HR: More than just 'warm and fuzzy'
Before we start, let's make something clear. We're very aware that in too many businesses, HR doesn't have the best reputation.
When you think of the role that HR plays in business, what comes to mind? Perhaps things like the fun police, the reason why your pay rise didn't get approved, glorified admin, or the warm and fuzzies (you know, the ones who believe all problems can be resolved with a hug)? Or perhaps you've heard the rumour that HR is often seen as having a superficial seat at the decision-making table because they lack the business and financial acumen to ever be a true strategic partner?
No doubt HR departments have been found guilty of all the above at some stage but effective HR really isn't any of these things. Effective HR can be the difference between a good and great team and investing in it means that you'll be investing in what we believe is your most valuable asset – your people.
HR is essentially all about people management. As soon as you decide to hire your first employee, you enter the world of HR. What many managers forget is that the real value doesn't actually come from recruitment, despite this being what most businesses invest their time and money into. Sure, it's important to hire the best person for the role, but unless you know how to motivate, inspire and develop them, they'll probably just leave anyway, resulting in even more money having to be spent on recruitment. Worse still, they may choose to stay on but lose all motivation and become unproductive, leaving your business with a costly headache.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that that there is a direct correlation between the performance of your business and the performance of your team. But having the right processes and systems in place to bring out the best in teams and individuals is often overlooked.
Don't get us wrong, it's easy to do. When the operations of your business take up so much of your time and energy, focusing on how your people are managed often takes a back seat. But we believe that managing your people well shouldn't be hard work. All it takes is the commitment to get the processes right and the ongoing dedication to be consistent.
People practices and HR jargon like 'cultural change', 'performance management', 'disciplinary processes' and 'performance appraisals' can all sound fairly complex and may seem tedious. But jargon aside and if done correctly, these processes can actually become initiatives that your teams will want to take part in. Believe it or not, HR can be innovative and it doesn't need to be boring in order to be done right. Having in place some clever, easy to use people practices will go a long way in helping to engage your team. And this is when you'll reap the rewards of the real HR value-add which, in our opinion, comes down to this – engagement (we'll discuss this in more detail in our upcoming posts).
So where to start?! When we work with clients we always start with the basics. For us, the first port of call is to ensure your employees understand what's expected of them in their roles. Two words – position descriptions. Get them done. Not only will they provide role clarity, they can be used as selection criteria when recruiting, and will allow you to assess and benchmark employee performance.
In this blog, we'll aim to provide practical insight and discussion on ways to manage people in business. We'll cover everything from hiring to firing (and all the fun stuff in between) and we'll do our best to challenge the traditional HR methods and offer some unconventional thinking on all things people that matter in leading a team to success.
In true HR form and to make sure we're covering what's important, we're keen to get your feedback on what some of your biggest people issues and challenges are. So, feel free to get in touch to let us know (leave a comment below) and we'll give you our thoughts in future posts.
Oh, and if we can't do that, then we'll just send you a hug.
Janelle McKenzie and Abiramie Sathiamoorthy are the co-founders of E&I People Solutions. Janelle has a hands-on background in HR, her philosophy is all about providing practical solutions that offer businesses real value. Abiramie has worked with a range of different businesses to set up or enhance their people processes with an end goal to help create high-performing teams.