are a few New Year’s resolutions that you may wish to consider adding to your own HR to-do list.
Improve Employees’ Mobile HR Experience
Since all of your employees likely own a Smartphone, mobile HR is your best engagement avenue. If your employees can’t check their schedules, review their pay stubs, and communicate with one another using their Smartphone’s, you are missing the boat. Making sure that your employees can do at least these things using their phones and taking steps to more actively engage with them using mobile technology should be at the top of your list.
Make Goal Setting Easy, Realistic, and Measurable
Allowing employees to set their own goals and working with them to ensure that those goals fit with company needs and overall strategy can make employees feel empowered while improving productivity. Using HR software to communicate regarding goals and track progress can take the effort out of goal setting, leaving employees more energy to put towards actually fulfilling those commitments.
Square Up HR Policies and Company Literature
If you have been meaning to update your HR policies and company library, there is no time like the present. Keeping this information in your HRIS where it can be easily accessed by your employees can help everyone stay up to date with less hassle. Any time there is a small change, you can go in and make sure that everyone knows and has access to the most current information with just a few clicks.
Consider Offering New Training Options
Allowing employees to take charge of their own training and development can make employees feel valued while boosting their skills. HR software solutions often come with learning management systems or have the capacity to link in with learning management systems, allowing you to provide training videos, webinars, quizzes, and even certifications right through self service portals.
Invest in Your Recruitment Systems
In the current economy, there are more open jobs than skilled employees available to fill them. This makes great recruitment critical if you wish to attract and retain top talent. Taking the time now to invest in new applicant tracking system (ATS) software or update your current recruitment software, update your careers pages, and take a long look at recruitment trends can help you stay ahead of the game as we enter a new year with ever more fierce competition for top talent.
Be As Flexible as Possible
Employees’ expectations have changed in the past few years: they demand good work/life balance and will prioritize outside obligations at the expense of raises or titles. Being as flexible as your company structure will allow will help you to keep and attract great candidates that are balanced enough to realize the importance of down time. If your current policies are rigid, take a look at how you can change these to give your employees a little more breathing room.
Could new HR software help you improve your HR management in the coming year? If you believe it could, check out our vendor matching page so that we can assist you in selecting your best option.
Natural disasters have been getting more and more frequent. No matter where you operate or what kind of business you run, it’s important to think about what you can do to prepare yourself for a natural disaster. Even if you prepare carefully, however, there is bound to be some rebuilding needed after the storm.
Don’t forget about your most valuable asset during this time. Your employees are likely going through personal stresses and perhaps losses as well. When considering the steps that need to be taken to rebuild, prioritize your employees to ensure the continuity of the business.
Communicate with Employees
You will need to reach out to customers and stakeholders, make sure you also reach out to employees and let them know what is going on with the business and their jobs as the storm clears. In some cases, employees may have trouble getting in touch with you – lines may be down, chargers may be lost, and service may be shaky. Establish multiple channels through social media, websites, and phone numbers that have messages for employees.
If your HR software has a self-service portal, social feed, or messaging option, use this as another avenue for communications. Post information about operations, projected re-open dates, and employee support offerings.
As employees contact you, personalize your communications. Some employees may be eager to get back to work, while others desire time off to clean up and re-establish a home base. Decide how you will move forward based on each employee’s needs.
Figure Out Lost Wages
A disaster is a hard time for everyone. It may be tough to think about paying employees for missed time when the business has been down, but it could help to get your workforce back to normal productivity faster. If you have PTO and paid leave programs in place, encourage employees to use that to avoid missed pay.
Employee Assistance Programs
Some companies offer employee assistance programs that distribute funds as needed to help with rebuilding after disasters both widespread and personal. These programs can assist employees with repairs, hotel fees during evacuations, and replacement of belongings lost during natural disasters. The quicker your employees get their lives back together, the quicker your business will resume and recover.
Ensure Safe Work Conditions before Resuming Operations
Before a building can reopen, it must be structurally sound and free from harmful contaminants. If you operate from a building, contact your insurance company to begin needed repairs or recovery efforts as soon as possible. Make sure that an inspection is done before any employees are allowed back in the building. As these steps are being taken, let employees know so that they can anticipate when they will be able to return to work.
HR software can be used to keep your data organized, back up your records, and even to communicate with employees during and following a natural disaster. If you feel that HR software might be a valuable tool for emergency preparedness, we can help. Call 866-574-4968 to talk with a professional about the right HR software for your company.
Whether your company is large or small, having your best employee submit their notice can be trying. Great employees tend to take on a lot, which can leave you feeling alone, stressed, and betrayed when they inform you that they will be leaving. You may also have difficulty seeing how you will carry on after their departure.
When your best employee quits, it can be helpful to remember the following.
Put Your Emotions Aside
Most employers’ initial internal reaction to their best employee leaving goes something like “How can you do this to me?! I thought we understood each other!” However, that’s a reaction that will make the encounter infinitely more uncomfortable. Taking a breath and putting emotions aside can help you to move forward faster and to keep a good relationship with the departing employee.
Find out why the Employee is Leaving
There are a million reasons that an employee may leave, so don’t assume that the reason is obvious or personal. Ambitious, hardworking people work on improving themselves constantly, which can cause them to “outgrow” your business. If you are tactful, you may also glean some insight into what you could do better to keep your next great employee longer.
It may be awkward for an employee to tell you all of their reasons for leaving face-to-face. Even if you speak to the person in depth, it may still be helpful to follow up with a digital exit interview. Employees may be more candid when they are on their own time and not right in front of you.
Don’t Make a Counter Offer
If an employee has gone through the thought process of leaving and made their decision, it’s generally unwise to make a counter offer. If they do stay, they may be unhappy with the position that they are now in, a job that they have already imagined themselves moving on from. If they don’t stay, it makes you look weak and unprepared.
Cover Legal Bases
It’s important to make sure that you draw up a final paycheck for the employee, disperse benefits, figure out bonuses, provide COBRA notices, and comply with any other legal obligations. In an already tumultuous time, it can be difficult to remember everything. For best results, have a checklist of obligations for terminations to help you remember and cover all of the bases.
Fill the Gaps
The first step to moving forward without your best employee is to make sure all of their duties and shifts are covered. It may be necessary to distribute their tasks among existing employees or to take on some of their tasks. Hiring a new employee or looking at existing employees for promotions is the next step.
It may be prudent to have the employee list all of the things that they do. This can help you to figure out exactly who will take on what, filling the gaps in a more organized fashion while you look for someone to replace your star.
Evaluate Your Leadership
Many employees quit because of their managers. It may be worthwhile to assess your own leadership and to survey how employees feel about your other managers. This can help you to spot leadership issues that may be contributing to turnover. If you know where your problems lie, you can work to correct them and keep future “best employees” happy.
HR software can help you to engage your employees and can assist with exit interviews. If you would like help finding HR software that works for you, check out our vendor matching page.
Financial wellness affects every area of life. When we are barely able to meet our basic needs with our salary or are struggling to pay back debts while staying afloat, it causes stress and demands our immediate attention. When we are able to meet our needs easily and have a little left over, it allows us more freedom to focus on less immediate issues and lessens our stress levels.
When employees are in difficult financial situations, it can affect their productivity, job satisfaction, attitude, behavior, and development. They may need more money to live comfortably, but stress may keep them from fully focusing on being the best at their job and working towards a promotion. Addressing employee financial wellness may benefit your workplace while also doing something that will benefit your employees for the rest of their lives.
Student Loan Benefits
Some employers have started offering student loan benefits that put a certain amount of money towards the repayment of loans each payday. This benefit takes away the stress of figuring out how much to pay towards the loan each time and provides a repayment plan that can make the debt seem less overwhelming. This benefit is an attractive offering that may make a job with your company more appealing to top talent struggling with student debt.
Student debt isn’t just a problem for recent graduates, either. Many older graduates are still struggling with debt from years earlier and parents may struggle with their children’s debts. Student loan benefits can help employees in all of these situations.
Tuition reimbursement can help employees prevent accumulating debt in the first place. Employers may benefit from having their employees sharpen their skills. Employees must pay out of pocket for courses, but employers will reimburse them for certain courses that relate to the industry as agreed upon ahead of time.
Personal Finance Education
Offering personal finance education can help employees both prevent and manage debt, while also providing them with general money management skills. Personal finance education helps employees address their own specific financial situations, so it can be more beneficial than blanket options. Having someone available to review their budgets and financial concerns and offer tips can create a foundation for good financial health.
Competitive Pay and Benefits
While pay isn’t the only factor in employee financial wellness, it certainly makes a difference. When employees make a competitive wage, they may be less likely to seek out other companies in the industry and will be more likely to live comfortably. This can take care of immediate needs, while benefits can provide a buffer and allay concerns about the future and potential financial obstacles.
Merit Increases and Rewards
Providing merit increases and periodic incentives or rewards for good performance can help employees continue to improve their situations. They will be more loyal to your company if they feel that they are being fairly compensated for their time and that you care about their wellbeing – including financial wellbeing. Employees may start to become complacent or unsatisfied if they go too long without a raise or other reward, so consider increasing wages at least twice per year.
Good payroll software may help you help your employees with their financial wellness by simplifying the process involved in offering these types of programs and systems. If you’re looking for new payroll software, let us help you.
The chief human resources officer (CHRO) is one of the most important employees in any company, but rarely receives the attention that the CEO, COO, or CFO receives. The object of any business is to make money by doing whatever the business does well, so it does make sense that the person heading up the finance department (CFO), the person heading up operations (COO), and of course the person in charge of final decision making (CEO) would receive attention and work together.
However, the CHRO is in charge of the people, the heart of the business. Today’s CHRO must be proactive and play a more integrated role in the other core business imperatives to stay relevant and add value to the organization. This is evidenced by the turnover in the role and the number of marketing, finance, and operations executives moving into the role.
The modern CHRO must adapt to the role changes that have been catalyzed by changes in technology, recruitment, and the overall way that businesses function in this era.
A Unified Front is Necessary
In order for everything that a CHRO does to be effective in the grand scheme of things, a united front is necessary. The mission must remain the same between departments and each department must have a comprehensive idea of their role in achieving that mission. Department heads must also have a pretty good understanding of how each piece fits into the puzzle, affecting one another and the mission.
Additionally, the CHRO must present the mission to the employees throughout the organization and garner engagement and commitment. It’s important to do research in order to figure out how to motivate each specific role and really drive their productivity towards the main mission.
Recruitment Must Be Prioritized
Talent is crucial to any organization. Recruitment is now candidate-centric, so every CHRO should know about sourcing, seeking passive candidates, and streamlining hiring team tactics to reduce time-to-hire. A CHRO should also have more specific ideas that relate to the company or location, however, such as when hiring needs are greatest and whether the organization will have to seek remote employees because of a lack of talent in the area.
Silence Is Not Golden
To be effective, a CHRO must be vocal about what the employees need and what the hiring team needs to operate optimally. If top management is talking about opening a new location or expanding into a field that doesn’t seem feasible or profitable with the current structure and resources, the CHRO must speak up.
Numbers and Analytics Count
Being able to review the reports and numbers to spot trends and make predictions is an increasingly necessary skill for a CHRO. Not only must the CHRO be able to understand the story that the numbers tell, he or she must also be able to figure out how to use that information to generate better results.
Time Management is Key
The CHRO has a number of important tasks, so time management is critical. It’s easy for the CHRO to get bogged down with administrative tasks and then to get overwhelmed with the other issues that must be addressed. Using resources like HR software to automate administrative tasks, delegating tasks to human resources professionals, and prioritizing can help.
An exit interview is a prime opportunity for you to learn what your company could do better. Employees that already have at least one foot out the door are often more likely to be open and honest with you, as they have less at stake and aren’t looking to score brownie points. The following questions go above and beyond the standard “what did/didn’t you like about your job” and really get to the heart of what you can do better for your employees.
1. Why did you begin looking for a new job?
There is often one specific instance that motivated an employee to hit the job ads and start searching for a new place of employment. Encourage honesty in this answer, because the drive is often a disagreement with management. Whether it was a day with limited staff, a short-fused coworker, or a policy that didn’t click, the answers can all reveal how you can help prevent your next vacancy.
2. Did you feel that you were adequately recognized for your achievements?
Recognition isn’t the only important factor, but can go a long way in making an employee feel valued. If an employee that’s leaving answers “no,” find out what type of recognition they would have been satisfied with and why they feel the current system is inadequate.
3. Were you sufficiently trained for your role?
A large number of employees cite “insufficient training” as a reason for leaving a place of employment. There may be training gaps that you don’t notice that can be highlighted in an exit interview. Find out how training can be improved to more sufficiently prepare future employees.
4. Did you feel comfortable talking to your manager?
If there is a problem with the manager, an employee may feel trapped and unable to resolve their issue. In some cases, it seems like the easiest scenario is to quit. While this isn’t the only reason for leaving, too many employees cite problems with management for you to ignore this question during an exit interview.
5. Were your work goals and assignments reasonable and well communicated?
Overwhelmed employees aren’t happy or satisfied, neither are employees that feel that expectations aren’t being communicated. Identify whether employees feel goals are clear and reasonable so that you can make adjustments if necessary.
6. What would have influenced you to stay here?
While you won’t be able to accommodate every employee and convince them to stay, you may get an idea of what could be done better to reduce turnover by asking this question. If the employee is leaving to pursue a career in a completely different industry or type of company, their answers may not be completely applicable, but could still provide some insight. If their answers aren’t far fetched at all, you may just be able to win them back in the future.
7. Did you feel that the company culture was the right fit for you?
Company culture is incredibly important to employees’ daily life, but difficult to alter or nail down. It can be even more elusive for managers, as employees may alter their behavior when manager eyes are watching. An employee that is leaving is the perfect person to give you the inside scoop on the true culture that may be hiding.